The 5 steps of advertising (free guide)

In business, expanding on an idea and developing the product is only the beginning. 

How will consumers know the product exists and where to get it? 

Well, if you have ever wondered what the steps of advertising are, you have come to the right place.

The 5 steps of advertising are:
1. Define your target market
2. Identify the best channel to reach your target market
3. Create a compelling headline
4. Explain why your product is the best solution
5. Make an irresistible offer

You need to advertise. All companies, new and old, rely on advertising to succeed. 

After all, advertising is the best tool for gaining and retaining customers: the only true job of marketing. But what exactly are the most important steps of advertising?

Like any marketing strategy, the secret to success in advertising lies in knowing how to be great at the core basics. Otherwise, you can spend too much time and money only to achieve minuscule results -- violating the law of 80 / 20 in marketing.

For a brief refresher on the importance of the Law of 80 / 20 in Marketing, go here:

How does the 80/20 rule apply to marketing? (Pareto Principle)

A successful advertising campaign involves these five steps. Each step is essential and must be developed in the order shown below.

Let’s get started.

The 5 Steps of A Successful Advertising Campaign

1. Define your target market

A target market is something you should have in mind when launching a new business. It’s a small group of people who will buy your products. Although small, it should be sizable to help you make profits. A good target market should have growth potential and not be flooded with competitors [1].

If your product is for the general population, you can set a target market to be a specific location. But for products like clothing, you can specialize in men’s clothing, women’s, or kids. If you sell computer games, your target market would be the younger population.

Understanding your target market will help you create effective marketing strategies. It will determine your next move, from selecting the communication channel to crafting the advertisement message.

Here are two very helpful articles to help you define your target market through market research:

  1. How to Conduct Market Research for your Business Idea
  2. 8 Market Research Strategies used by Marketing Professionals

2. Identify the best channel to reach your target market

To reach most of your target customers, use the communication channel they use. If they have multiple channels, select the one with the highest value for money. Large businesses have a sizable budget and can afford to use multiple channels. But what if you have a limited budget? Here, select the most effective channel.

The internet is an extremely popular place to advertise. It can help you reach a global audience. But the internet has many options, including websites, YouTube, Facebook, and emails. YouTube is best for video advertisements. Videos can be catchy and effective, but they’re also expensive.

Social media can be cheaper and a great way to reach a young generation. Email marketing can help retain customers. Today, podcasts are gaining popularity, and businesses are increasingly using them to advertise their products. Other options include organizing events, trade fairs, print, and mass media.

Advertising options are almost endless, but the answer always lies in where your target market most wants to buy from.

Start with your customer. And work backward to find the correct advertising media.

3. Create a compelling headline

The headline contributes 80% of the ad’s success rate. On average, only 20% of those who read the headline will read the rest of the advertisement [2].

Hmn... sounds just like the Law of 80 / 20 in Marketing, doesn't it? Yes, and it should because more time should be spent on developing the headline than any other activity, after your target market has been defined.

So, whether you are posting on social media, creating a YouTube advert, or a website blog, give the ad a catchy heading. But how do you do that?

First, understand the problems your customers have. Let the heading promise to solve a problem your customers have. Some marketers make the product seem like a must-have to feel satisfied, happy, or popular.

A headline can win customers if it invokes delivers tremendous benefit, creates curiosity, is newsworthy, or makes them feel as if they’re losing something without the products.

One of the greatest books ever written on advertising is Scientific Advertising. It was written in 1923 and every bit of it is more true than ever, today. We expanded on the importance of the headline in this helpful article here:

What is Scientific Advertising? (+strategy)

4. Explain why your offer is the best solution

A catchy heading will get the customer to read the rest of the advertisement. But it won’t guarantee success if the content lacks substance. So take time to explain why your product is better than what is already available in the market.

Some of the selling points include; the product being cheaper, providing a simple way of doing something, or having better quality. Safety and durability are other points that make a product look great. The more you understand consumers’ problems, the better you’ll meet their needs. And the more authentic your advertisement will sound.

Here is an absolutely great article that will help you develop your strategy. Also, McDonalds is featured here and they do a great job in using the word “Free” in their marketing strategy (the next topic):

What is Operational Excellence and Why is it Important?

5. Make an Irresistible Offer

Great offers can move your customers from mere readers to paying buyers. You have seen others doing it; buy two for the price of one, 30% off for all new customers, or a money-back guarantee. Sellers have many ways to make offers. Why not create one your customers can’t resist?

Discounts seem to work for many businesses. Just ensure they have a time limit to create a sense of urgency. Show customers how much they can save by purchasing the products from you or within a specific duration. Give free delivery, maintenance support, warranty, or whatever your customers seem to like most.

Nothing beats using the word “free” in your advertising campaigns. You just have to get creative and figure out how to make it work in your business. Here is a great article to help you get started:

How is “Free” used in marketing? (5 clever strategies)

Follow the five steps above to design an effective advertising campaign to propel your business to new heights.


  1. Selecting Target Markets and Target-Market Strategies. University of Minnesota Open libraries.
  2. Four Types of Headlines People Can’t Resist Clicking. The Medium. June 3, 2021.


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