I know it sounds a little bit simple but you’d be surprised. Most business owners say, “I know what the objective of my advertising is, it’s to make money, to make sales, to generate business.
Well, there are lots of other things you need to decide. Do you want your ads to generate leads, generate sales, build awareness, build an image, get prospects to take an action, move somebody to the next step in the buying process or a combination of these things. Many business owners assume that everyone who sees their ad will be ready to buy. But it depends on what you’re selling and who you’re selling to.
Here is an example. We had a client who owned an upscale consignment furniture store that carried really nice furniture in excellent condition. He spent $20,000 on radio ads that did not follow the Advertising Equation and quite frankly it did not hit any hot buttons or had any customer values. The ads were just bad and the results proved it. They did not get any leads from these commercials.
So, like many business owners, he complained and whined that radio advertising does not and will not work for a furniture store like his. But remember, there are 3 parts to every advertisement. There’s the media, the market, and the message which is what you actually say in the ad. In this case, it wasn’t the radio station that was bad it was his ad. He assumed that the next step in the buying process was for the prospect to come into the store to browse around. Sounds reasonable, right? What would you expect people to do after they heard an ad for a consignment furniture store? Come on in and take a look.
He assumed everyone was just waiting to hear his ad so they could finally find a place to empty their wallets. Instead we assumed that since no one had ever heard of this store, they would need a very low-risk way to find out more about it before they would invest the time to come check it out. In his store, because it’s consignment, the inventory changes all the time and they never have the same stuff twice. It depends on what people bring in for him to sell. So we created a little thing called the “Inventory Update List” which is a simple list that’s printed out every two weeks of everything that’s come during that time period.
Then on the radio ad, we talked a little about the store but instead of only giving people the option of coming into the store, we gave them a lower-risk option of calling in to get put on the “Inventory Update List.”
Here are the results. The walk in traffic just about doubled but more significantly, they took over 30 calls a day from people who just wanted to be on the list. Once they get someone on the list, then they had the ability to contact them as many times as they wanted and get another opportunity to sell the prospects.The point is this – it’s much smarter to generate leads off of ads and gather their contact information than trying to sell your prospects. Those who are ready to buy will and those that are just looking or need more information will give your there contact information. So you need to make sure that you know exactly what you’re trying to accomplish before you start advertising. Our friend with the furniture store thought that people would come into the store when they heard the ad. He was wrong.There was actually an in-between step for many prospects – calling in to be put on the list. Now, he’s got that list on the Internet with pictures of the furniture that’s in stock so his customers can hop online and get an updated inventory list as often as they like. So think about your ads. What are you trying to accomplish? Do you need to add another step? How can you get more people to raise their hand and say they want more information? The best way is by offering something to lower the risk such as a report, checklist, audio CD or DVD. These marketing tools will develop trust and credibility that will separate your business from the competition.