Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Business without a Plan

Sure, it would be nice to just "wing it", and be successful. But life doesn't work that way.

Earlier this month I got a phone call from a barber who was calling to get a quote for advertising for the salon that he works at. So I set up an appointment and visited them a couple days later and discovered that they were "Winging it".

9 months ago they moved from one side of town to downtown. I've driven by their shop 50 times, yet never noticed them. Even the day of my meeting I went around the block twice before I found them.

At this particular small business, they have about 6 or 7 employees including the two owners and they must be doing a decent job in order to stay in business for the past several months. They are planning a "Grand Opening" next month and reached out to a couple radio stations that they listen to for ideas.

I was honest with them. I told them what it would take to build their business and they really didn't want to hear it.

A 52 week advertising plan with a minimum of 15 ads per week at $400 per week is not what they wanted to hear.

I predict that their store front will have a For Rent sign in the window within the next 52 weeks instead.

Now, some other radio salesperson will sell them what they want, but it's not what they need.

The reason so many businesses close within 2 years, and even fewer last 5 years, is they don't have a plan to get customers who will pay them money, which in turn keeps them in business.

I understand that many of these people have the best of intentions, they have a great idea, they are above average in their area of expertise, but they are often missing that one ingredient, the advertising and marketing side of success.

And it hurts to see these fine people invest their hearts, dreams, time, passion and funds into something that won't last.

I've said this before and it bears repeating over and over and over again:

"If you are planning a party but never send out invitations, NO ONE WILL SHOW UP."

In the weeks ahead, I'll review some of the ways you can invite people to do business with you, pay you money, and keep you alive and thriving.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Power of 3 Updated

Monday, I had Subway for lunch.

As soon as I sat down at my desk, I realized that the reason I was about to eat my cold cut combo was the power of 3.

There is a rule that many advertising professionals follow that says it takes 3 impressions to motivate a person to action.

It started on my way to work. I usually have a hot breakfast. McDonalds was too busy so I kept driving. A few weeks ago I had an egg white melt from Subway and it was pretty good, so when I got downtown, that's where I went and what I got.

That was #1.

Then around 11:30 a couple of the women I work with mentioned that they were going to Subway for lunch.

That was #2.

About an hour later, as I was leaving to get my lunch, I stopped by one of the offices of the women who had Subway and she was finishing off the last bite.

That was #3.

As I pulled out of the parking lot, I was considering either chicken or Chinese. But I passed both of those options and continued a few more blocks to Subway where I ordered a custom made sandwich, chips and a drink.

With the increase in the number of advertising impressions we are exposed to daily, (somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000), is the rule of 3 still relevant? Yes, given certain conditions.

I have also been exposed to at least 5 lottery ads each day, but have never played. I'm not in the market for a lottery ticket. But when I was driving I was in the market for lunch.

Still, if I didn't like Subway, or never had been previously exposed to Subway, the 3 impressions I had that day wouldn't have been enough.

When you are planning an advertising/marketing campaign, realize that everyone will not become your customer (Lottery tickets).

Also each single person needs 3 positive impressions within a short time period to motivate them to action.

And finally, most people are not even aware of these 3 impressions that motivated them to action, so tracking the advertising effectiveness can be difficult.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

How to Get Better Results from Your Advertising (Part 2)

Last week, the answer was Focus.

This week the answer is Emotion.

Too often advertising fails to tap into peoples emotions.

But its not "Peoples Emotions".

Make it singular.

Your advertising message should be targeted to One Person.

If your commercial is using a language style that is not the style you use in a one-on-one conversation, you are probably not tapping into anyone's emotions.

People are individuals.
Talk to them as individuals.
No, make that, talk to them as an individual.

And use real language. Not commercial-ease.

Paint a picture with your words. Focus on the needs and desires of your customer, not yours as a business owner.

For example, they don't care that you've been in business 13 years. They do care that you have helped hundreds of people over the years that have the same problem that needs fixing.

It's the W.I.I.F.M. theory.

What's In It For Me.

And it's more than a theory, it's how we relate emotionally, and it's how to get better results from your advertising messages.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

How to Get Better Results from Your Advertising (Part 1)

In a word:


Too often advertising is designed to reach a broad spectrum of people. This may work for a grocery store newspaper ad, but is totally wrong when using something more personal like radio or television.

Our brains have a super power to filter out much of the information we are exposed to each day, except for what truly interests us. The rest of what we see and hear may go into our subconscious, or be blocked completely.

Let's take McDonalds as an example of an advertiser that successfully follows this Focus principle.

They have over 20 items on their menu. But each of their ads features only one item. If they are promoting two items, they will use two separate ads. Angus Burgers and Chocolate/Banana Milkshakes are what they are promoting right now. But not in the same advertisement.

Also McDonalds uses shorter commercials since they are so focused. In radio, 60 seconds is the norm. Television ads are usually 30 seconds long.

In the past 5 years I've worked with McDonalds on our radio stations, their ads are 10 seconds, 15 seconds, and sometimes 30 seconds long.

Short and to the point.


If your advertising sales rep wants to throw in as much as possible into your ad, (or if you do); stop and try this Focus approach.

Contact me if you need help.