small business advertisingMost small business owners and entrepreneurs make the same fundamental mistake when they put their hard earned money into advertising. The reason why is obvious, but little understood.  They simply copy the big end of town and do what big companies do because they think that’s how to advertise successfully. After all, aren’t those companies successful?

Unfortunately, it’s the last thing a small business should ever do.  In fact, you should never do it.  Play that game and you could wind up working for less than the average wage.  A slave in your own business because your advertising is sending you broke.

You know the type of advertising I’m talking about…a big logo at the top, boring feature after boring feature and a big fat phone number at the end…sound familiar? And no sign of a sales message. This type of ad does not ask the reader to buy or do anything! What is the point of that?

And you have to have deep pockets a.k.a. a big budget to play the game of image advertising – placing ads regularly, over a long period of time.  Major companies spend millions of dollars promoting their brand hoping that when you are out and about in the marketplace, about to make a purchase, they will come to mind. Even if you do happen to buy their product they will have no idea what advertisement you saw or even if you saw it at all.

As a small business owner, you simply can’t afford to do that. And anyway, your “brand” is not important to your customer.  They are only interested in what your product or service will “do” for them. So that’s the good news. You don’t have to waste your time or money building your brand.

Fortunately, there is a better way to bring in all the customers you can handle and it’s called direct response marketing.

Once you understand the difference between brand advertising and direct response marketing – you will never make that mistake again.

So why do I think direct response is the champion? Simply because it puts you in the driver’s seat.  Using direct response you actually give your customer instructions on what you want them to do. Specifically, how to “respond” to you so you get their contact details. Which means instead of hoping (and remember, hope is not a strategy) people will come to you – you can go to them.  Again and again and again so that you create an ongoing relationship. It also means you can concentrate on building your customer list so you never have to worry about where your next sale is coming from.

It’s a proven fact but often overlooked.  It’s easier (and cheaper) to make a sale to an existing customer than to find a new one. Design your marketing funnel around meeting your customers’ needs so you can cross-sell them related products or services and up-sell them more of what they just bought – they’ll love you for it.

So take my advice and spend your marketing dollars on creating direct response campaigns designed to attract and retain your ideal customers and leave that image stuff to the big spenders.