If the audience is not interested in what you are selling it doesn’t matter how many people can see or hear your ad. This fact seems obvious, but when it comes to mass media advertising (radio, TV, newspaper, billboard), many advertisers really miss the mark. It takes extra effort to make your ad relevant, but in this economy you need every advantage you can get. So don’t be lazy and just run generic advertising in the name of “branding.” Often, that is an excuse to avoid the time and effort it takes to come up with the right offer or copy that could make the difference in getting the attention of your prospective customers. Media sometimes promotes generic ads as branding because it takes less time and effort for them. Advertisers must make a better effort to work with their media reps and/or agencies to create ads that both brand and sell.

You may have heard of something called search engine optimization. Type the words “relevant advertising” into a search engine on the Internet and you will quickly see the key to getting your site to appear first when browsing through the use of search engines is to make your site relevant to what people are searching for. You will also see the key to converting people into customers on the Internet depends on how relevant your site is to what the person browsing is shopping for. The same concerns pertain to mass media advertising.

Before the Internet, advertisers assumed the number of impressions equaled the number of people seeing or hearing their ads. Not true. The fact is only a small portion of the audience, whether its radio, TV or some other media actually noticed your ad. An even smaller number may actually spend significant time listening or looking at your ad depending on their interest in what you were advertising.

The fact is if you expect to reach everyone with any form of mass media, it will not happen. Only the people interested in what you are advertising will pay any attention, and only people extremely interested will pay close attention. So be realistic with your expectations and try to use a media that best targets people who would be most interested in your ad. Then, try to imagine what most of the people you are reaching on that medium will be thinking about at the time you will be reaching them and make your ad as relevant to what they are thinking at the time.