Does Your Local Business Advertising Get Results?
I spent quite a bit of time on the phone yesterday with some poor guy trying his best to sell me local business advertising space in one of those quarterly local lifestyle magazines. You know the one’s, they say your business will be the only one of its type advertising and they deliver to so many tens of thousands of addresses in the local area.
I’ll admit to being quite cruel as I had no intention of buying ad space. The target audience is wrong for my type of business. However, I did want to see how far I could push it!
But, the experience gave me the idea for this post because generally local business advertising does not work well. There are a few reasons why…
- The effectiveness of print ads is decreasing due to more people using local online searches. My own mini survey (outlined on the about page), was the final proof I needed set up my business. Locally, no one I asked used Yellow Pages or Thompson Local print directories, 1 person checked the local papers…
- Local business ads suck. Yes, that is a bit blunt, but true! The simple fact is, most local business owners can not write a good advert. And, just to make matters worse, neither can the local papers, directories or lifestyle magazines for that matter…
You see, these guys are salesmen (and women!) and it is their JOB to sell advertising space. The bigger the slot they sell you then the more commission they make. That would be fine if the advertising space they sold you included a good ad copywriter to get your message across and get results.
But, what they sell you is ad space. Perhaps they will throw in a nice logo design too. The end result is a couple of lines for your address and your message. That is where many local businesses go wrong…
How many times do you see adverts like this in the local paper or directories?
Joe Blogs Company
Established 25 years
Free Quotes, No job too big or small
Tel. 123 4567
OK, the ads may be more colourful, include your logo, have bigger names, bolder telephone numbers or a longer list of products. But, essentially they are the same in many of the local print media.
How do you improve your local business advertising results?
- Use the right media for your business. Target the right market. For example, look at my experience yesterday. Placing an advertisement for my online services to local businesses in a lifestyle magazine is not a great match no matter how low I haggled the cost of placing the ad.
- Remember that people really are not interested how great your logo is or what your company is called. Don’t waste that precious top section of the ad space filling it with large bold print names and colourful graphic design.
- Think about your target audience and write for them. Encourage them to read the advert. What are their needs, fears, desires relating to your product or service? Address them, then ask them to respond – yes, tell them to call you or what ever the required response is.
Track your advertising response. An old Laboratory Manager of mine once told me,
“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”.
That saying has stuck in my head for over 25 years because it is true in so many situations, especially marketing! You need to know what works, and just as importantly, what does not. It’s simple to do, just add a unique promo or tracking code to your advert and ask for it when people call. If your advertisement in a particular publication isn’t working then do not re-run it in that format. Online it’s even easier with cookie technology, no asking required!
- Finally, haggle! It won’t make your local business advertising achieve better results, but it will improve your ROI…
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