Today, as I was speaking with one of my clients, I asked what ad size they wanted to place within a specific magazine. To which the client responded, “Drop the ad, they’re no good, we are having big issues with them! The magazine is even using our name to forcefully collect from our other trade suppliers.”
This scenario reminds me of my advertising in Niagara This Week (NTW), nine years ago. As a client, I was advertising the new eBay training seminars I was launching. My live seminars were designed to teach attendees how to build a successful eBay business. One of the successes I had achieved was making over $36,000 in less than 90 days and becoming an eBay Power Seller with a 100% positive feedback rating. However, I’ll save that story for another day.
Well, the Newspaper (NTW) misprinted my URL in the full page advertisement promoting my event. That’s right, the newspaper typed the event website address incorrectly in a full page ad! After NTW reluctantly admitting that they had made a mistake, they gave me a free ad. To my surprise, I had to pay for the original ad in advance, before they would reprint the new ad and then they messed it up again. Like Really?!!
Perhaps NTW has their act together today, but it wasn’t just paying money for the ad that frustrated me, it was the loss of revenue, time, credibility and trust with the public. It was also the insensitivity and lack of accountability, which they demonstrated throughout my experience with them.
This was not the first time I had experienced this type of arrogant behaviour from advertising agencies. The sad reality is that many advertising agencies are not concerned about your realizing a profit, only that they realize a profit.
Most Businesses Use Advertising Incorrectly
Not to flog a dying horse, but in fact, a number of my clients, and non-clients alike, have complained about the unethical and unfair tactics they have experienced from Yellow Pages (YP) sales representatives. One of the biggest complaints I receive about YP are their lengthy contracts and the fact that they allow no recourse for ineffective results.
My advice concerning YP is always, “There are more effective methods of advertising and promotion that will yield far greater results than YP. If you do use YP, use them cautiously and judiciously.” As with any advertising, if it doesn’t perform, cut it out of your budget!
There are advertising mediums which are incredibly strategic, and others that don’t make any sense at all. In my opinion, YP does not make sense for most businesses for the dollar amount spent, when factoring the resultant outcome. I do go into greater detail in my Yellow Pages Manifesto.
Most businesses waste their time, effort and money, by using advertising incorrectly. You can grow your customers or clients dramatically, if you use advertising with a targeted approach. A targeted, focused approach can be extremely effective and yield substantial profits.
So, how do you use advertising correctly?
First of all, you must remember, it’s all about them, your audience, not about you or your company or your awards and achievements.
Whether you are using print or digital advertising, you must sufficiently reach a sizable target audience. This requires researching specifics, such as age, occupation, income, demographics, education, most recent purchases, etc.
In other words, you only advertise in mediums, where your message will be read or heard by a high enough concentration of people you want to specifically target.
Test Small, Scale Big
You must remember this very important principle, “Test Small, Scale Big.” Testing small requires spending a little bit of money and measuring the outcome of the test. Provided that you have metrics in place, which will help you determine the effectiveness of the results. If you do not take the time to set up proper metrics and evaluate the results, you are throwing your money away.
Continuously effective advertising will depend largely on your ability to create ad-copy that produces solid measurable results. When running advertisements you must provide the reader, listener or viewer with a self-serving advantage or benefit. Remember, it’s all about them and not about you.
Essentially, they must be absolutely certain that by reading your ad-copy and taking the ‘Call To Action’ (CTA), a payoff or some sort of benefit will be gained. Your CTA must move them to action, otherwise your ad-copy was a failure.
It is essential that you understand that there are two major elements to making your advertising productive and effective.
Element #1: It’s got to be about them and their concerns and their well being and their advantage, not yours.
Element #2: You’ve got to offer them enough information and education.
Finally, you’ve got to give them some reason why they should contact you, or call you, or come in, or try out some product or service you are offering: Your Call To Action!
Unless your advertising combines these two elements; a self-serving intended advantage; and the reason why they should take the action, your advertising will fail. At best, it will be much less effective than it could have been.