Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Why is Advertising More Important Now?

By Sandy Penny

Many small business owners make the same mistake when times get tough. In an effort to slash expenses, they stop advertising. It may seem like a likely place to save dollars, but it’s a surefire way to go down the tubes with the rest of the entrepreneurs who don’t recognize the full value of marketing and advertising.

You cannot measure the benefit of an ad as a one to one direct response. Name and location recognition contribute greatly to a person’s decision to choose you when they’re ready to buy. With 30 years in the advertising field, and 20 of those in the newspaper industry, I have seen that it takes at least three times of a potential customer to seeing an ad before taking action, and sometimes more. A small consistent ad is more effective at building trust and recognition for a new business. A big splash is better for promoting time-sensitive events and product or service specials. The more times people see your name, the more they trust that you are going to be around when they need you. You can’t measure that as a direct response to your ad. It builds over time and reaches a critical mass. Suddenly, it seems, everybody’s calling, but really it started building toward the response phase through months of consistency.

During a recession, when others in your field decide to cut advertising, your ad will show up more prominently due to fewer ads. Consider that your company thrives on both client retention and new growth to survive. If you pull your advertising, in a small town like Taos, rumors can quickly spread that you’re going under. That has been death to many Taos entrepreneurs. The businesses who continue to advertise get the bigger share of the available market.

Here Are the Top 10 Sure-Fire Ways to Kill Your Small Business

1. Pretend everybody knows who you are and what you have to sell, so you don’t advertise.

2. Focus on you more important worries than promoting your business.

3. Make believe your customers won't notice that you discontinued your ads.

4. Tell yourself that your customers will never abandon you for the new guy on the block who’s making a big splash.

5. Ignore potential new clients that would buy your products or services if they only knew about you.

6. Forget that you competitors want your customers and start taking them for granted.

7. Keep telling yourself it costs too much to advertise. For about a $1 a day, you can have an ongoing ad in the Horse Fly. You can’t afford to be invisible.

8. Disregard the fact that marketing is not a business expense; it’s an investment in future business.

9. Forget that your established customers need to be reminded that you appreciate their business.

10. Don’t recognize that now is the best time to advertise since so many freaked out competitors are cutting back.

If you fall into those ten fearful practices, you can drive your business into the ground. We need more entrepreneurs in Taos, and we need them to be successful and thriving.

Three Advertising Strategies that Work

*Prove to your clients that you really do value and appreciate them. Run an appreciation ad.

*Show your customers that you are a successful entrepreneur willing to invest in your relationship with them. Buy a column sized ad and provide monthly information and tips for your potential customers.

*Instill trust, credibility and confidence in your company and services or products by maintaining a constant presence in your locally owned and published newspaper.

Your clients are your most valuable asset. When you use attentive, relationship-building marketing strategies, like ongoing information and gratitude, you create a bond that allows you to weather any type of economic environment.