What Type of Ads Are Right for Your Business?

What Type of Ads Are
Right for My Business? 
Ad Planning for Your Business Part 2

Now that you’ve determined your advertising budget, goals and target audience, it’s time to decide what type of ads are the best fit for your business and goals. 

Advertisements generally serve one of two purposes (and sometimes both): 

1. Build Awareness 
People generally prefer things with which they are familiar. Name recognition is especially important in our business because many customers will choose the first name that comes to mind when they need HVAC service and installation. Awareness-building ads will boost your name recognition so that customers are more likely to consider your business when the need arises. 

2. Prompt Action
These types of advertisements tend to offer more in-depth information or prompt customers to learn more about your business. Their ultimate goal is often to get customers to click through to your website or pick up the phone and contact you. They are a strong tool to have in your arsenal, but their success is often limited by customer awareness. They are significantly more effective among customers who are already aware of your business. 

Let’s take a look at the main types of advertisements you might consider for your business: 

Goal & Investment Benefits & Challenges

TV Ads


Investment: $$$$

Benefits:

  • Immediate messaging that can reach a large number of customers several times throughout the day. To check out the television ads available for your use through the Business Building Tools on this GO site, click here
  • TV advertising can be purchased by daypart (i.e., morning, lunchtime, evening prime time), making it a good medium for limited-time offers. Different dayparts will vary in price, with prime time usually being the most expensive. 
    Tip: Even national broadcast networks have opportunities available on a local basis. Relationships can make a difference in negotiating TV buys, so it is good to work through a local agency with media buying expertise.
  • Variety of options to choose from: 15-, 30- or 60-second TV ads can be effective. 
    Tip: 
    Cable TV can allow for targeted messaging at a lower cost.
Challenges:
  • Usually the most expensive type of ads.
  • Production of custom ads can be very expensive.
  • The reach of TV ads could extend outside your local territory to customers you cannot service.
  • Customers may skip tv ads altogether through the use of DVR. 

Radio Ads

Investment: $$$

 

Benefits:

  • Typically less expensive than TV advertising.
  • Lower production costs than tv ads. Some radio stations will even offer assistance with ad production in connection an ad buy. 
  • Efficient medium for driving awareness. 
  • Immediate messaging that can reach customers several times throughout the day. Click here to listen to the customizable radio ads that are available on this GO site under the Business Building Tools menu.
  • Radio advertising can be purchased by daypart (i.e., morning, lunchtime, evening drive time), making it a good medium for limited-time offers. Different dayparts will vary in price, with morning drive time usually being the most expensive.
    Tip: Consider sponsoring the weather or traffic spots for radio advertising with a lower price tag.

Challenges:

  • May have to purchase spots at several radio stations to achieve a significant audience reach. Tip: Different stations with different audiences within your market may be owned by the same company. Consider buying ads on multiple stations owned by the same parent company to maximize reach and volume savings. 
  • Customers cannot “see” the product since you are limited to audio communications. 
  • The reach of radio ads could extend outside your local territory to customers you cannot service.
Outdoor


Investment: $$$

Benefits:

  • Can be targeted to a specific geographic area. 
    Tip: Pick a location that has enough daily traffic to make the investment worthwhile. 
  • High visibility equals a wider audience reach for your company. If you would like to see the outdoor ads available on this GO site under the Business Building Tools menuclick here
  • Billboards, and transit/bus stop advertising has visibility 24/7 so your advertising works around the clock. 
  • Considered less invasive by customers since outdoor advertisements do not interrupt their favorite television shows, radio programs or websites. 

Challenges: 

  • Requires a long-term commitment, usually 3-12 months. 
    Tip: Consider digital billboards for shorter commitments and lower production costs. 
  • Prime locations will cost more.
  • Limited area for messaging; message must be concise (usually 7-10 words) to be seen and interpreted while driving.
Online Banner Advertising


Investment: $$

Benefits:

  • Drives customers directly to your website.
    Tip: For more details on how to create your own custom website and use online advertising tools with the AdVantage programclick here
  • The message can be changed quickly and easily.
  • Reaches potential customers while they are looking for information about businesses like yours. 
  • Results can be easily tracked and measured.

Challenges:

  • Online ads can sometimes get lost in the shuffle. 
    Tip: Consider online-only promotions or advertising on weather or home improvement-related websites to reach customers who are more likely to be in the market for heating and cooling products.
  • Pricing is often based on number of impressions (times your ad is viewed by a website visitor). The value of an impression is often difficult to quantify. 
  • Your website should be robust and functional to ensure a good customer experience once they click on your ad. 
  • Local websites can be accessed by people located anywhere in the world, so some traffic you receive may be from outside your service area. 
Social Media Advertising


Investment: $$

Benefits: 

  • Social media advertising offers many of the same benefits as online banner advertising. 
  • Each platform offers useful targeting features to help you set up your campaign and reach the right people. 
    Tip: Use social media posts that receive a lot of likes and shares as the basis for your ads. 
  • Social media platforms offer detailed, real-time analytics so you can tell if your campaign is working or not.
  • You can cap your budget to make sure you do not spend too much. 

Challenges: 

  • Nearly all social media platforms require you to have a business page on that platform before you start running ads. 
  • Each platform offers various different types of advertising products, so picking the right type or types can be a challenge. 
  • Pricing can vary quite a bit based on the type of ad you select and your geographic location. Some markets will be more expensive to advertise in than others. 
  • Ads must be designed with mobile in mind as a vast majority of social media users access social media on mobile devices.

Search Engine Marketing (Pay-Per-Click Advertising)


Investment: $-$$

Benefits: 

  • Drives customers directly to your website.
    Tip: For more details on how to create your own custom website and use online advertising tools with the AdVantage program
    click here
  • Paying by the click means you only pay when someone visits your website. 
  • You can cap your budget to ensure you do not spend too much. 
  • The message can be changed quickly and easily.
  • Reaches potential customers while they are looking for information about businesses like yours. 
  • Your ads can be targeted geographically. 
  • Results can be easily tracked and measured.

Challenges: 

  • Picking the wrong keywords will result in little traffic or the wrong type of traffic. 
  • Can be expensive on a per click basis. 
  • Your website should be robust and functional to ensure a good customer experience once they click on your ad. 
Referral Advertising


Investment: $$

Benefits:

  • Word of mouth is a powerful generator of future business. Creating awareness within neighborhoods during installs can spur those neighbor-to-neighbor conversations. 
    Tip: 
    The AdVantagesm program can help you develop vehicle and yard signs quickly and easily. It also provides special offers on door hangers, magnets and stickers. 
  • The reusable nature of yard signs and the rolling billboard effect of vehicle signs are well worth the cost.  
  • Door hangers can have the added benefit of driving promotional and product messages. 
Challenges
  • Reaches a smaller group of customers than other methods. 
  • Yard signs and door hangers can be seen as a nuisance by some customers.

Print Advertising


Investment: $$-$$$


Benefits:

  • Easily targeted to customers in specific geographic areas. 
  • Print ads can be sized to fit nearly any budget or purpose. 
    Tip: Did you know there are several print ads ready for use on this GO site under the Business Building Tools menu?
    Click here
     to start using them. 
  • Additional “retail space” for more detailed messaging that you may not have with other methods.
  • Good outlet for limited-time offers or coupons that can drive customers to your business.

Challenges:

  • Small ads may not have as much of an impact; they have a tendency to get lost in the shuffle.
  • In this day and age of electronic media, print ads have a short shelf life. They are easily discarded or recycled. 
  • Print audiences are steadily shrinking.
Direct Mail


Investment: $$-$$$

Benefits:

  • Promotions can be highly targeted to specific demographic customer groups. 
    Tip: Click here for more information on the 
    AdVantage program  a proven system to keep your name in front of existing customers and reach out to their neighbors with Neighbor Network prospecting cards. 
  • Easily tracked and measured so you know what your return on investment is.
Challenges:
  • Reaches a smaller group of customers than other methods. 
  • Some recipients discard mail without reading it.
Email Marketing


Investment: $$

Benefits:

  • Promotions can be highly targeted to specific demographic customer groups. 
    Tip: Click here
     for email marketing content you can use for your business. 
  • Easily tracked and measured so you know what your return on investment is.

Challenges:

  • Requires a list of email addresses who have opted in to receive communications from you. 
    Tip: In absence of a robust list of contacts to use, consider sponsoring an e-newsletter from a local publication. These opportunities give you a premium placement in an email that is more likely to be opened by recipients. 
  • Reaches a smaller group of customers than other methods. 
  • Some recipients discard email without reading. 
  • Your website should be robust and functional to ensure a good customer experience once they click on your email.  
Community Events


Investment: $$$

Benefits:

  • High visibility for the business.
  • Excellent public relations opportunity. 
    Tip: Be sure to communicate your sponsorship through your other advertising channels as well as local media outlets.
  • Consumers tend to purchase from companies who support the local community. 
    Tip: Take advantage of signage and other promotional opportunities with the organization who is hosting the event.

Challenges:

  • Can have higher out-of-pocket costs to secure the booth, equipment set-up, etc.
  • Difficult to track the return on investment.
  • Return on investment is typically not immediate.

Online Yellow Pages


Investment: $

Benefits:

  • Advertising presence throughout the year.
  • Reaches customers in your target market.
  • Listings are sometimes free. 
  • YP.comsm, the online version of the Yellow Pages, is becoming more popular than print.

Challenges:

  • May be difficult to differentiate your business from the competition.
  • High clutter factor.

Consider the use of an ad agency to help you with ad planning and purchasing. Although the use of an agency may add upfront costs, their knowledge of media markets and their ability to help you negotiate the best media rates could end up saving you money in the long run. 

To maximize your investment, make sure your ad plan aligns with your budget and goals and reaches your target audience.