How to avoid common advertising mistakes.

Some consider it a necessary evil. Others consider it a great way to increase business. Either way, we know that you have to maximize your limited resources so here are a few tips on how to avoid common mistakes when it comes to advertising your independent dealership.

Television, radio and even billboards are traditional advertising mediums that can be expensive and very risky for a small business trying to make every dollar count. If your dealership is in near a city, consider using the advertising space made available on public transportation. Buses and the bus stops are great sources for new customers, and the cost can be substantially less than other advertising mediums. For those dealers not near public transportation, consider sponsoring a local civic organization, or a little league team. You can also use a home-delivered print advertising system like ADVO to effectively reach local customers. These are the missing child direct mail pieces you see in your mailbox with an advertising message on the other side. For more information on ADVO you can visit their web site: www.advo.com.

No matter what medium you end up using, always make sure you know what constitutes an advertisement. It goes without saying that you need to know the local laws for your state and region. Follow those laws to a "T".

"The most common mistake for dealers is that they fail to include all limitations, exclusions and reservations in their ads," says David Ozyp, founder of the marketing-to-business consultancy Ozyp, inc. (www.ozyp.com). "When you run ads make sure to disclose the details near the main offer of the ad. And, no matter what happens, make sure to back up your offer. If you offer financing for everyone, make sure that you can offer financing for every type of consumer that could walk onto your lot. When it comes to advertising choose your offers wisely, make them easy to understand, and follow through with the offer."

Your dealer trade association can get you in the right direction regarding advertising guidelines, or you can choose to hire a professional advertising group with experience in the automotive industry.

Finally, a common mistake in advertising is to make your ad message look like every other ad out there. Choose something that makes your dealership different and maximize this difference no matter how simple it may seem to you. For example, if you work well with women shoppers, make your ads reflect this by using soft and inviting images with bright colors. And by all means, clearly state this difference in the ad. Keep in mind who you are trying to reach, and then make your ads look special and different from everything else out there.

Follow these simple guidelines and you'll be well on your way to avoiding common mistakes in advertising.