Advice:50% of advertising money is money down the drain!

By , published on 15th September 2010

Have you ever paid out good money to stick an advert for your services in your local newspaper and been totally underwhelmed by the lack of response?  If so, you’re not alone.  Ever wondered why it didn’t work?  Two reasons.

  • First of all, think about the readership of most local newspapers.  Not only do they come from a broad spectrum of professions, incomes and backgrounds, but their tastes, their interests and their problems are totally diverse.  Some buy the paper to keep up with local events, others to check out the employment section and others still to find out what’s on television during the coming week.  For the vast majority who do happen to spot your ad in the course of skimming through the pages, what you are offering simply isn’t relevant to their lives.
  • Secondly, ask yourself this.  ‘What compelling reason did my ad give to make those who might have considered my services choose me over the competition?’  If your answer is ‘None’, then again it can come as no surprise that your phone didn’t start ringing off the hook.

Although it might be tempting to look at huge companies like The Coca-Cola Company and Microsoft and think that spending vast sums of money on advertising is the way to achieve massive growth and success, these organisations are promoting big consumer brands to many millions of prospective buyers.  For professional service businesses, trying to emulate these tactics is the road to financial ruin, simply because their audiences are much narrower and their services only relevant to a much smaller proportion of the buying public.  Taking out a full page ad in a glossy magazine might work for the ‘big boys’ but it won’t work for you!

In order for professional service businesses to market themselves both effectively and cost-effectively, they have to be selective in what they do and where they do it, and that means delivering the right message to the right target market.  In terms of advertising, that means rigorous testing and measuring to determine what works and what doesn’t, so that good money isn’t spent after bad.

So, if advertising is such a minefield, what is the answer for small business owners who need to attract new and profitable clients without spending a fortune?  Direct response marketing.

Direct response marketing such as direct mailing is not only extremely inexpensive or even free, but it targets qualified buyers and encourages them to act NOW by either requesting more information or taking up your service immediately.  Unlike the type of advertising that the big corporations use, it does more than plant a seed so that next time you happen to be in the market for new computer software Microsoft is the name at the forefront of your mind.  It provides compelling reasons why your target audience needs your services and needs them now.

There are plenty of companies out there which will be more than happy to take your money and place your ads, but most of what you spend will be money down the drain.  Understand precisely who your target market is and deliver the right message in the right way, however, and not only will you save yourself a fortune, but your phone really won’t stop ringing!

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Ford Henderson

About Ford Henderson

Ford Henderson is a client attraction marketing expert. He works with professional service business owners across the UK to help them market their business to get a continuous flow of profitable new clients

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