If you’re spending money on advertising, you need to have a compelling offer. Even though they’ve been around for decades, "X% off" coupons are still an effective advertising tool. However, if you’re offering any type of discount, you need to be sure that such offers are included in the cost of your product.

Limit your costs by selecting a market niche that needs your product, do your demographic research into who reads the publications aimed at the customer profile you want, and begin a consistent campaign.

In general, it is better to go with small ads rather than blow your whole ad budget on one splashy ad. Support this with product announcements which are really low-cost public relations and white papers. Create a way that potential customers can contact you for both product and other valuable information—that is the white paper that you will send them in exchange for their contact information and implicit permission for a sales call.

But as you design your advertising campaign, remember that in the end it’s not advertising that does the selling, it’s your sales teams that sell, and that means every ad must support your sales effort.

Marilyn J. Holt, CMC CEO Holt Capital Seattle

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