Article by Carolyn Higgins

Pick up a newspaper, magazine or advertising circular and look at the ads. What do you see?  A whole bunch of the same thing: a list of services; a company name; a tagline; a pretty graphic; and maybe an offer.

Most businesses think of advertising in one of two ways:

  1. Put your company name in front of enough people enough times so they’ll remember you when it’s time to buy.
  2. Put an “amazing” offer out there and people will be compelled to respond (whether they’ve made the decision to buy or not).

The first scenario is called “top of mind” advertising and unless you have a multi-million dollar marketing budget it’s very difficult to buy top of mind brand awareness. In the second example advertising sales people want their advertisers to see results (because results sell more advertising), so  they recommend you put an offer  in your ad:  Get 10% off service, $5.00 of a product, buy one get one free, etc.  And sure, that works – sometimes.

Let’s Analyze the “Compelling Offer” Approach:

Does putting an amazing offer in front of people influence them to buy even if they don’t have an immediate or compelling want or need? Does an amazing offer force someone to buy if they don’t have a budget? No, it doesn’t.  So your ad gets completely ignored and you don’t get any response. (Ok to be fair – best case scenario – someone may clip it, stick it to the fridge where it will hang for a month or two before it ends up in a drawer or in the trash).

How an Ad Gets Seen….or Not.

Consider this scenario:   I’m looking at an ad in the free local magazine that comes in the mail every month; it’s an ad for a $75 carpet, tile or grout cleaning.  Well, my tile and grout happen to be pretty clean- well clean enough for me right now. So I’m not interested in spending $75 to get it cleaned, even if it is a great deal. I ignore the ad and move on.

Now let’s think about this… I am a tile owner. At some point in my life I may need tile cleaning services. However, did I notice the name of the business offering the deal? NO. Do I know how they are different from every other steam cleaning company out there? NO. Has this ad given me a reason to remember them when I am ready to get my tile and grout clean? NO. Has this ad engaged me in any way? NO.

Old School Advertising Doesn’t Work!

And what’s the traditional reaction when advertising doesn’t work?    Ask any advertising rep and they’ll tell you – you need to advertise MORE (i.e.: spend MORE money), so that when your prospect is ready to buy  they will see or remember your ad and call you. But how much are you willing to spend to make a sale?

So let’s say you spend $175 / month on the ad and it takes me 6 months to decide I need to clean my tile. Let’s say I happen to choose you because I remembered seeing your ad in the magazine for the past six months and because your offer is better than the other guy who is doing it for $100. You’ve just paid $1050 to get my $75 sale. Sure, you may up-sell me, I may become a regular customer and my life time value may be in the thousands – but those are big “ifs”. Think about that:  you are spending hundreds – or even thousands – of dollars hoping to reach a prospect at exactly the right time in their buying process. Doesn’t that seem like a pretty large gamble to you? No wonder businesses think advertising doesn’t work!

A New Way to Advertise.

What if, instead of advertising with the hope of making your phone ring off the hook and breaking sales records immediately, you take a different approach! What if you try something Duct Tape Marketing calls the “2 Step Approach to Advertising”?   What if, instead of spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on print ads trying to find that needle in a haystack – that rare person who is ready to buy what you are offering the second they see your ad – you find potential prospects and get their permission to market to them on a more consistent basis and with more targeted offers while spending less money?

Here’s How 2 Step Advertising Works:

Create an ad offering a free report:  “5 Easy Things You Can do to Keep Your Tile and Grout Clean”. Or better yet, “How to Remove Tile and Grout Stains Yourself”. OK,  I know what you’re thinking… you’re thinking this is crazy and it’s going to cost you business –right?  Well, you’re wrong. It won’t cost you business; in fact this approach will accomplish three things. It will:

  1. Get people to your website where they can learn more about you.
  2. Attract people who actually own tile and who will give you permission to market to them on a regular basis.
  3. Prove that you care more about helping people than making a sale (prospects love that).

The goal of marketing is to get people who have a need to KNOW, LIKE AND TRUST you so when they are ready to buy, they buy from you. Offering helpful and useful information helps build your KNOW, LIKE and TRUST factors and yes, increases sales.

The goal of 2 Step Advertising is to get prospects to your site and get their permission to engage them by collecting their email addresses. Once you have their permission you can email surveys, newsletters, tips and offers geared specifically to their needs on a monthly or bi-monthly basis for about a penny an email.

Think about how powerful that is:You get to communicate with a prospect who has given you permission to market to them for one tiny penny! That’s HUGE!

Your New Advertising Strategy

How many more responses do you think you can get when you stop selling in your advertising and start offering helpful information? People hate to be sold. And that’s what traditional advertising is all about. What if you can get 10 new people on your email list from each ad? What if 1 of those people eventually buys from you at full price – or close to it? What is the cost of that one customer compared to the one you got by practicing traditional advertising?  I guarantee that if you implement this approach as part of your marketing strategy you will get results and begin to see your business grow.

Carolyn Higgins is the President and founder of Fortune Marketing Company. Her personal mission is to help small businesses stop wasting money on advertising and promotions that don’t deliver and help you implement an effective marketing system that will bring you more customers – consistently.

AvatarCarolyn Higgins

Carolyn Higgins is the President and founder of Fortune Marketing Company. Her personal mission is to help small businesses stop wasting money on advertising and promotions that don’t deliver and help business owners implement an effective marketing system that will bring in more customers—consistently. For more information about Fortune Marketing Company visit the Fortune Marketing Company website or blog.