Need More Customers? 7 Very Costly Mistakes You May Be Making with Your Small Business Advertising Budget
Let’s face it–you work WAY too hard on your business to be throwing good money down the drain. And yet I see it nearly every day: small business owners plunking down hard earned cash on misguided attempts to advertise their businesses. What’s more, these costly mistakes tend to fall into one or more of seven distinct categories.
Want to know what those mistakes are, and whether or not you make any of them? Well, here goes:
- Not having an advertising strategy. Sure, it can get real confusing knowing when and where to advertise, and many of the options are so damn expensive. But it pains me to see so many small business owners, who often diligently plan every other aspect of their business, neglect doing the same with their marketing. So they try throwing a little (or a lot) of money here, and some more over there with absolutely no clue as to whether or not they’re getting any return on their marketing investment (more on that below). What a terrible waste of your terribly hard-earned cash.
- Not advertising where your target customers or clients will see it. I personally know of a businessman who spends $500 a month on an ad in a local free weekly newspaper—when less than 10 percent (and I’m being generous) of his customers are 1) local or 2) even know that newspaper exists. In fact, a significant portion of his business comes from out of state. He would probably be better off wagering that six grand at the track. Or spending it on me. Hey, good idea. Think I’ll give that guy a call when I finish this article.
- Not testing the return on investment for your advertising dollars. Have you ever once asked new customers how they heard about you? Or kept any sort of track as to what brought someone to your website (you do have a website, right?)? Then how the heck would you know whether or not you spend your advertising dollars wisely? Any questions as to why I might consider this one of the seven costly mistakes you’re making? And have you ever seen a paragraph made up entirely of questions before? No?
- Not advertising consistently. This is a direct result of not having a marketing strategy. You get the calls from salespeople trying to get you to advertise here and there, and sometimes you say yes and sometimes you say no, and even when you do say yes you often feel buyer’s remorse almost immediately and never purchase advertising from them again. Doing this makes your business a moving target which, even if you’re not a marketing expert, you must realize is just not a good idea. At least I hope you do.
- Not advertising creatively or memorably. There’s a chain of car dealerships whose owner has made the word “huge” his one word slogan and brand. Sometimes annoyingly so, perhaps, but at the same time very successfully—when people hear the word “huge,” they automatically think about this specific businessman and, subsequently, his dealerships. The same thing can’t be said for probably about 95 percent of small businesses. So why waste money on advertising that no one is going to remember?
- Trying too hard to advertise creatively or memorably. I could probably come up with a dozen examples of this, but once a commercial, a jingle or an ad makes me wince, I do my damnedest to try and forget I ever saw or heard it…which means I am also trying my damnedest to forget the business associated with it…and chances are I’m not the only one. Just something to keep in mind.
- Relying solely on traditional media for your advertising. Do you see people walking around with hefty phone books, TVs or even radios anymore? Then why spend a small fortune advertising with them? In fact, nearly everywhere you look, people are checking their smartphones and tablets for updates. If they never see your business there, what’s going to make them think of you? Besides, think about it—when was the last time you looked up a business in the Yellow Pages. Right, I thought so.
So are you making any of these costly advertising mistakes? Or several of them? Then you need to start treating the marketing aspect of your business with the same care, foresight and attention to detail that you use in running the business itself. Your future success depends on it.