I have been in advertising and marketing for over ten years. I have been involved in and owned all types of traditional media focused businesses including classified publications, coupons, magazines, phone books and direct mail. With this experience in mind, I feel confident in being the first person to tell you traditional advertising is dead. If you are a small business still using the old methods there is a good chance your revenue has been decreasing over the years. and if you continue down this path you will be hammering the last nail in your bushiness’ coffin. Fear not, I will also be the first to tell you that advertising today is alive and well and more powerful than ever before. Change is a hard pill to swallow so take my hand and let me ease you into it.
Change Your Thinking
Stop thinking about what it’s gonna cost to slap your face on the side of a bus or how much you will have to pay to be in that local magazine. Start figuring out how much you can make off being in front of a customer ready to spend money. Instead think in terms of a hyper-local, qualified lead calling your phone rather than your competitions and how that will put money into your pocket. Change the way you think and you will start to grasp how old advertising is dead yet evolved advertising is still alive, well and working. Remember you’re in business to make money and be successful not stare at your logo on a billboard as your ego grows and your wallet shrinks.
Inbound marketing is being in front of a potential lead when they are actively looking for your product or service. In my opinion, inbound marketing is the strongest form of marketing providing you with the highest possible ROI. Years ago inbound marketing could be categorized in only a few main fields: the first being the phone book. If someone needed their windows tinted or a plumber the first place they would run to would be the phone book. Today inbound marketing looks much different. I don’t know a single person that does not have their phone more than a foot away from them at all times. If they need a service they are picking it up and searching simply right there. The platforms have changed to online directories such as Yelp, Angie’s List or Home Advisor. You also have old reliable AKA Google. Strategically placing your ad spend in this area will help you be in front of the digital age clientele. I am a firm believer that the best time to make a sale to your target market is to be in front of them when they are looking to buy.
Outbound marketing is the complete opposite of inbound, where inbound is using a sniper rifle to target your perfect client outbound is a shotgun blast approach. In the past outbound advertising could be as simple as putting an ad in a paper, shooting out a direct mail campaign, placing ads on TV and. even billboards. Today’s outbound marketing can be just as effective but a lot more targeted. Gary Vanyerchuck said it best, “90% of businesses are not advertising in the century they live in”. Instead of your direct mailer hitting the trash, using the sites at your disposal gives you the ability to put yourself in front of a potential client when they are giving their full attention. You can currently design a full billboard and promote it to an entire area that is a believer in your industry with Facebook and Instagram. You can develop a twitter following and tweet out your special to your current audience. You can be completely present without ever actually wasting money on paper or unused airspace.
Advertising can literally make or break a business. You are either going to get in front of your customer and have a flourishing ROI or you are going to continue to spend and create overheads that do not pay themselves back. You have a skill you have mastered in your industry. You have an entrepreneurial drive and the ability to succeed. Don’t let your business die because you don’t understand current marketing trends.