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Why Your Small Advertising May Suck

It used to be so simple back in the glory days of advertising. The advertising agencies dreamed up a simple, yet catchy advertising slogan, and paired it with an appealing visual, then usually billed you with an amount that would sustain the inhabitants of a small island for a year.

When I was growing up I had many favourite adverts on TV, and I bet you had some of your own too? Here’s one: Do you remember the Frosties cereal advert with Tony the Tiger? How simple was that! ‘Frosties, they’re gR-R-R-reat….!’

However, since Frosties and other sugary cereals have been pretty much banned from our screens for promoting unhealthy eating, many of our nostalgic childhood TV ads have gone the same way too. This is not the point I am making though. What I am trying to explain is that these adverts wouldn’t work for today’s consumers, and advertising like this certainly wouldn’t work for you either. Why not? Well, lets take a closer look shall we.

Selling the product will not work

The adverts from our childhood were cool and catchy, but did you ever stop to think what is in this for me? As a child, I never did. But I do now. Nostalgia aside, what was the point of the Frosties advert? What were they trying to tell me about the cereal in the box, or why I should choose to eat them over any other brand of cereal available on the supermarket shelf?

Today, the catchphrase ‘They’re gR-R-R-reat!’ wouldn’t make me want to rush out to buy them. There is no unique selling point. How would I benefit from buying them? Why would I need them in my life?

Selling the benefit rather than the product

Many small business owners are slowly starting to learn that they have to sell the benefits of owning what they sell. The problem is trying to explain this viewpoint to your sales and team, or to the creative company you may be outsourcing your advertising to.

The problem with advertising companies is that they are full of creative types, and the problem with creative types is that they are far more concerned with being creative than being effective.

When you are looking around with a mind to hire someone to handle your small business advertising needs, you will be met with a wall of ‘look at our awards’, and you will see websites proudly boasting about their award winning advertising features – but award winning for what exactly? Did they win awards for the creativity of their adverts, or for their effectiveness in bringing in sales?

Don’t get hung up on creativity

Before you invest your hard-earned advertising budget into any outside agency, be careful to check that their company blurb actually talks about conversion rates, sales and profits for their customers rather than how many creative awards they have won.

Small business owners cannot afford to throw money at agencies to help them win industry awards. Whoever you choose to handle your advertising should be focussed on making adverts that help YOU to make money by converting prospective customers into buyers, or to get people to sign up to your newsletter, or to increase your following on social media – whatever it is that YOU are hiring them for.

Build a good relationship

You may have to kiss a few frogs before you find your prince, but when you do find a creative agency that is actually more concerned with solving your advertising problems than with boosting their own image, hang on to them!

A good advertising agency that delivers results should be looked upon as business partners rather than hired help. If they have proven themselves effective by giving you results, then they obviously are knowledgeable about their work and are worth listening to when they offer you guidance.

Any agency worth their salt will understand that they need to keep their clients happy. If they cannot hang onto their client base for long, then they don’t make any money. The way to keep their customers happy, and to keep the money rolling in, is to build a relationship with their clients and consistently deliver on what they promise.

Just remember – don’t be impressed by the bling. They may have a cabinet full of shiny awards, but are any of them relevant to you?