Having lived with the “self-employed” mindset most of my life, plus, having had good and bad years, has taught me one thing for sure, until we’ve “done it” we don’t really know what’s its like.
No where is that thought truer than when it comes to working with “marketing and advertising” for local business owners. I put quotation marks around the words, because there are as many ways to do it as there are business owners, so a definition isn’t always easy to clarify.
If you’ve owned a business for anytime at all, you have some idea of what I’m talking about, especially if it’s a retail or service business serving your local community.
Many of us are “lone rangers” with an idea that we think will fulfill our lives and help others, but when the daily realities of running the business hit home, most of us soon realize, it’s not what we thought it was.
We also come to understand that marketing and advertising isn’t as easy to setup as we thought either and never has that statement been truer!
I started my first business in 1980, a much simpler time for advertising. It mostly was about buying the largest audience for the lowest possible price with the hope that some of them would buy from my business.
Then I had the opportunity to sell local TV advertising to small business owners in the area I grew up and had owned businesses in, which creates its own set of issues that add pressure to the daily tasks of running a business, since, as I did, many employ family members or are family owned.
So why should you care about my story or journey to understanding online marketing and advertising?
Well for me it comes down to what I’ve learned and proven to work for my clients over the long term. Much of which I’ve found gets lost when it comes to most local advertising sales reps who are making their living trying to help small business owners.
Speaking from experience on both sides of the subject I believe it has taught me some things that the majority of those calling on your business trying to sell you local advertising but do not understand.
I spent my own money on advertising my businesses only to wonder if it was worth the investment… have you been there?
When along came the Internet with the promise of a “free” way to reach out to my customers and I saw it as the way to eliminate a huge expense for my businesses, I would spend the next 25+ years trying to figure out how companies like Google and Facebook monetized “FREE”…
Well I cracked it… long ago, but the secret to making it work was spending long hours sitting at my computer learning how to make it all work.
Today however, keeping up with the learning curve has become nearly impossible because of the pace it is changing.
Having been both a business owner (spending my own money) and a local advertising sales rep I am sensitive to both sides of what most don’t even see as an issue.
When I was a local TV sales rep, I of course, was trained by my employer. That training had to teach me how to sell my medium as does every other type of advertising company.
However, as the Internet came along most marketing and advertising companies had to become specialized and that has been evolving and expanding since the beginning.
As I watched as newspapers become the first to struggle to compete and embrace new advertising technologies, many lost the battle, since any of them that survived had to become involved in the online advertising revolution as their revenues declined significantly.
TV, radio and every form of advertising that existed before the Internet has had to adjust their business model to survive. Which created a unique situation in selling their mediums.
How could a newspaper offer what seemed to be a competing service in the early days of online advertising?
Banner ads were not much more than the display ads newspaper had offered forever but were now on the Internet.
Fast forward to today and there is more confusion about marketing and advertising online than ever before. Business owners are more overwhelmed with choices of Internet channels advertise on!
This has brought about an explosion of “marketing experts”, not to mention many business owners, like me, who try to learn what they need to know to do it themselves, because they have spent money that seemed to bring little to no return.
However, before the Internet the ways to measure if your ads were effective were very much lacking compared to today.
To acknowledge the dark side of advertising… there are some outright crooks in every industry and advertising is no different, it a huge business to skim from and it attracts them like a magnet.
However, where much of the waste in ad spending comes from these days is from business owners who buy from well-meaning sales reps, just trying to make a living. They don’t know they’re not selling their clients the best ad campaigns for the business, but they are trained to believe they are.
I could site practical examples of this happening every day, but the details require much more than I’m writing about in this article.
Suffice it to say it bothers me a lot when I see local business owners who spend precious ad dollars on campaigns, I know will not bring them the results they hope for.
Having been where you are as a business owner who has sales reps daily calling and stopping in trying to sell you “the next best thing” in advertising, my heart goes out to you and a desire in me rises to help every owner eliminate as much wasted spending as possible.
To eliminate as much as possible a proper foundation needs to be laid to track results and the return on investment.
My 3-part strategy for local business owners does just that… this is what I’ve done with my clients for the past 7+ years and they stick with me because its working.
1. A properly built website
2. Choosing the best social channels
3. Using video to deliver your message
This has become the focus of my agency and goal for every client that I work with.
I support your business in setting up that foundation the right way!
After learning about your business, I will suggest and lead you into the best ways my experience has been proven to work for others like you.
Contact me today to see if we can work together to build your business for long term success.