Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Methods to hit your target markets

You've identified your target markets, so now it's time to decide how you will penetrate these markets. Budget constraints will play a role, of course, because some advertising vehicles are more costly than others, so consider your budget before you meet with your copywriter.

In the insurance industry, there are many ways to reach your customer base. For example, for an agent, penetrating the local community may best be done direct mailings. These are relatively inexpensive to develop and while mailing costs may add up, it is still a relatively inexpensive way to advertise. Direct mail can be used to target existing customers, new home buyers, new business start-ups or a myriad of target customers.

Targeting the Hispanic market may be done in several ways. Developing a web page for Spanish-speaking potential customers may pay big dividends and is not terribly expensive. (One caveat, of course, is that someone in your organization must speak Spanish fluently to avoid potential errors and omissions claims due to language barriers.)

Adjusting firms may develop ads for trade journals such as Claims Magazine. Direct mail also helps adjusting firms, but again, letters without follow-up phone calls rarely yield results in the business world.

Brochures, professionally designed, can be placed on your website for download, mailed or distributed at networking opportunities. A professionally designed brochure speaks volumes about your organization.

Radio and television advertising, while expensive, may be a great vehicle for your organization. If you're considering radio or television ads in small markets, don't rely on the station's copywriters to develop your copy. Some are good; some, in smaller markets especially, are terrible. Nothing turns off prospective buyers more than misspellings, punctuation and grammatical errors and advertising that seems insincere.

Don't forget the power of the press release, discussed in an earlier entry. Press releases are a very inexpensive way to get your message across and work well as part of your campaign when you're rolling out a new program; you've won an award or been appointed to a board; have hired new staff; expanded your operations or taken on new carriers.

Advertising doesn't have to cost a great deal to be effective. However, any money you spend should reap big rewards, so it pays to develop first-rate copy that will get your message out to an audience that is bombarded with messages just like yours.

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