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Common Advertising Mistakes

Advertising is the key component to bringing in clientele. Though word-of-mouth is the most effective, it won’t happen until you get those first few people in the doors, and to do that you must advertise. There are a lot of great ways to market your business to the public, but there are definitely some tactics you should avoid if you want to see the most success.

When brainstorming your advertising campaign, be mindful of the following common advertising mistakes:

DON’T Monopolize the Cute and Cuddly
Many surveys and advertising guides may lead you to believe that putting puppies, or other cute animals, and babies will draw the public’s attention to your ad. And yes, the ad may get their attention, but it probably won’t get you any new customers. The typical reaction to such a ploy is “Oh, what a cute baby!” but the viewer won’t remember anything about your business.

Take car dealerships for example. I can’t tell you how often I see a commercial for a car dealership and there’s a dog sitting in or on or next to the car or the person in the ad. The only thing that comes to mind is, “What does that cute dog have to do with that car?” And I don’t remember what dealership, which renders the ad completely ineffective.

Instead, stick with what you know. If you’re selling cars, then talk about the cars. If you own a maid-service, then show before and after pictures. Don’t show a baby eating a cookie off the floor in an effort to indicate how clean the floor is (besides, babies do that all the time, whether the floor is clean or not). If you’re an electrician, your dog doesn’t come with you on jobs so he shouldn’t be in your commercials. You get the idea.

DON’T Have Sales on Non-Event Holidays
Real holiday sales should be reserved for Christmas, New Year’s, and maybe Valentine’s Day and even Thanksgiving. But Lincoln’s Birthday? Come on, who actually makes an event out of Lincoln’s Birthday by getting together with family and friends to celebrate. No one proposes to their girlfriend on President’s Day (if they do, it has absolutely nothing to do with that holiday).

Don’t get me wrong, Lincoln and Washington were great presidents and a historical figures that deserves honor, and state/federal employees appreciate the day off. But to have a “President’s Day Sale” (car dealerships, furniture stores, etc) is just a lame excuse. It means nothing because everyone else is having one. It has no significance whatsoever.

If you want to get the attention of the potential consumer, have a sale on a completely random day for no apparent reason other than to have a sale. If it’s because your warehouse is too full and you need to make some room, don’t say so. Just say you wanted to show your customer’s appreciation by slashing some prices. Everyone loves being appreciated and it’s even more significant and worth checking out when it’s for no reason but because you like us.

DON’T Advertise You
When it comes to TV commercials, advertise the business or the product/service you provide. Don’t advertise you by putting yourself in the ad. That simply looks like an ego trip. No one cares that you’re the CEO, owner, salesman of the month… it doesn’t matter. What matters is what you have to offer. If you must be a part of the ad, narrate while the picture shows your product/service.

DON’T Settle for Just Anyone With a Pretty Face
If you are a local business with a small budget and are doing a commercial for the local service area only, that doesn’t mean that you have to settle for the first person that walks through your door or your manager’s wife. Take the time to make sure that the person you put in the commercial can actually act.

Put up some fliers on the local college campus or at local churches and schools and hold auditions. You’d be surprised the response that you’ll get (especially for college students), even if you let them know that they’re only getting $100 for their time. If you settle for just anyone that’s close by, your audience will definitely notice and it will turn them off entirely to what you have to offer. If you can’t make the effort to find a decent actor for your commercial, why would your business provide a decent product/service?

DON’T Overwhelm the Airwaves
Pick one or two media outlets that reach the most people in your target demographic and stick to them. Don’t waste money advertising in every possible media type you can think of. If you’re not reaching the right market, then your ad will go unnoticed anyway.

In other words, if you’re advertising a special on a high school portraits package, don’t run the ad on every radio station in town. The local oldies and classic country stations will not bring in any clients, compared to the pop and rock stations. Pay more money to those stations so that your can run more often instead.

I highly recommend taking notes when you watching TV and the commercials come on. Jot down what annoys you and really has no appeal (so you can avoid those things) and what really gets your attention and seems to work. Dare to be different from the rest in order to be memorable. A prime example is the latest Starburst commercial for their new Berries and Cream product. Weird? Yes, very. But I always know what that commercial is associated with, and that’s the whole idea.

• Dumb Advertising Moves to Avoid

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By Michelle Cramer
Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018 @ 12:01 AM CDT

Marketing |