Don’t try and out-advertise the competition.
If you try and out advertise your competitors on all advertising mediums you are going to find yourself short on cash and fast. In the early years I thought the only way to survive was to out-market everyone else. The reality is, unless you are a Fortune 500 company with a huge cash surplus in your annual advertising coffer, trying to just saturate the market is a bad business plan. I thought the only way to increase my floor traffic quickly was to spend more money, in more places. I was wrong. I had to stop reacting impulsively and buying up page-killers every time I saw that “Mr. A. Business” was doing half-page newspaper ads every Sunday. I had to stop buying up radio airtime every time I heard “Ms. B. Business” all over the radio. I learned that small business can thrive by marketing smart, not big.
Always think frequency. Without it, your message will be lost and you will have wasted valuable capital. You never want to be “one and done.” To illustrate, draw a circle and divide it into 10 equal parts. Imagine that the circle represents 10 zones inside Fenway Park. We are competing hotdog vendors with 100 hotdogs to sell and we each have $100 for showing our advertising boards and it costs $10 to show a board in each zone. I show my board 10 times every inning to the same one zone. You show your advertising board in all 10 zones during the first inning. Who do you think will sell their 100 hotdogs first? I will in every game. This frequency principal is basic in the real world of retail marketing, but often not applied. I got the message, but unfortunately the light bulb didn’t go off until I had been in retail for many years. Don’t wait, apply it now.
Internet plus one.
A substantial portion of your monthly advertising needs to be internet driven. A sophisticated-looking website, someone to manage it, and an efficient SEO consultant are the key ingredients to increasing sales. On top of that, pick one other medium and do it right. Rather than spending money on a local newspaper, weekly publications and the like, I decided that I wanted to put a new dealership on the map and radio was going to put it there. I could have selected TV, but I am not sure that matters. I picked three to five different stations and peppered the airwaves. I consolidated my spots over a 2-week period. Frequency! There were a few times of the day that at least some of the ads had to run.
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