Foolproof Advertising Techniques for Small Businesses

Most small businesses’ advertising techniques simply don’t work.

Yes, one hell of a claim I’ve just made, but it’s true, nevertheless. It’s very hard for most small businesses to make advertising pay, and it does depend to some extent on your industry.

I’m not saying don’t do it — because once you “crack the code”, it’s outrageously profitable. But what I am saying is it takes more time, thought and planning than you expect.

So, in the main, it’s the rule rather than the exception to find Yellow Pages and local media advertising for small businesses is a waste of time and money.

There are a couple of reasons for this… first…

Small Business Owners Don’t Know How to Write Ads!

That’s OK — nor do the Yellow Pages, local media reps, or, indeed most marketing agencies. They don’t know anything about effective advertising techniques. That statement is going to get me into a lot of hot water. I don’t care about that. Because it’s true.

Here’s how it works: your friendly Yellow Pages rep and sales rep from the newspaper or magazine calling you are not advertising or marketing experts. No, they’re media salesmen and saleswomen.

Their job is to sell you media — advertising space — not results. That’s the direct opposite of everything I do for my clients, where my sole aim in working with them is to make them money (always ethically).

And they’re paid commissions on the ad space they sell, it’s to their advantage to sell you as much space as they can. Big ads, lots of “creative” expenses, and 4-colours to bump the price up!

The more money you pay for your ad, the more money they get in commissions. It’s as blatant a case of conflict of interest as I’ve ever seen. Nice work if you can get it. And this is why…

Small Businesses Pay too Much for Their Advertising!

And so they fail to make a decent Return on Investment (ROI) on it. All because of — bluntly — badly thought-out advertising techniques and duplicitous practices on the part of commissioned sales people.

OK, so you were skeptical. I was, too, when I figured this out. But take a look at your local newspaper and Yellow Pages. Look closely at the ads. Now, let me read your mind… ok… it’s coming… yes…

I see it… you’re looking at a load of ads which have the companies’ names and logos at the top… a few words… and end up saying something like “we give great service… call us if we can help“.

As advertising techniques go, having your name and logo as the first thing your readers see is right down there at the bottom. I know it might come as a surprise, and might even hurt a bit but…

No one cares about your logo except you and your graphic designer. More to the point, they don’t care about your name, or how long you’ve been in business. Worse: they don’t care about YOU, either.

All They Care About Is Themselves!

And to write a compelling and successful advertisement, you need to be using the advertising techniques the pros use.

Because you need to be advertising in a way to take care of their wants and needs, to offer solutions to their problems, to soothe their fears. Your name and logo is irrelevant.

Write your ad in their language, aimed at them, offering them a clear benefit for a) reading the rest of the ad. and b) responding to it.

How To Make More Money From Your Advertising

The secret to making more from your advertising? Pay less for running it. Not the most exciting of advertising techniques, I know. But it’s the best answer I know. Your ad’s success is measured by the Return On Investment (ROI).

ROI is the cost of running the ad divided into the money you make back off it. If your ad costs you £100 and you make £200 in sales, then your ROI is 200/100, or 2:1.

The key to making higher profits is maximizing your ROI. And you can do this in two ways.

You can either increase your ad’s response rate (takes work, but can and should be done); or you can reduce the cost. If you can get the same ad for £50, then your ROI is now 4:1.

And getting advertising cheaper is much, much easier than you think – as often as not, it’s no more difficult than just sticking to your guns and playing the ad rep at his or her own game.