Whether you acknowledge it or not, opening up a small business is an act of war… It’s a war against large corporations, a war against another small shop down the street, a war against an online alternative and even a war against customers who detest the idea of you making a profit from their purchase.
But you’ll be surprised to learn that your biggest opponent when starting a small business is YOU! That’s right, I said it… YOU!
You’re only here right now, wanting to know how to advertise your business because you went into the battle at a total disadvantage.
First, you most likely marched onto grounds of your opponent, giving them the home field advantage. You’re fighting their battle and not your own.
I speak with many business owners who’ve set up their operations to mimic those of other businesses within the same industry.
Yes, it is good to learn from what has worked for others in the past, but remember, change happens day by day and minute by minute. When you start a new business with old methods you risk going head to head with opponents much more advanced. I believe this would be the same as bringing a knife to a gun fight.
And there are many small business owners doing just that. Without a well-strategized marketing plan, you’ll aimlessly wander into any advertising medium that has a salesperson persuasive enough to sell you that day.
Secondly, you’re probably using the weapons they told you to use, the way they told you to use them. Or worse yet, you failed to get the whole story on why something worked like magic for another business, but absolutely flopped for you.
For example, a business exactly like yours in an identical market might tell you that running ads on the radio was the absolute best type of advertising they’ve ever invested in. And then 2 months after trying it for yourself, you call them back to thank them for helping find a great way to burn a few thousand dollars.
What that business owner failed to tell you is that it was their 3rd campaign attempt that was finally successful. They tested 2 others with the same bad results you received, but they tweaked it and BOOM, it started generating a flood of new leads. They also didn’t tell you that their radio advertisement connected to a sales landing page that had a totally irresistible offer that no sane prospective customer could pass on. And in order for them to get this irresistible offer, the prospect had to submit their contact information.
They didn’t even tell you that no profits were made up front. They made most of their profits by following up with their newly acquired leads and upselling them on backend products.
And you just thought they ran an ad on the radio…
Running a single ad on ANY medium rarely ever produces results. EVER! We live in a multi-touch world now. As a small business, your advertising needs to build rapport long before you ever ask your prospective customer to purchase your product.
Relationship building is what will separate you from your opponents. It is also the very thing you need to have customers eager to pay you your asking price.
The third blunder small businesses make would be a necessity in a real war, but absurd in marketing. They camouflage themselves by establishing their businesses and advertising using industry standards.
In this warring market, you want your business to stand out as much as possible. Better yet, you want your business to “glow in the dark” and “clang in the silence”.
The last thing needed in ANY market is… Another one of THOSE.
O.K. I’ve rambled long enough, here are the # weapons you’ll need to advertise your business effectively in today’s combative market…
1) A Niche Market – You should advertise like a sniper who has ONLY one shot to hit his target. Before executing any advertising campaign, you need to know who your target is and why they should spend money with you and not your competitor.
Having a niche market will make you “Stand out” from your competitors because you’ll be servicing a sub-market of a larger industry.
It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, you can formulate an advertising plan that focuses in on a specific demographic and caters to their needs. This will add priceless value to your product/service getting you full price for your efforts.
2) A Multi-touch Advertising System – As mentioned above, single-touch advertising is a thing of the past. Businesses who are serious about getting results from their advertising will have a system that:
A) Captures contact information – set up a sales landing page and use your advertising to direct prospects to it. By collecting lead information you leverage your advertising dollars by giving yourself the ability to follow up essentially free.
B) Build relationships – now that you have the prospects contact information you can use it to build a trusting relationship. Send ONLY messages that offer true value to your prospects and give special offers.
C) Upsell – You have to make money eventually. Offer exclusive product or services to your subscribers. This doesn’t mean cutting the price, it means putting together a package that would be irresistible to people who love your products. Maybe a webinar, course or trade show just for these prime customers.
3) A “Campaign” Mindset – Think in terms of campaigns and not just advertising. Business owners who advertise will buy into a bunch of shotgun approaches that will always miss its target. Owners who execute marketing campaigns have very specific goals and they will choose advertising methods to accomplish those goals.
In addition, all of the advertising you choose will work together to spread the same message.
With campaigns, you can set a definite deadline. This is a great expediting technique to get people to take action NOW!