Have you placed an ad in the local paper – or your business journal – and received absolutely no response? There is a common mistake many businesses, both large and small, make when it comes to advertising. And this mistake often leads to the declaration: “Advertising just doesn’t work.”
In fact, even in today’s online age, traditionally advertising can still work, and has an important role to play for many small local businesses. In Duct Tape Marketing, we consider advertising to be part of the “lead generation trio”, which also includes PR and referrals.
So why doesn’t most small business advertising work? Because most of the time businesses are trying to get prospects to go directly from KNOWING them to BUYING from them. Take a look at your local newspaper right now and you’ll find 20 ads making this mistake. In reality, every prospect goes through a process of having to KNOW and then LIKE, TRUST, and TRY before they ever get comfortable enough to buy.
Imagine buying a new car. You see an ad for a new Kia, a brand of car you’re not that familiar with. The ad says,
The New Kia is Here – Come Down and Get Your New Car
Do you immediately head down to the car lot and purchase? No. Yet that is precisely what the ad is asking you to do. You’re not even really sure what a Kia is yet – and you certainly don’t know if you like how it looks, or trust that it is safe and reliable. And a test drive would definitely be in order. So the ad gets no response – no one comes down to the lot and buys. The ad is declared to be a failure – advertising doesn’t work.
But say you took a different approach:
The New Kia is Here – Rated #1 for Safety - Visit www.kia.com/safety to Download our Safety Comparison Guide.
Well that seems a bit more interesting. You haven’t heard of Kia before, but are intrigued because safety is a big concern for you. you will definitely check out the safety comparison guide. It’s something you can do easily, and do for free. So you visit the website and download the Safety Comparison Guide – conveniently filled with great photos of a pretty stylish looking car. You LIKE how it looks, and after reading the safety guide, you are beginning to TRUST that it might be the right car from you.
Because you had to give your email address to download the guide, Kia starts sending you more communication on a regular basis. You find out that this Kia is not only number 1 in its class for safety, but has great gas mileage as well. The third email is a an offer to come down and test drive the KIA and get a free $10 certificate to Tim Hortons. Well, you’ll be in the area anyways and you do like your lattes – so you head down and TRY the car. You already know you LIKE it and TRUST that it is safe and efficient.
So now would you say that the ad worked?
The key to successful small business advertising is to not promote your end product, but promote some sort of free offering that your prospects view as valuable. Ideally, you will collect their contact information in return for your offering, and now have a better chance to walk them through the process of getting them to KNOW, LIKE, TRUST and TRY you.
Want to know more? We talk in more depth on this topic in our free ebook – The Marketing Hourglass.