The biggest ad budget doesn't always win. The best communication wins.
How are you communicating your value to the public? Are you just telling people what you do? Or are you proving to them why they should do business with you (instead of your competitors)?
When all you do is tell people what you do in your paid advertising, you're wasting money. When all you do is describe your business in your paid advertising using a bunch of fluff words like--
best, integrity, dedicated, #1, for all your _____ needs, we care, service-oriented, OR any other description carries no real "weight"... you're wasting money.
Your advertising must engage people. You need to steal their attention from what they're currently doing. And that's not easy. People are busy. They care about themselves and their family... they don't care about your business. So, if you're not communicating with them in the form of a story that they can relate to or see in their mind, then they're not hearing anything that you have to say.
Be interesting. Share knowledge. Tell people something that makes them happier, smarter, healthier, etc. Be the company people feel best about when they have a particular need or problem that you can provide or solve. Make it automatic for them to think of YOUR BUSINESS FIRST. And that doesn't happen by advertising in the normal, hum-drum manner that you see and hear everywhere. You need to engage people with your advertising and marketing communications.
This is something that most business owners, media people, and advertising agencies don't understand. But that's ok. That's why I'm here to help you with all of it. You don't have learn it. I'll show you. I'll help you understand what works and what doesn't when it comes to promoting your business more effectively.
If it's not engaging, you're wasting your money. Let me know if you need help with your marketing.
Have a groovy day! :)
9 Yards Marketing
Sioux Falls, SD
I was a radio marketing and sales guy for a long time. I didn't know anything about Sales when I started selling radio advertising in 2004. Most of the training out there is terrible, too. If they say this, you say that. If they say that, you say this. I didn't buy it. From the very beginning, I wasn't comfortable being a typical salesperson. I just wanted to help businesses grow with better advertising. And I knew I could do it. So, I never pushed or "sold" people. I just talked to people. I didn't do presentations, I did conversations.
When I started my own marketing company, I had to start being the point of contact for my clients who had other media people to deal with. I had no idea they were all this bad. Even when they KNOW that I have been eating, drinking, sleeping MARKETING since 2004... they still try to SELL me. Like the cheesy, old-school salesperson kind of SELL. It's annoying and ridiculous.
A billboard rep emailed me the other day with a spiel about how billboards are basically the best kind of advertising in the world. I nicely told her my client's budget didn't allow for us to add any new advertising at this time, but feel free to contact me in 6 months. She replied with more rambling about the brilliance of billboards and proceeded to tell me that my client would likely keep getting terrible return on advertising investment unless I bought billboards from her. That made me a little angry. Instead of saying, "Ok, thank you for your time, I'll reach out in 6 months"... she decided to go the rude and slimy route.
NO WONDER BUSINESS OWNERS DON'T LIKE and DON'T TRUST MARKETING & ADVERTISING PEOPLE!
In my sales and marketing career, I was "brought up" to be a helper, not a seller. And even when management did push for more sales from the team, I never swayed from just being a servant to those who need me. But here's what I see from so many media reps and ad agencies...
False claims, puffery, irrelevant statistics, fear-based selling, more puffery, and they're all sellers - not marketers. Not one of them ever talks about how to make the advertising actually work. (Hint: It's not about the media you choose)
Now, as I'm growing my little marketing company, I still remain the one who just wants to help. I'll help with all things marketing. Most I can do myself, other things I can't. But I can always tell the kind of advertising that can work or not work. Some of my clients just want someone they can trust to handle their marketing. They get bombarded by so many people trying to sell them some form of advertising, they're tired of it. They need me to help them navigate all of it, be an advisor, be their "front person" to deal with all of these people, create their ads, be a director of creative, make sure they're showing up towards the top of Google, find online leads, keep up with their Social Media, etc.
I chose "9 Yards Marketing" as the name of my marketing company because of the "whole 9 yards" story. Here's a quick explanation of where the saying came from...
The bullets for the machine guns used in American combat planes of World War 2 were in chains twenty-seven feet in length. And if a pilot was able to fire all his bullets off at one target, he was said to have given his adversary, 'the full nine yards'.
When it comes to my experience and capabilities, I can give you the whole 9 yards.
When it comes to service and dependability, I want to give you the whole 9 yards.
Here are a few reasons you might need me:
If you find it hard to trust marketing and advertising sellers and companies because of how they treated you in the past... but you know you need to advertise to maintain or grow market share... let's sit down and discuss your situation. You and I could be a very nice fit.
Thank you! Have a groovy day!
9 Yards Marketing
What's one of the biggest reasons that advertising doesn't work for local businesses?
Well... because most MEDIA PEOPLE that sell advertising, don't know how to MAKE it work. They just sell the ads and hand off the copy writing task to someone who also doesn't know how to make advertising work. They think it's the Media that matters. But it's not. It's the message.
They don't understand that it's ALL about the message... and striking an emotional chord with people who are exposed to the advertisement. Awareness doesn't mean much. You can advertise until you're blue in the face, but if all you're doing is just making people "aware" of you... how is that helping them choose YOU instead of one of your many competitors? If a print or digital ad mainly just shows your logo and an unmemorable slogan or phrase of some kind, who is that convincing? Nobody. If a radio advertisement just tells people your name, website, phone number, and "for all your blankity blank needs", who is that convincing? Nobody.
Advertising that creates new customers for you isn't because of the place you chose to show the ad... it's because the message meant something and it made people WANT to do business with you. Something you said, stuck with them. And it made them trust you enough to contact you or buy from you... instead of one of your competitors.
There's a big difference between good advertising that creates new customers... and "Awareness" advertising that just looks or sounds pretty.
Not sure how to WORD your ads? Not sure what your main points should be? What to emphasize? How to emphasize it? That's what I'll help you with.
You can't rely on the "shotgun" approach and hope that something sticks. Like when you're buying ads here and there and over yonder... and not sure what the heck is even working. What's your strategy? What's the core of "why choose you?"
Are you going after the low-hanging fruit that only need you today? Are you going after people who only care about getting the lowest price and then a discount on top of that? OR... are you searching for new customers who want to have a trusted local business they can count on... and don't have to have everything on sale? (aren't those the profitable ones?)
Why not advertise to those who need you today, tomorrow, and 6 months from now? If you found a way to brand yourself strategically to those who will need you 3, 5, or 7 months from now... guess which business they're typing into Google when they need your product or services? YOURS. And when they type in your BUSINESS NAME instead of just a product, service, or type of business... then you've just eliminated all of your competition listed on Google.
Don't underestimate the power of branding in advertising. It's gold when it's done right.
What can I do for your business? If you're a local business, I'll help you stop wasting money on media that you don't need... or create better ads, so you actually get a decent ROI from them. There are so many advertisements out there for our eyes and ears that aren't getting noticed or doing the business any good. Wasted dollars. Too much. And little do most businesses know how easy they could reverse that.
If you'd like to discuss a smarter ad campaign that gets you more bang for your buck, reach out and let's set a quick meeting for the very near future. Hope to hear from you soon! Thank you. :)
9 Yards Marketing
Sioux Falls, SD
How Much Money Are You Wasting On Your Marketing Efforts?
Of course, there's a saying, "I know half of my advertising works, I just don't know which half." I'd like to help you fix that.
Most of the problem usually, is because there's no solid game plan. There's no strategy behind the money you throw into the wind, hoping that new customers will come back in replace of it.
The cause of that "waste" is because you've been taught that WHERE YOU ADVERTISE matters the most. But the cold, hard, truth is... the people who believe that... just don't get it. They don't know how to make advertising ACTUALLY work. It's not their fault usually. They've just never been told otherwise... or been taught anything of real substance when it comes to achieving advertising results for advertisers.
Oh, sure... there are better places to advertise than others... but the "degree of better" won't be very large if the ideas you're communicating to the public in your advertising isn't hitting any hot buttons. When you advertise, you have to ask yourself if your "target" is going to give a crap about what you're saying to them.
I'd like to help you do a couple of things:
1) Help you create a smart strategy that gives your advertising at least twice the traction it currently has (and probably a heck of a lot more).
2) Help you be more visible to online searchers... and understand what you need to do and all the things you DON'T need to do.
The first one has a lot to do with your strengths, weaknesses, your competition's strengths and weaknesses, and why your current happy customers truly do business with you right now. If you don't have a lot of happy customers, you're in trouble.
The second one can be accomplished through a smarter online marketing plan. I'd like to evaluate your online presence. There are so many things you can do to your website, your online listings, and any online advertising you're doing to trim the fat and make everything a heck of a lot more efficient.
In the end, your marketing simply needs to communicate things that will persuade people to buy from you. Or at least move them closer to buying from you. But what most business owners think is "persuading"... is usually "pushing" or saying things in their marketing and advertising that nobody really cares about. A good marketing person will help modify your marketing to help it say the things that people will react positively to. I'll help you say things in your marketing that moves people closer to doing business with you. And to do that... you have to start with getting them to trust you.
When all you do is say Who you are, where you are, what you sell, and Buy Now... you're going to be very disappointed. It means you're WASTING A LOT OF MONEY ON YOUR MARKETING EFFORTS. Let's change that. And move the needle.
9 Yards Marketing
Sioux Falls, SD
Because you want more business? More customers?
You call up some place to advertise then. You say, "I'd like to run some ads." And a lot of times, you have no idea how the whole process works. Maybe you place a few ads in a shopping news publication, or put some coupons in some mailing pack, or in a local magazine, or on the radio, etc. And I'm not even talking about all of the online advertising options you have. Your choices are overly abundant, which is confusing as hell. Everyone seems to have the answer for you. But they really don't have the answer, do they? They want your money - YOU WANT RESULTS. They get what they want... but you don't. Happens all the time. Then, whatever place you decided to advertise with, you say, "It doesn't work." But they didn't know how to make it work in the first place. They're only trained in how to take your money and place your ads.
Let's go back to the original business problem you have. You want or need more customers. Maybe sales are down. Maybe you have more competition in the area and it seems to be affecting your number of new leads coming in.
When you don't have as many customers as you'd like, it means your business is not anchored in enough MINDS of the people that could be your customers. So, then you should ask, "How do I get in more MINDS?"
This is what true branding accomplishes. And branding isn't about buying "awareness" ads that you may have already tried. It's about having "bonding" ads created and put in front of people on the proper advertising medium.
In my experience, radio is one of the best platforms to do this. Or good video that shows people what you're really about and how you care about doing the right thing. But how do you create "bonding" ads? How do you get people to bond with your company so they think of you first when they need what you sell?
You get them to like and trust you.
And that's not by telling them that you're dependable, quality, and you have a knowledgeable staff to serve their needs. These are the crappy "awareness ads" that don't work. You have to PROVE those things to people - not cram those cliche words down their throat. You have to tell stories, give PROOF that your product is great or service is superior, play to their emotions, and be sincere as possible. As if you're chatting with your best friend.
These kinds of ads are harder to create. But they work far better. Doesn't it make sense that if we put more thought and time and research into your marketing message, that it will actually work better? Of course it does!
Don't just buy some advertising. Buy the means to help you reach your goals. WHAT YOU SAY in your ads matters 10x more (or is it 100x more?) than WHERE you decide to put some advertising.
If you decide to advertise... first, set an annual advertising budget. You have to. This is a process. You'll get far better ROI if you do it consistently. No more of this "shooting from the hip" and hoping you hit something. When you do it right, you'll love it, and you'll do it forever because of the new customers you consistently attract.
Want more help? Need a plan? Just let me know. I'd be happy to. I can handle all of the media buying, talking to the ad reps, strategy development, copywriting, creative work, etc. I've been the advertising salesperson before. I've been the creative guy before. I know what works and what doesn't. You want someone you can trust. Someone who is in it to win it with you. Let's get together and you be the judge on whether we'd be a good fit.
Thanks! Have a groovy day!
9 Yards Marketing
Sioux Falls, SD
Online Reviews: Beware
I'd like to think that most consumers are wise enough to be able to sift through your online reviews to know which are fake, sincere, or just some pissy customer who didn't want to pay their bill or something. I'll remain optimistic, but I thought it was worth writing a little bit about.
I have some really great clients. They're good at what they do. Good people. Good employees. But once in a while you'll see a review that doesn't fit. So, I ask them about it.
I've heard some explanations that just go to show that sometimes you can't please people. At all. Ever. Some people don't like to pay full price for anything. Even if it's the service they asked for. Or they are whiny and mommy and daddy gave them everything, and they're not used to not being treated like princes and princesses. Some people just like to complain no matter what. It's in their nature.
Sorry to vent there... but those 24/7 crab-apples are who I stay far away from.
Here are a few examples of why people leave a bad review that's not warranted:
Didn't pay their bill. Now, they're getting calls from the business trying to collect and they feel they're being harassed. Hey... wake up... and pay your bill! Pay for what you received in product or service!
Disgruntled employee. Sometimes you have to let people go. That's business. Not doing your job... you'll probably get asked to go find another place to not do your job. So, then, they'll put a bad review up and usually make up or exaggerate something about the company or owners. Grow up. And I mean that in the nicest possible way. : )
Complainers. You can't satisfy these people. Nobody can. It's not your fault. It's what they do for a living. Too bad for them, it doesn't pay well.
They didn't understand what they were paying for. These people had something in their mind about what they were getting before they purchased a product or service from a business. So, when the job was finished, they say, "No, that's not what we agreed to." But they just weren't listening. They didn't read the estimate. They assumed they were getting something that wasn't agreed upon. The variables are all over the place here, but there was a miscommunication. I would just advise business owners to be very clear in describing what the customer will receive. Put things in writing. Go over it with them and say, "Do you understand?" "Do you approve of this?" Something to that effect. Consumers shouldn't assume things and neither should business owners. Just go over things a second time to make sure. Measure twice, cut once.
Family Members and Friends of the ticked-off reviewer. It really sucks when you get a bad review that's not a truthful picture of how the transaction went down. But sometimes, they'll get their family members and friends to post bad reviews on your behalf, basically making up their own bad stories so Google or Facebook "thinks" it's real. Now, instead of one bad review, you get 8 of them within a week. Boo. Again... grow up, people.
A Competitor. Your competitors aren't all about appreciating good competition. They're out for blood. And sometimes they go down the darker paths of spreading false rumors or giving a bad review as if they were a customer. These people have a special place reserved for them in heaven where they don't get to ever have ice cream again or something. I'd say "Hell"... but that's a bit harsh I suppose. But needless to say, I really don't like these people. If you want to increase sales and take a bigger slice of your market, then how about just running a good business that treats their customers well? Try that.
I suppose there are many more reasons, but I'll stop there. You get the picture.
So, how do you fix a bad review? Sometimes, you can inquire with the Goog and FB people about getting a bogus review taken down. But don't bet on it. Hard to prove. Here's what you do. Give your customers the opportunity to give you good reviews. People are more apt to search you out when they're pissed off. The happy customers are satisfied with everything, and the thought of giving you a good review doesn't even cross their mind. So, you have to remind them. You give them an easy way to give you a review. Whether it's an after sale email with a survey on it and a button to click that takes them to a review spot, or just asking them if they'd mind giving you one as soon as the transaction is complete.
If you want me to help you set up a "Get Reviews" plan... just let me know. I have a cool and pretty easy system that works well.
Yes, you'll also be asking for some bad feedback... but if it IS warranted... that gives you great information on where you need to improve service. On the flip side, if you're a GOOD business who does good work... then you're going to have about 99% happy customers. Even if just a small portion of those give you a review... those good reviews will far outweigh the bad ones.
And this brings me back to hoping that consumers are smart enough to sift through the good and the bad. If they see a heck of a lot more good reviews, you're going to be just fine, even if there are a few weirdly bad ones mixed in there. Just drown out the bad with good.
But that also takes effort on your part as the business owner who gets a bad review here and there. You need to be proactive in harvesting / asking for reviews. It's the world we live in. And bad reviews and bad word of mouth travels faster than ever now.
9 Yards Marketing
Sioux Falls, SD
Successful advertising doesn't manifest because of the advertising medium you choose (Radio, TV, Billboard, Digital, etc.). It's all about your ads.
Think about it. What if you wanted to run a Radio ad, but your ad talked about how to make the perfect pot of coffee and nothing about your business? That's obviously not going to bring you any new customers.
It's the same thing when your advertising message (your commercial / ad) doesn't shine a very pleasing or persuasive light on your business. When the ad message and ad strategy stinks, then your ROI stinks.
Most advertising mediums can work to some degree as long as it as an "audience". Radio, Television, Online, Newspaper, Billboards, bus benches, sandwich boards, etc. are just a place to get the word out there about your business. You're basically just renting an audience.
Yes, most options CAN work, but rarely do... because of the poor ad writing, poor strategy, no thought put into it, no research on competition, and poor research on your current customers.
When you hire LMC for your advertising... before we even consider deciding WHERE to advertise, we're going to talk about WHAT to advertise. Meaning, we'll talk about your overall branding, your goals, your competition, etc., in order to figure out the best things to say to your potential, new, profitable customers.
Restaurant advertising is a tough one. Right?
Naw. Not really. The only thing that's tough is making a profit if your only ad strategy is the use of coupons.
Restaurant ad strategies:
If you're a unique restaurant, with not much competition in terms of the kind of food you serve... then all you have to do is describe your food. But do it in a fun way in your advertising. Have you tried a radio campaign? Radio gives you free reign with the creative. You can make people actually SEE IN THEIR MINDS whatever you want them to.
If you're a restaurant that's a dime a dozen... you'll have to kill'em with kindness. Customer service and friendliness flippin' matters! Especially when you ain't nothin' special in the Food area. You'll have to talk about being a gathering place or get emotional or really creative with your advertising. But most of all... you'll win over all the other restaurants that have some similarities to you by being CONSISTENT with your advertising. While all the others will be couponing people to death, you can establish a relationship with people by helping them get to know you in your advertising. Become something COMFORTABLE to your customers. Be the ONE THEY CAN COUNT ON.
If you're a restaurant with a great "back story" or if you have a "secret method to your madness", then that's what you talk about in your restaurant marketing and advertising. It's all about setting yourself apart from the others when it comes to the big marketing picture... so whatever you can snag that's unique to talk about, DO IT.
What if you'd like to CREATE something unique about your restaurant? GREAT! That's a superb idea! Most restaurant owners are too lazy to do that. Maybe you want to name some new menu items something wild and crazy. What about decorating one half of the restaurant in ____ colors and the other half in ____ colors. "Would you like to sit in the polk-a-dot section...or the rainbow explosion section?"
I'm just making things up off the cuff. Doesn't mean that's what you have to do. You need to brainstorm with about 7 people or so. It's something I love to do if you're interested in having me help with your marketing.
I think the best advice for restaurant advertisers is to NOT get hooked on the COUPON. It's a profit killer. I use coupons at restaurants that I already love and have been eating at for years. And I eat there even when I don't have a coupon. I don't remember the last time I CHOSE A RESTAURANT based on what coupon was available to me. If you want the profitable customers...appeal to their taste buds creatively and to their emotions.
Hey... come on... this is Sioux Falls, South Dakota. We're known for having an abundance of places to feed our face. I bet there's a pretty big statistic for Sioux Falls restaurants failing too. There are a lot of options out there for you in regards to promoting your business... let me help you wade through all of it. We'll keep what we need, and toss what we don't.
That's all for now. I have lots of other restaurant marketing and advertising ideas if you're interested. Thanks!