Even though launching an advertising campaign requires a lot of research and analysis, it can be one of the most fun things you do as part of a business. Advertising campaigns range from promoting a specific product, a range of services, or just promoting a whole brand like Nike's famous "Just Do It" campaign. Launching an ad campaign entails some trial and error, but with a little bit of determination and persistence, anyone can create a campaign with the best chance of success.
Determine the right target market for your product. Find out who is likely to buy your product or service. Find out as much as you can about them. If you're selling computer parts, determine who you are selling them to. Do you offer help to the computer illiterate, or do you offer advanced equipment that only experienced computer programmers would know about? Identify with precision who the target audience is for your product by categorizing gender, age group, lifestyle, income and general location.
Locate your target audience. Find out where your target audience usually spends its time. If you're offering math tutoring services, then your best bet is to advertise at the local college instead of at the mall. If you're selling a strategy guide for a specific video game, then you might consider putting an ad in the video game's fan websites. Targeting is becoming increasingly easy with the use of systems such as Google's AdWords, which allows you to select the types of sites you want your ad to appear in and maximize your chances of getting a response.
Create a message that speaks to your audience. When creating the wording for your fliers, newspaper advertisements, television or online text ads, relate to your target audience by speaking from their side. The famous advertising campaign by the state of Texas, intended to persuade people to stop littering the highway, was successful because it spoke the language of their teenage male target audience: "Don't Mess with Texas." Your message should be clear and actionable, and should leave no doubt in your customer's minds as to what the product or service is.
Time your campaign. Analyze the selling cycles of your product with other retailers and advertise before the peak of the buying season for the product. For example, if you're selling winter coats, don't launch your ad campaign in April.
Start slow and test often. Do a preliminary test to see the effects of your wording, placement, and call to action by placing a large number of ads in a small geographical area, such as a mall or a neighborhood. If the results are good, then extend the campaign to the surrounding neighborhoods; if they aren't so good, play with the wording and placement and try again.
Have clear and measurable sales goals and expectations. This will help you measure successes, failures, track improvements and keep up with trends.