Getting bogged in the paralysis of analysis

For as long as I’ve been helping people with their marketing, one thing hasn’t changed. There is still those who want to complicate what is, and always has been, basically a very simple and straight forward process.

Marketing, but more particularly advertising, can be likened to someone wanting to get from A to B. They can plan their way forward, think about the outcome they want, consider the ups, downs and pitfalls they may encounter along the way and ponder anything and everything else that could go wrong. They can do all this, but one thing is absolutely certain, until they actually take that first step, they’re not going anywhere.

A lot of advertisers are like that. They seem so afraid of getting it wrong that they try to consider every possible angle only to find themselves at the end bogged in what I call the paralysis of analysis.

Trust me, for most small business advertisers and despite what many advertising and marketing gurus will have you believe, it’s not that hard…or complicated.In fact, once most get a handle on the basic considerations, they never look back. Over all my years of helping business owners with their advertising, I think it’s fair to say that after listening to my ‘basic’ advice which takes little more than an hour or so, many have never looked back and now regard their advertising spend as an investment not an expense.

Advertising is just one aspect of marketing and for now, let’s concentrate on that.

Many business owners have varying views about advertising. Comments like “advertising is a waste of money”, “half of my advertising works, half doesn’t – I just wish I could figure out which half works”, “advertising doesn’t work for me, I rely on word of mouth”, “I can’t afford it or it’s too expensive”, “I tried it once but it didn’t work”. These are typical of the type of comments many people make but it’s not surprising when you consider that most of the people who make such comments, although they maybe competent business people, they probably have very limited knowledge about how advertising works. That statement is not meant to be smart or offensive, it’s just based on my experience in dealing with many business owners.

I say, quite categorically, advertising works!

The trick is not to expect an occasional handful of ads to deliver you a windfall but rather, to develop an advertising strategy that will steadily grow your business over time.

We all know get rich quick schemes rarely work and it’s the same with advertising. A get rich slow plan is a much better strategy.There’s a saying on building wealth that says “gathering little by little over a long period will make it grow” and that’s basically my message with advertising.

Lay a solid foundation

Business owners are presented with a myriad of advertising opportunities over any given peribrickod of time and to be fair, every one of them will sound attractive. After all, who would try to sell anything that didn’t at least sound good on the surface.

That said, if you don’t a have a clear plan of attack for processing all these offers, you could find yourself with a lot of advertising initiatives happening, paying a lot of money for them and at the end of the day, few of them offering any real benefits. Without going into a lot of detail here, the point I want to make is that some “advertising” opportunities have little value while others have more serious value. For example, advertising on pens and giving them to your clients or potential clients would have far less advertising value than say if you used the same money to put an ad or two in a newspaper. For a more detailed explanation of what is termed above the line and below the line advertising, read section 12 of my handbook.

My recommendation to business owners over many years has been to lay a solid foundation using mainstream media before you start dabbling in other areas.

Keeping it simple, let me explain what I have told many business advertisers in regional areas over the years. Of course, this is not a one size fits all scenario but it does apply to a lot of businesses, those who want to keep their name out in the market place on an ongoing basis but still have the freedom to do other advertising as needed.

Radio

I tell advertisers to run one 30 second radio ad on the most popular radio station in their area, who has the right audience for their business, as follows –

1st Week – Monday, Wednesday, Friday between 7.00am and 8.30am.

2nd Week – Tuesday, Thursday between 7.00am and 8.30am.

3rd Week – Monday, Wednesday, Friday between 7.00am and 8.30am.

4th Week – Tuesday, Thursday between 7.00am and 8.30am.

That’s 10 x 30 second ads in prime radio time, on the best station, covering each weekday at least twice, over a month. I suggest you do this for 6 – 12 months at least.

The cost of such ads can vary but in my experience, with some serious negotiation, $50 – $60 each is not uncommon in regional cities, especially when the ads are taken over a period of time such as 6 to 12 months.

Such a commitment will represent about $500-$600 a month and over time, will provide very solid ‘branding’ of the business.

Newspaper

I tell advertisers to also run one or more ads in the most popular newspaper in their area each month. The size and frequency of this ad should be determined on what you’re trying to achieve but again, my recommendation is to spend around that $500 – $600 a month for 6 – 12 months.

Of course what you include in the ads is also important but that’s a topic for another time. If you need help in the meantime, email me through the contact me facility.

This should not be regarded as the answer to all your advertising needs but for many businesses it will provide a meaningful and ongoing method (foundation if you prefer) of keeping your name out there. Over the years, and on my advice, some 30 to 40 businesses have done this with great success and many still do. Laying a solid foundation like this is highly recommended as a means of keeping your business in front of people 24/7.

Do good anyway!

Running a small business today is no easy task and if you’re like me, some days you probably wonder if it’s all worth it. I think that’s perfectly understandable, especially if you employ people.

My purpose here is not to focus so much on the problems or hurdles we face each day but rather to remind those who employ people that what you’re doing is a very noble thing to do.

Sadly, and in my view, not enough genuine recognition is given to those of us who employ people. Appropriate recognition from the leaders of our Nation and the general public is almost non-existent. Yes, you’ll hear words from time to time saying that small business is the backbone of the Nation and that small business is responsible for employing a huge slice of our workforce, but at the end of the day, such words rarely seem to generate the type of appreciation that can be measured. For me they just sound like empty words that simply fill space and most people let go through to the keeper.

Well today, I’m here to tell you that if you employ people you can and should take great pride in the fact. I do. About 16 people derive some or all of their income each week from working for me and that amounts to around $700,000 a year in my business alone. What needs to be said however, is that my wife and I earn only marginally more than several of my staff. We choose to do this and we’re not complaining but the point I want to make is that it takes a special kind of person who is willing to operate a small business, employ people, put up with all the compliance issues and other day to day hassles, have to deal with customers who are forever expecting more and more… and so on, and so on… and doing all this without getting much appreciation or recognition from government or the public at large! In some respects it’s plain crazy but it’s what we business owners do.

So, between when you get up in the morning and when you start work for the day, take a moment to remind yourself that by running a small business like you do – with all its ups and downs, you’re doing a very worthwhile and noble thing for our Nation and Bob Holland for one, knows that and acknowledges it. Good on you!

Be encouraged and get out there irrespective of the hurdles, knockers and anything else that would get in your way or spoil your day, and ‘do good anyway’!

GoodStuff

Energy Deals

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The cost of energy is very much an issue for most people these days and although there are often discount deals on offer from the various companies, you still have to almost be an actuary to work them all out.

The NRMA Open Road magazine this month tells of a deal where 20% discount is available to members through a company called Simply Energy. My wife and I checked it out and found overall, we’d save 120-$150 a year on our home electricity costs. We had been getting a 14% discount from our current provider.

Of course this deal is only for a short time and it may not apply to your particular area but I’ll pass in on anyway.

The site you need to check out is –

www.simplyenergy.com.au