I was shocked last week when I drove by Remington’s and realized that it was closed. We were there just in December for a Christmas party and they seemed to be doing alright. But times are hard in Cornwall and many entrepreneurs are struggling to survive.
When such times arise, the first expense business people cut is advertising when in fact, it should be the last. At the risk of sounding self serving, I will say this: advertising is a necessary evil. Nobody likes to spend money towards promotion, especially since the results are hard to quantify and slow to show. But if nobody knows you exist, how will they think of you when comes time to use your product or service?
As much as we hate it, advertising is the life line of any business.
I am not talking about a basic listing in the yellow pages; that’s not advertising. I’m referring to true visibility. Whether you place ads in the newspapers, ads on the radio, put massive signage on the street, wrap your car in graphics, invest in promoting your website or use a combination of things, consistency is the key. You need to leave your imprint on the psyche of your potential consumers by being everywhere they turn. This is done slowly. It’s an art. Having a unique recognizable logo will help but you need to get to the point where you are the only name that pops into a person’s mind when they think about your product or service. You have to become an expert in your field, someone others turn to for advice, the uncontested authority in your domain.
Only time and dedication can achieve that. But once you’re there, it’s like a snowball effect. Of course, your service has to be flawless and your reputation pristine. And you have to maintain it that way. Then, others will start advertising for you through word of mouth and at that time, you’ll know your efforts have paid off.
Remember: unless you are advertising an event, putting a one-time ad will be a waste of money. You are better going with a smaller (shorter) ad more often than bigger (longer) only once. Also, Social Media is a great venue for self-promotion, but it’s not everything.
Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.