By: Sean Armstrong Brand Jun 8, 2016 6 Steps to Take Before You Begin Advertising Your Brand Let’s admit it: Advertising can be exciting, especially when a company is advertising for the first time to get business in the door, create revenue, or begin earning their place in the market. However, I see too many companies dive head-first into an advertising campaign when their brand "pool" of sorts is only two feet deep—far too shallow for success. To be blunt, this is not a good practice. Before your brand jumps in the advertising game, these 6 steps are critical to follow before launching an advertising campaign. Define Messaging and Positioning Brands must be consistent in their messaging to lead a successful ad campaign. Defining your messaging before any advertising begins will help accomplish this. Take some time to determine how you want to present yourself; do you want to be smart, sexy, and sassy (like us? ; ) ), or would you rather be classic, timeless, and conservative? This will help you create ad copy that carries a unified voice. In the same realm, determining your brand’s positioning will help you choose the unique selling propositions (USPs) to focus on in your advertisements. Are you the oldest company in your industry? Were you the first to market with a new widget? Do you offer a proprietary process that is hard for competitors to duplicate? Whatever your USPs may be, use them consistently to position your brand in the marketplace. Consistency is king! Website/Landing Page Ensure that your website is designed, built and live before you begin your ad campaign, even if it's an offline campaign. At the very least, take the time to build a nice landing page, focusing on the features and benefits your brand offers, what makes your brand trustworthy, and the call to action you want your target audience to take. Your brand is unique—make it known! Call to Action (CTA) Speaking of call to action, a brand should always determine the action they want users to take, as well as their goals for the campaign, before campaign launch. Consider these examples: Do you want to generate leads? Then, a user must fill out a form or application and submit it. Do you want to generate more phone calls? Then, you must list your phone number and provide an incentive to call. Do you want to grow an email list? Then you must provide useful content to entice users to sign up for your newsletter. You need to know what you want to get out of the campaign before launching. Revenue is not specific enough—dig deeper. Cost Per Action (CPA) How much are you willing to spend for each lead? For each email address? For each phone call? These are important considerations that can help determine how much you are willing to spend on a total advertising budget. It doesn’t make any sense to begin a campaign that may cost you $500 per lead when your revenue is $200. Take some time to determine this number, and be realistic with yourself. Define Success What does a successful advertising campaign look like for you? Is it a certain number of leads or email addresses or revenue from closed business? It is imperative you define what that success looks like for a couple of different reasons. First, you need to know if spending the money on advertising is worthwhile. If you don’t see a high return on investment, it's time to try something else. Second, defining success will help determine what type of data you want to track during the campaign. Create a Follow-Up System Not every lead that comes in will be ready to hand you money right away, so it's important you have a system in place to follow up with these leads. This will maximize your return on the ad spend and help create a steady flow of new customers moving forward. A follow-up system could be as simple as an email drip campaign that touches the lead every month, which can be set up through any email marketing provider, like MailChimp. Don’t paralyze your marketing efforts before you even start by diving head-first into an ad campaign without preparation. This is your brand, your money and your time—take ownership of it! Spend some of your time and spend a little bit of money to make sure that your brand is represented well. Give your advertising campaign a chance for success—your brand will thank you for it.