When is the time right to spend money on advertising?
When should you launch an ad campaign?

Everywhere you look you see advertising. Every media bombards you. Could this tool – advertising – help make businesses more profitable? Could advertising be helping you? If you are reluctant to spend money on advertising, it may be because you haven't asked yourself, and answered, these three questions:

  1. When should I advertise?
  2. What should I advertise?
  3. How should I advertise?

When should you advertise?

The answer is easy: "when you have something to advertise." But "having something" requires your taking a hard look at your business and asking yourself, "Do I have at lest one product or service that is selling profitably now and might get even more orders if I were to advertise it?"

In spite of stories you might have heard about advertising selling the unsellable, advertising rarely can make an unwanted product profitable. Don't advertise until you have proof that a product or service you offer can – and has – made sales. If you don't yet have at least one product or service that sells profitably, you're not ready to spend money to run advertising.

You may ask, "how can I make sales without advertising?" but there are many ways to expose your products to the public without paid advertising and, if no amount of exposure results in sales, you're not ready to spend money on advertising. First you have to get your act together and make your product desirable. This may mean writing a more compelling description for it, or showing it off with a better photograph, or getting enthusiastic testimonials for it, even if you have to give away a few bottles of your fragrance to get those testimonials.

Before you begin to spend money on advertising, be confident you have a product that will sell.

What should you advertise?

For some, under some circumstances, just advertising your business could make sense. For most of us advertising a single product from our business makes more sense.

If, from experience, you can predict that a new customer will buy from you again and again, consider advertising a "loss leader," a popular product you can offer at a conspicuously low price. This strategy attracts as many new customers as possible and you do it with the knowledge that the additional business you receive from them will more than offset the minimal profit or small loss you get from their initial orders.

Before you experiment with a loss leader, make some estimate of the profit that will be produced by future orders from these customers. This is a long range strategy and one that calls for record keeping that will allow you to estimate what a customer is worth to you in profit over the weeks, months, or years they continue to shop with you.

But suppose you have a small number of products to offer and experience shows that most new customers don't give you a second order or, if they do, it's a long time in coming. In this situation you'll want to maximize your profit on the first and possibly only order. Look for a product that sells well and yields a generous profit from each sale. This will probably be your "best" product and it's the one you want to advertise.

How should you advertise?

Ideally you will begin by running test ads in several media with several messages to see what works best for you. If your budget is extremely limited you may do better to put all your eggs in one basket rather than spreading the money so thin that any results you get will be too small to analyze. For starters, go with the media that can give you the most bang for your buck. You don't yet know what it is so you must take a shot in the dark with an advertising program you can comfortably afford and where you can quickly cut your spending if necessary. Give consideration to Google Ads, Amazon Advertising, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Reddit. Think about media where you see ads that are most closely related to what you are selling.

Set up a budget that will allow your ads to run over a period of weeks but won't break you should the program prove a failure.

Study at the media you have selected. Look at the product you have selected. Write about it just using the ideas you would use if you were selling it in person. Keep it simple. Keep your focus on how the product could help someone.

If advertising is new to you, the two most important points are selecting appropriate media – placing your ads in media that makes sense for your offer – and the offer itself. A good offer made in the right media can sell a product far better than all the work of "creative" advertising people when they promote a poor offer in the wrong media. Writing and photography skills are secondary to common sense selling.

Keep these two points in mind. My own current advertising program is focused on selling a single product, this book: Creating Your Own Perfume With A 1700 Percent Markup!.


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Philip Goutell
Lightyears, Inc.

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