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What are the advantages of your service or product?
What will it do for me, a homeowner, in this current market?
What if I am looking to sell or rent my home?
Why is now a good time to think about purchasing flooring?
I understand that this may seem like it has nothing to do with "advertising that works" but it has everything to do with it. Answering questions like these with your advertising helps you overcome objections and to craft a better advertising message.
Before you invest money in direct mail, email and interactive advertising and radio, you need to have a relevant message to present to people, something that gives them a reason to consider getting flooring from you. No advertising will work if you are not saying the right things.
I'm sorry if this seems like I am not helping much but I am trying to help a lot. I really hope this helps.
Hi; I was in the flooring business for 25 + years and just got out earlier this year trying to change profession. I remember the slow down of the early 90's what i did was to pit manufacture;s who i had account with to offer me best price if i chose a few of their products to have exclusive pricing. Once in place which was 5 soft service products from Mohawk. I then hired 4 H.S. "girls' to call past customers and offered unheard of pricing on product it got me in door and of course there was hard surface opportunities also i offered shop at home convenience. It help but after I ran thru my old customer base 1 round i then called second time and offer 1 yr. s.a.c and got some more. I eventually went to cold calling and to cut this short I ended up increasing revenues over 30% while decreasing only 4% margin profit.
To expand on the posts above, most people don't hear/see an ad for a flooring company and then decide "Oh, wow, I need a new floor!" They decide they need a new floor first, and then (depending on how urgent that need is) either proactively or subconsciously match a flooring company's advertising message with their requirements (price, quality, selection, service, reliability, etc.). In other words, for your type of business, nobody really pays attention to the ads until they are at least somewhat serious about purchasing. So identifying a message that connects with the customer (as Iwrite suggested) is crucial.
As far as the medium you use to do that (TV, radio, print, web, cold calls), it's largely a matter of what you can afford to do with consistency and frequency -- because the people who need a new floor TODAY won't need a new floor next year (and if they do, they'll hire you on the basis of your previous work, not your advertising) -- and the people who will need a new floor NEXT YEAR are not even paying attention to your advertising today. So you have to create the right message, and then keep repeating it as much as you can afford to.
Welcome to the community and best wishes.
P.S. I think a big part of increasing your business is recognizing why the people who HAVE already decided that they need a new floor are still not getting one. Is it cost, financing, inconvenience . . .? golfheaven offers a good example of how to address those kinds of obstacles directly. Again, choosing a message and repeating it consistently is a key there, I think. Good luck.
I was wondering if you can't create a sense of need through a more informative message, highlighting the benefits of flooring. Either through direct mail or on the radio hitting on subjects like:
- If a person was thinking about buying a new house but with the current situation aren't sure, how can flooring help the present home feel new.
- How does flooring effect the price of a home?
- What are the health implications to having new flooring, less allergies and breathing related problems.
- The impact of pets on flooring, carpet.
- There was a story that stated people become used to the smell of their homes, not noticing that a home has a smell. How can new flooring help with that?
- What about if you were a smoker and have quit, but never changed your flooring.
- What are the advantages of thicker padding on floors as far as comfort and sound reduction? Is there any?
You could try getting with some real estate agents, give them a referal fee of course. A lot of people can't sell their homes now, maybe a new floor could help some of the looks of the houses. People buy houses based on looks a lot of the time, the wrong florring can change everything. I hope this helps.
Have you tried 4x6 direct mail postcards? These are very inexpensive to produce. Target a few zip codes that match the demographics of your typical customer and send these out. These are a great low cost way to attract new clients and are targeted to those who are more likely to buy your product.
If don't have one already, you'll need to get a list broker and also print the cards. Printplace.com is who we use.
Hope this helps.
Have you explored local cable and radio spots on home improvement shows? Depending on your location they can be very affordable.
Best of Luck
I tried this one I saw on other forum www.ontxt.net thing. They were into mobile advertising and wow men I've got lots of inquiries and sales too. By the way I'm selling fitness software and vitamins. It really worth your time and best of all it's cheap.
I have a friend that sells cable spots in the Houston market and it is VERY effective when combined with radio and web. Use Cable and Radio to direct people to your web site or print information to tell the rest of the story. With Cable and Radio you can better direct your advertising to your target when orchestrated properly. Cable and Radio can also capture passive, unintended clients.
Your audio and/or audio/video ad should be credible, attention-getting, memorable, clear and to the point to direct the audience to your web site. Your web site should be up to date, interesting, informative, be creative yet and SELL your products and services. Photos and all information on your web site should play up what you are trying to promote. Audio should be clear, fit the mood and theme of the subject and should be a signature that plants your seed in the listener's mind. It can be something as simple as a sound effect or a consistent musical theme. Your 'audio identity stamp' should make it's mark quickly and effectively.
Do you have previous customers that will let you use photos of work that you've done for them? If so, hire a professional photographer, possibly one who shoots real estate and is great with indoor lighting. They should know exactly what to do to help establish your pictoral credibility that will help you present your best efforts.
Best of luck to you!
I have managed many different types of accounts using Google Adwords.
It is a very cost effective method of advertising.
As you know, there is never a 100% guarantee that any ONE thing will work. You're right; referrals ARE gold! I used to own and operate a children's photography business, and after a while, I didn't need to advertise because my referrals were so great! I no longer do that business because it was exhausting and I had no life! Now I own an advertising business where we can make an ad for you for as little as $50/month ON THE INTERNET! You do NOT need a website; this will substitute for all the needless spending on a web site. You can upload photos, coupons, and even videos! I would upload a video of all the testimonials of your happy customers!! :) Also, your address, phone#, and a description of your business will be posted as well as driving directions! Please go to www.localadlink.com We push your business out onto over 100 search engines! This is geo-targeted advertising. In other words, only in the specific zip codes that you would like to target will your ad appear. Please let me know if I can be of any assistance to you.
I am very interested in your advertising. is there more info than just your link?
Try telemarketing, call me up for more details.
Callbox Sales and Marketing Solutions
You have been in the business long enough so your reputation is established.
The problem is reaching out to potential customers. All these strategies of email, telemarketing, fliers reach out to far more people than needed. the strange thing is that even then it may miss out on your potential customers. (This is called Type 2 Error)
The best way for you to reach out, as pointed out in another reply, is through real estate agents. Another way is to wake up early in the morning and slowly drive around town looking for old houses. (You could also go through council records)
Now that you have identified potential customer send in fliers, then telecallers, then a good looking woman or school boy or whatever. The basic point is that you have to reach out to the right customers.
Hello i start a new business and been doing some post over the web for 3 moths now.Pay to a advertising company to do some advertising for me but nothing is working .Why shoud i believe in locallink now? Please help to get the answer soon to my problem . My business is about travel, i have my own web page and is beutiful, but not traffic to it .What can i do about it i know traffic is important and advertising too but i dont know what elso to do, plaese help me . thank you . My web side is nettrav.com/drecio is booking travel engine portal take a look and tell me what do you think i shoud do to get more sales and customers there.
I think a key area being overlooked is word of mouth (WOM). How often do you make a purchasing decision or to at least check out a product/service based on a referral?
I'd suggest that almost all of us now use the web and, more importantly, reviews and comments to make decisions. If you've make a purchase in the last several months, you probably spent a significant time reviewing deciding on where to buy.
The same process holds true for services. The difference comes in the timing of the event. When purchasing new flooring, people tend to take time. The look at colors, they shop prices, they look at model homes, etc... I then think they make a purchase based on comfort/reputation, inventory, pricing and timing of installation.
The comfort/reputation is a big item. Flooring is fairly expensive, disruptive and somewhat permanent. People want to make a decison on the other factors, but don't want to make a mistake on the installation.
So, the biggest challenge is getting the opportunity to be considered as a possible provider. This means you need to capture their interest in the begining of the cycle.
If you have happy customers, you need to get them to talk about you. The spoken word is always best, but having an uncensored (by you) comments section on your web site, a forums area where people can openly talk, etc... are all very good. People want REAL input.
They don't want the corporate marketing mumbo-jumbo. Corporate marketing is just about getting the to pay attention. This means who can shout the loudest to get attention. Which is expensive, abrasive and the ROI is generally quite low.
Here's what I'd suggest:
1 - devise a plan to get noticed. These items should be your corner stone items (yellow pages, newspaper).
2 - devise a plan to drive awareness on specials. Special pricing events - these are generaly a campaign - short term activities (newspaper, radio, flyers)
3 - gain customer comments. When you install a project, mail to them a post card asking for feedback, phone call and ask for feed back, mail a post card with your website address and ask for comments, mail a referral card to them giving the customer a discount on their next project if they refer someone to them (the referee brings in a card from the orginal customer - you then mail the card back to the referral with a discount).
4 - get people to rank (1-5 stars) for the quality of the install, customer experience, value and post this to your site
5 - do a great job in servicing your clients.
Set up a twitter account and get people to follow you. When you have promotional offers, send out a tweet!
Bottom line for this is the value of WOM is key. WOM marketing can be spoken or written. The value to your prospective customers is in open and honest feedback from your past clients.
Don't filter comments. Be brave. Be honest. Be good. Your customers will reward you for it.
SweetKitty, I skimmed through your site.
Tahiti has more meaning to me than Secret Journey or whatever the heading was.
The rest of the images seem like any other good travel site.
On the right top you have used a flash image which changes, there are too many changes and with the prices given, a person would have to wait for the image to reappear.
Volunteer abroad and Work Study Travel abroad makes the site different. You can try promoting it through appropriate social networking communities. And you could have some goodlooking human beings not necessarily in bikinis and beach shorts on your page. Personally I like to see human beings on such pages.
You could promote areas to which Americans don't frequent but European's do e.g. Mombasa. You may get a small dedicated traffic for that.
Using the internet to build a social network is very important! Posting my site to forums and blogs takes a lot of time. So recently, I've been using Biz Ad Splash (www.bizadsplash.com) to advertise my crafting business. It's easy to use and can be effective for any business because it takes advantage of social networking. Using the site has allowed me to focus more on my actual business which is great! Best of luck!
Yes! I agree about Biz Ad Splash.com! It's been a real life saver in bringing traffic to my site!
The power of words to sell is truly amazing. Knowing how to use them is also essential for writing persuasive copy. When it comes down to it, the words you write are meant to drive your sales, not to win the Nobel Prize, so the words come from your knowledge of the consumer. The craft of copy writing is powerful and persuasive. Knowing that you can control your sales by using copy writing is a great start to amazing marketing. Writing powerful copy shapes the aspects of your customers' buying and their perception of your business. Perception is very important, but also being recognized as an entity that can solve problems is important as well. Buying is an emotional response, so motivation from external stimuli can make purchases more likely. The art of copy writing is fluid. I call it an art only because it is beautiful in the sense of its power to master the consumer. The guidance it provides to the buyer is both nurturing and commanding, like a mother bird urging her chicks from the nest. The guidance aspect of copy writing is its key component. It functions in two ways, as it streamlines the buying process, acting as a catalyst for progression towards a sale, while at the same time promoting action within itself, from the headline, to the body, to the call to action. Receiving the customer from the previous step and smoothly dropping them off at the next step, your words' grasp on the reader leads them to purchase your product.
Understanding the buying process is key to understanding the role your direct print marketing will play. Here are the steps in the buying process:
1. Seeing a need.
2. Looking for a solution.
3. Determining the value of a solution.
4. Making the decision to buy.
5. Making the purchase.
6. Evaluating the purchase.
To learn more about direct print marketing you should check out my site: http://MarketSleuth.com/. You should sign up for my FREE marketing newsletter if you want to learn how to drive your sales. I would highly recommend you check out our printing service reviews to get a better idea of how you will promote your business.
Good idea. I checked a site out today called entrepreneur.com and they have some information about 8 avenues of social networking that was very facinating!
Hope this might help.
Are you spending more than $100 a month on advertising? Is it getting you the results you want? Have you heard about LocalAdLink? They provide localized Internet advertising at a fraction of the cost of other forms of advertising including print, TV, radio and even other Internet advertising providers like Google AdWords, Pay Per Click and Yahoo. It is the answer to Internet advertising for small business owners because it gives them the ability to target specific zip codes where their customers live and work.
When potential customers in your targeted zip codes search on almost any of the over 140 search engines, including major provides like Yahoo, MSN, AOL and Google, your LocalAdlink advertisement will rotate through these search engine results. Your advertisement will also be seen on dedicated advertising space managed by LocalAdLink Search directory and served up to customers in your immediate area. That is an amazingly powerful tool that provides measurable results.
No web site is required for this service, saving small business owners even more money. Internet traffic can be seen in easy to understand reports. To learn more about LocalAdLink go to http://www.infoonlocaladlink.com/ .
Do you have a website? Have you tried online advertising? I'm in an online advertisement company where each account executive share in 50% of the total Page Impression revenue
that occurs each day and encompasses the sales force that sells Banner
Ads, eBooks, Full Page Classified and Yellow Page advertising to our
customer base worldwide. At the end of each day all sales are
calculated and 50% of the sales revenue for that day is paid to our AEs
who have participated in the required Viewing Incentive program for
that day. To maintain the integrity of the program this percentage is
capped at 8% per day to be paid to any one AE. If you would like more information you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can also check the site out for yourself it's free to join. The link is http://advglobal.com/join/?a=5928
Google internet advertising is by far the most effective advertising. Have us design your custom advertisement campaign www.bundledbusiness.com
Billboards work great for us, and they're more affordable than I originally thought. We're on an "as-available" basis. They call me the last day of the month and offer three locations that have not been sold. I usually choose one with a daily car count of 200,000 or more. Pick and easy-to-remember domain name or phone number, and just put that on the billboard. For example, if you owned the domain name 'HardwoodFloors.com', you could put only that name an inset a photo of a hardwood floor, and customers could find you easily.
I've tried radio, print, and TV. Nothing works as well as a billboard. There were 3 channels on TV when I was growing up. A commercial had a 33% chance of being seen. Today there are 300 channels. Unless you can afford a spot on American Idol, forget it.
The vinyl sign is reusable. We move our billboard different areas around our city. For 30 days, many of the same people drive their cars past our sign. It's making a lasting impression. People are coming into our store, saying, "I saw your sign."
For a business like yours, direct mail probably works best but it is expensive. If you can identify neighborhoods where the bulk of your business comes from, creating a campaign and mailing into those neighborhoods could yield good results. What is you average purchase? The bigger the average purchase the more you can afford to invest in lead generation. Also if you do not have a website and a google business listing you are missing out on a excellet source of leads.
In this economy, people want to work with someone they trust and KNOW can get the job done. Referrals are the most powerful way of getting new customers, because most of the work is already done for you. My advice to you is that you are squeezing out as many referrals as possible.
My company is mostly referral based because I don't have a big advertising budget to create large scale marketing campaigns. I find that the best way to get referrals is to exceed my customers' expectations so that each has a positive story they can tell. I use a CRM application called Chili Sales to track all my clients' preferences and make sure I develop a positive relationshipwith all my customers. I can find out who my most satisfied customers are and use that relationship to bring in new clients. Any small business looking for a reliable growth strategy should make gaining more referrals their top strategy. If you make your customers feel valued and satisifed and they'll be your best form of marketing in return. The CRM I use can be found at www.chilisales.com. Defintely take a look.
I don't know if you have heard of Tomas Bata. He was a Czech who during the Great Depression did not lay off a single employee. (He owned a multinational shoe company).
He did this by cutting costs in those days, including deferred payments to workers.
In this economy it is not only a matter of getting more business, but making the most of what you get.
If you are able to cut costs customers are going to be really happy. (There may or may not be a quality trade off) Also this may take your competition by surprise.
This may require hardwork in terms of checking out low cost suppliers and determining their reliability and a whole lot of reworking of basics.
I successfully ran a hardwood floor company for eleven years back in the 80s until the Loma Prieta Earthquake and subsequent recession essentially put us out of business.
You have already received a lot of great advice. After the contruction business, I went on to earn an MBA degree with an emphasis in marketing. My thoughts may be academic but are intended to provide additional help. The first thing I would do is draft a marketing plan that contains sufficient detail so that it can be actionable. Marketing in the 21st Century is far more
complicated than it was five or ten years ago. Marketing today consists of
creating, promoting and delivering goods and services to consumers and
businesses. You might want to consider marketing your goods, services, experiences, events, key people on your team, places you've installed top-quality flooring products, organizations you've worked with in the past, information about flooring, and other ideas. You will want to consider what approach may
be most effective insofar as cost vs. benefit is concerned.
When I ran my hardwood floor company, I reached out to architects, interior decorators, the local building exchanges, the general and subcontractor associations and so forth. I made it a point to learn everything I could about construction activities in my state. I tracked down government projects, tennant improvements, new housing developments, as well as public works projects. I advertised in high-end magazines, and pursued co-op advertising with leading manufacturers and vendors of hardwood flooring products. Today, with the Internet, I would think it important to connect with people who are actively looking for new flooring ideas and products. I would market my website with search engine optimization and use leading-edge tools that create onsite conversions. The bottom-line is having a reasonable budget to work with. No matter what that is, you can effectively promote your services using tools that deliver value and ROI.
I hope that helps.
Jesse L Lee
Emphasis Innovation Co.
"Strategy is Everything"
There has been advise to you on erecting a website. This may be an overspecification of your needs.
You could start a blogspot and use it as an information centre regarding your work.It will be less time consuming than a website and less expensive.
Before handing out brochures and pics of your work you could direct customers there, I am sure you have to educate customers when you meet them, articles on the blogspot could do that.
The suggestion to blog is excellent and certainly can be a key element of your marketing mix. To achieve the highest levels of success my advice is to draft a plan. Without one, every marketing tool will take somewhere. But, it may not be precisely where you want to go. What are your goals? What is your budget? What are your expectations? What are your timelines? All of these questions and more can be contemplated in your plan. The bottom-line is to identify important customer touch-points that will deliver the most visibility to favorably promote your products and services.
Jesse L Lee
Emphasis Innovation Co.
"Strategy is Everything"
I think that advertising thats based on a educational based marketing campaign will get you more customers then hanging a banner on some website.
In order to break 'the walls' between you and your potential clients/customers - you must supply them with enough information. Everyone is holding back on taking out the credit card today. People will only take it out - if they have enough information about a product or service that will convince them to use.
P.S. We recently launched our "Super Website Marketing Handbook" - which explains how to market your information on the web: http://www.iyazam.com/our-book.html
There are no easy answers....all are quite expensive and the results are many times questionable. The chamber of commerce is getting weaker and weaker by the day, so it is tough. I believe it is a combination of combination of media, also include some business networks in your plan. We have one that is about to go nationally via TV and Radio, for about a $1 a day. We not only help with advertising but a whole packages of benefits that the savings are so much greater than the cost. I just want you to know that the yellowpages and direct mail are becoming a thing of the past and if you watch the news....;newspapers are falling off on a daily basis. When you decide to get more online presence, do your homework, because many search engines charge a per-click fee. I do invite you to check us out and we can develop a website and get it on the for free with a membership of 35 a month, and 10 more after the first year.....You have nothing to loose, plus discounts on over 100 national companies from shell oil, staples etc. check out my profile and see our site at www.gowithabc.com or email me at email@example.com for any questions. If you are convinced that we may help use promo code Tre100 to get you a premium membership for the first year for free 120 value
Advertising online is fantastic during these hard economic times because it is so affordable in comparision to other methods of advertising. I've been promoting my art work and paintings online for a while now with www.bizadsplash.com. It's been a great help in exposing my site to thousands daily and it will promote any form of business that you are looking to get out there. Definitely look into Biz Ad Splash.
I see you have gotten Many GREAT responses!
After reading your post and the great ideas that have been mentioned here, a couple of quick thoughts came to mind!
You are absolutely right - In times like today, getting new business is harder than ever before, but it's not impossible. It's time to think out side the box. Some great suggestions have already been given, but here are couple of my thoughts:
• Try aligning yourself with others in related professions - Join your local Carpenters Associations, work with other General Contractors (and refer business back and forth). Also, call up and work with Mortgage Brokers who help their borrowers get the FHA 203 (k) loan, which a loan to help home buyers fix up homes.
• There is NO Magic Sales Pill - I've said this in other posts, and I'll keep saying. The key to increasing sales is perseverance. Sales is a numbers game. The more estimates your write, the more potential clients you contact, the better the chance of getting a sale!
• Know your Budget - I saw some people mention things such as TV and Radio; personally, I don't think that small to mid-size business should use those two mediums as their core marketing medium. They can get extremely costly, and quite often you are marketing to a population you may not serve! Focus on advertising in the Newspaper (in the Real estate or Homes section). Really focus your marketing to the demographic you are trying to reach. Consider taking part in local home shows or builder shows. Again, the key is to zero in on your target customer.
With all that said, Ask yourself the following question, "Who is my target customer?" From there your think about where they work, what they watch, what they read, how much they make, what are their reason for purchasing a new floor, how can a new floor help them, and why should they use you?? UNDERSTAND YOUR CUSTOMER!
Hope this helps a little!
P.S. I am the owner of the Pirani Marketing Group, Inc. (www.piranimg.com) We work with small to mid-size business to help the create a marketing strategy, implement the plan, and analyze the results. If I could be of any more assistance, please do not hesitate to email me at info
Best book on print advertising ever written is eBook by a guy who ran a small NY agency in the 90's...his site has book every business owner should read and USE: www.davidfowlerads.com
Hey Innovative, I understand your plight with the wave of marketing changes happening. I used to be a mortgage broker with a marketing and IT background(EarthLink). When the market dropped this year, 2009, I opened my own web marketing consulting firm.
Now, I will tell you that statistically, most print media is no longer as effective. IE. yellow pages, newspaper, direct mail. I consult clients all the time who no longer get a good return on there marketing dollars. One particular client, was spending over $1,000 a month on yellow pages advertising with 1-2 clients a month contacting them through that marketing channel.
Poor ROM - Return On Marketing
ORGANIC SEARCH ENGINE MARKETING
I'll make this basic suggestion for you specifically, upgrade your website with "organic" search engine optimization so that "flooring company (your city)" is on the site at least 3-5 times, etc. A professional seo consultant can help you with this. For a local flooring company you should expect to pay about $1500-$7500.
PAY PER CLICK AD CAMPAIGN
Once you've upgraded your site, then look into "Pay Per Click" advertising on Google AdWords. No, I don't work for them.
Create an AdWords account and pick 5-10 "flooring" related keywords you want the ad to show for and then set a monthly budget. You can see how much each keyword click will cost you here:https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal. The tool is free.
Also, make sure to limit it Geographically in your town or city. Otherwise, you'll be advertising nationwide wasting money.
Your pay-per-click ad campaign can be as low as $200-300 per month on upwards. You can set it to whatever budget cap you want so ads will stop running once your budget is reached or you can pause a campaign anytime.
All of the clients I consult with who are adjusting to the new marketplace have found this type of web marketing campaign successful.
GOOD Pay-Per-Click INFORMATION: The reason you want to upgrade the content on your site first is that Google will charge you less per click when the "landing page", your website, you send customers to, is more relevant or of higher quality regarding flooring.
NO FLASH - Don't use flash to make your websites. Search Engines can't read the words in flash. You can use a small flash banner for flavor, but keep it small.
Hope it helps.
Hi, we offer a new service that approaches a certain nich of the market for small businesses to advertise to. These days you also have to have an attractive pitch and feel to your adverts. Our company offers mailing list that are comprised of new movers. Remember it is all about numbers. But we capture them in a certain area. New movers spend more in 6 months then the average consumer. Why? because they are starting their new lives and need all new services. Also you beat your competitors to the bunch. Reaching them first means keeping them longer. You need to really approach people with how your service will benifit their lives. Now matter how you reach them. It is what you reach them with. So don't give up. Redesign your image and what you are really offering. It you need help contact me : firstname.lastname@example.org. check out my profile.
The most cost effective way to get new clients, is Search Engine Optimization.
all printed advertising is useless, you will probably only cover your ads costs. my suggestion, move to online advertising. Search Engine Optimization.
you will see better results. and you will be exposed to bigger population.
fill this for free website and seo quote.
I've been involved in marketing and advertising for over 30 years, working for some of the leading advertising agencies in America. One of the most effective and least costly advertising methods I've ever used is info marketing. Essentially it involves distributing valuable information for free as a way to promote businesses and create a loyal customer base.
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I do the same for my clients. As you'll see, a doubling of sales is not uncommon.
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Good luck and good selling,
Advertising generally does not work. Therein lies one of the biggest root casuses of our recession. General Motors and associated dealers have spent more money than any other company, only to slowly fail over the past 60 years. One of the problems is an almost universal disconnect between those that produce the advertising and those that sell the product. Distant deadlines, misprints, misplacement and misunderstandings are very common. Ads actually cheapen a product, and that may be why you don't see ad campaigns for Nordstrom's, but you do for discount retailers willing to pay a dollar a hollar. The effect is that it cheapens the media and therefore the value of the associated ads. And remember that no one ever dropped out of advertising school to become a doctor, but there are many that drop out of medical school and almost every other major to get into advertising. If advertising really works, then let's buy it all. Let's spend the entire stimulus plan on it. Unfortunately there is no way to accuraely measure the value or lack thereof in advertising. The old adage from every expert in the field that only half the advertising works and you'll never figure out which half, is now outdated. Anything that doesn't work even part of the time is not working at all. Would you hire new employees if you knew that only half of them were willing to work? Today it seems that no advertising really works because at no time in history has both the media and the advertising field been so completely fragmented and out of the loop. Today if you study (as I have) what happens to a business when they run a huge ad campaign, you will see an inverse sales, traffic and product reaction.
Of course everything is advertising...from the employee spouses to the doormat in front of your business, but let's focus on the real subject at hand. Advertising is at best much less valuable than it has ever been before, especially with all the free alternatives today. Inherently the ad industry only goes after the under 34 crowd (just look at any ratings survey) and that is the group that never picks up a paper and never listens to the radio and bypasses all the commercials on TV. Companies that are the most successful today have figured out a way to buy little or nothing in traditional advertising and to get free advertising by way of press releases, the internet, cross promotions, special events, etc. Advertising people have been trained to handle objections by their clients, but the smart clients aren't buying them. In most cases ads make customers very unhappy. The bait and switch techniques used by car companies and now even department stores make shoppers mad. For example if a clothing store buys an 8,000 dollar full page ad in a medium market newspaper to advertise a dress that is on sale and that they don't have (you'd be very surprised at how often this happens due to deadlines and delays or whatever the reason) the clothing store chain will defend that as still nothing to worry about since they can bait and switch. In reality, based on my observations, research and whistle-blowing, the sales clerks never even have anyone ask for the dress (or the shoes) that were advertised and the top management just laughs or says someone else made a mistake. This really does happen and it happens on a continuing basis with no real accountability, since at least 100 people have their hands on any given ad at different times. That's part of the problem. They seem not to care or to know who to blame. Yet if that much money is lost in some other way, management and ownership get very involved in bringing it to a stop. The advertising arm, the agencies and the media would only point fingers anyway and it seems there isn't anyone willing to deal with them responsibly.
Just a couple of minutes ago my friend came in from a trip to Talbot's (a high line ladies clothing store) and mentioned she had noticed the ads in the national catalog that promoted a wide range of exercise wear and was told by the store manager that they never got anything the national catalog advertised until several weeks at best after the circular is mailed out. There are those who would say this kind of advertisement at least gets people in the store and that bait and switch will make up for the loss. That isn't true. My friend left and vowed not to return. So advertising doesn't even work when it works. Ask anyone in advertising who their market is (unless you are after the older crowd) and they will tell you the young market under 34 and secondarily those under 49 and then 54. That's one of many major inherent problems with the business, and has been for many decades.
Now, as far as floor covering and what you should use to advertise...just beware of costs. Some things are free and much more effective than the things you buy. Explore press releases (newspapers will run anything you type up), trade outs (even with neighboring businesses, but be very limited in how much and what you trade, leaving always delivery cost or other ways to still make money), co-op and cross promotions or piggy-back promotions, have a great sign out front, utilize free search listings with the internet, and carefully explore other low cost advertising.
Good luck. You can afford to make a few mistakes when you aren't paying for them. Remember that even in a perfect world and in a perfect economy and when broadcasting and newspapers were king, no more than half of the advertising ever worked anyway.
There's a lot of intelligent truth in what this poster says. But it's not really advertising that doesn't work. It's ineffective advertising that doesn't work. And these days we're seeing a lot more ineffective advertising for many of the reasons the poster suggests.
The solution is, as always, to understand your market. To know who your potential customers really are and what they really want. Focus groups used by most advertising agencies are of limited value. As a former Senior Copywriter for a large agency, I've sat in on and read reports from countless focus groups. Although they cost the clients a fair piece of change, they can't get at the heart of the issue.
Most good agency Creatives rely much more on their own personal research and gut instincts. In advertising, it's the talent for having accurate gut instincts (or customer empathy) that really creates the successful campaigns. Most of the expensive research is just window dressing. And something for the Account Execs to do. Clients are paying for the talent and gut instincts of one or two people.
It's always been about art (plus the smoke and mirrors of agency pitches), not science.
With the web, this has changed. Now it's relatively easy to see (at least on the web) what works and what doesn't work. How long do visitors stay on your site, on each page? What's the bounce rate? Is the sales funnel working? What percentage are soft conversions (actions leading to a sale)? And what percentage are hard conversions (actual sales)?
Now we have those answers. Instantly. And we also know that a change of a single word or color can sometimes double response rates and sales. We can test every part of our marketing and our offers. And we can continue to tweak every element until we get the results we want.
When I wrote and directed television spots, it was all about the flash, excitment, glamour and entertainment value. Don't get me wrong, it was fun and paid very, very well.
But what was always missing was hard, verifiable results.
Now, with the web, we have those hard, verifiable results. It's a whole new world. I think most clients are only just waking up to this fact. I don't know if agencies are even onboard with this yet. And I'd have to say most web designers aren't either. That's why so many are becoming our clients after we re-write and re-design their clients' websites.
The work I do for my clients today is very different from what I did at the agencies. Now it's more like a continuous conversation with their potential customers. And I write as if it were an intimate conversation. Then I listen. Very closely. The web analytics tell me how the conversation is going. I have very good gut instincts and do a great deal of my own upfront research before I start every marketing job. So I'm usually not too far off. It's quite easy for me to re-write or re-design a client's website and double or triple the results. Often I get even better results. If you're interested, you can see some of those results on my website in the client success stories section.
But the web analystics tell me where I can improve the results even more. I test each of the key pages. And revise and tweak until the results are the absolute best I believe they can be. Of course my clients are blown away. They've just doubled or tripled their profits. And then I increase the results even more.
I'm no magician. It's really just the ability to ask the potential customer who they are and what they want. And then give it to them. Because so few companies do this today, it's very easy to dramatically increase results.
And of course this needs to change continuously as the market and prospects' needs change. But that's what the web is so good at - change.
It never was rocket science. But now it's finally becoming a science. Test and verify. Test and verify. That and a little bit of gut instinct can take you far today.
If you're interested in seeing some of the outstanding results I get for my clients (like an 800% increase in sales from a re-written sales page or number one positions in Google), check out my website. There's a ton of free marketing information there too.
Take it from a former ad guy, we're in a whole new world of marketing today.
We don't just create websites.
We create results.
There are good posts here trying to answer the question. I suggest that you target the ads (low cost ones) and try mutiple forms of ads and keep it frequent. You are bound to get the results.
One thing I can't help but notice on this site is that while there are a few people talking about finding advertising for a business they no longer have or otherwise talking about the past by bringing up past experiences that are no longer relevant. As stated in a previous post the head of the Association of National Advertisers has gone on record to express extreme dismay and dissappointment in the advertising world and he points to the lack of creativity in his field. That creativity level continues to drop as the money goes and as the business picks up the least qualified college graduates. Students that have the best grades are moving forward to other much more lucrative fields and the power and prowess of advertising further erodes.
According to the Center for Literacy in the Media (yes, we are at the point where we need them) we are at a point now that advertisers should have seen coming long ago and should have adapted. It now appears that the advertising industry is a debacle that is killing itself.
Advertising is much less powerful than advertisers and critics of advertising claim, and advertising agencies are stabbing in the dark much more than they are practicing precision microsurgery on the public ccnsciousness. Advertising agencies would often have you believe that their expertise is not in creativity, but in getting airtime for less and using their profound knowledge to help place the advertising strategically. They fail at that. And they've been failing at it for generations.
One of the more striking examples concerns television advertising for the 1984 Olympics and the 1985 Superbowl. The naïve observer must assume that businesses reap extraordinary rewards for their elaborate and expensive sponsorship of these events. But, it turns out, no one really knows if they do. Video Storyboard Tests, Inc., a market-research firm, found that Olympics advertising was not cost-effective. Leading Olympics advertisers paid $62 for every 1,000 retained impressions" (consumers who report that they remember an ad or have retained impressions" of the ad) compared to the $27 they normally spend for the same result through other media such as magazines. As for the Super-bowl, some firms were pleased to advertise. Soloflex, a mail-order exercise firm, advertised because, as the firm's president put it, "Look, it's the Superbowl
Advertising ~on the gamegives the company more credibility; it's a statement that we have arrived." In actuality, the most commonly held beliefs about advertising, including its ability to influence sales by causing consumers to think a certain way about a product, are open to question. And those questions are now much more important than they were just a few years ago. Isn't it better to do what is best based on some amount of data-supported evidence, instead of impulse stupidity that is based on nothing but a sixth grade mentality.
It does seem that while advertising doesnn't often help very much, that they are these very indirect claims that some people believe in enough that they can't accept the facts. When advertising fails miserably, some companies are in denial...even to the point that the business is on the hope system. In this way only, it may be that advertisements indirectly affect consumer buying decisions because the companies politics have been built around a false system. Still the whole thing is a house of cards built fraud by the ad industry.
If business people think ads affect consumers directly, their belief serves as a spur to an advertising program. Yes, sometimes ignorance is bliss. A marketing executive at a major food company told me, for example, that he thinks most of the money spent by his own company on advertising does little good in convincing consumers of anything. However, he has failed in efforts to limit the advertising budget. Why? When the company executives make presentations before meetings of their stockholders or others in the investment community, the first thing investors want to see is a reel of the company's television advertisements. Expensive, well-executed, and familiar ads convince the investors, as nothing in the black and white tables of assets and debits can, that the company is important and prosperous. This, naturally, can have major consequences for the firm. If investment in advertising keeps the firm's investors happy, the company can count on a flow of capital for its operations. In this way, the investors' belief that advertising is an index of a prosperous company helps make the company prosperous.
The question we need to ask is not whether advertising works but under what conditions it works. Ii should not be forgotten that numerous sources of information influence consumers' decisions to buy. The business world is a big wobbly ball that is affected by so many things that any one person or advertising campaign can accurately see a result. In this way it is very much like our economy. It is our economy. Also the problem is compounded as the consumer gets smarter and more immune from the lies we see every day in advertising. In the best of times, even when our economy was young and people started making the transition from the farm to a new consumer driven worlds, advertising was still just one one of many influences on consumer decisions. This changes completely in certain circumstances, however. The lower class is the most vulnerable to advertising.
Hyundai tells us that their cars make sense, Apple Computer offers us the power to be our best, and most of us don't believe a word of it. The fact is, when all is said and done, most people don't believe, don't remember, don't even notice, most advertising. This has always been so and always will be so. The vast majority of advertising is ineffective and inefficient.
Greater awareness of advertising's role in your life can help make you a conscious, instead of an automatic, consumer: For the advertising industry, along with the main body of industrial society, is struggling for survival. It may be drowning, but it has not yet sunk. And in a last-ditch effort to save itself, it will flail about more wildly and make more noise than ever, as we might expect from any drowning individual.
Remove those labels, tags and other symbols from your jeans and steer clear of T-shirt advertising, "alligator" shirts and clothing with designer logos. Why should you be an unpaid billboard?
Keep your counter clear of brand names.
Whenever possible, transfer liquid soaps, cereals, cookies, nuts, juices and the like from their brand-identified store-bought containers into plain, general-purpose jars and cannisters. Or remove brand I.D. labels from store containers (but make sure the product is still clearly identifiable).
Take the road less traveled.
Avoiding main highways and using local streets can help you sidestep the major arteries and commercial avenues in your locale. This will go a long way towards reducing your exposure to outdoor advertising and may even help you get to know your town or city a little better.
Reduce or eliminate junk mail.
Department stores and local merchants will stop sending you flyers and other advertising if you ask them to. Many local direct-mail associations will also serve as clearinghouses for a request to eliminate junk mail. Check your phone directory for local listings or write to the national organization, Junk Mail Busters, Ste. 5038, 4 Embarcadero Center, San Francisco, CA 94111.
Divest your possessions of brand names.
Applicances, stereo components, computers, TV sets, tele-phones, sometimes even furniture almost all display prominent logos, but you don't have to live with them. Often you can cover them with tape or water-soluble colors, unscrew them or peel them away without damaging the item. (When resale value and slight damage are not concerns, you can obliterate them.)
Keep your branded items hidden.
Store toothpastes in the medicine cabinet, detergents out of sight and return everyday foods or other frequently-used items that can't be transferred to alternate containers to cabinets immediately after use.
sirvonron...thanks for taking the time to write all this,
you are so right yet at times we all get fustrated into
thinking a newspaper ad would be the better way to
go...your right it is not. Thanks!
The problems isn't just with newspapers, which are still getting an impressive share of the ad budgets, and those budgets are being diminished. The company I mentioned that had problems with newspaper advertising has also had even greater problems with internet advertising, although this huge chain operation is one of the most successful overall in the industry. At one point, during which time they added newspaper advertising, they all but had to all but temporarily abandon internet advertising due to a number of reasons including a lack of response.
Internet advertising doesn't really change anything. It's just another delivery system that brings further fragmentation and is somewhat less glamorous and fun for the client, but with the same old tired people from television and other wings of the business.
One of my clients is in a simililar industry, granite countertops, and we have helped him acheive over $450,000 in new business in just over 1 quarter! I'm not sure if your price point is near his, but the average job is around $3500.
company offers first page Google rankings for any amount of keywords relating to
your industry, search engine marketing, and social media marketing. The
combination of these three areas of internet marketing have proven success with
ALL of my other clients, and we have a 100% retention rate. My website is
currently being reconstructed, but I’d be happy to either talk with you or email
you some case studies and explain exactly what we do and how we achieve
Hi, You need to understand the behaviour
of your customers. Apart from referrals, how they came to know about your business ?
- Google Search - Concentrate on SEO & use Google adwords to increase sales.
- Social networking sites - Create a Facebook page, Twitter account etc & connect with influencers.
- News paper ads - Allocate more budget for new paper classified ads
- Yellow pages - Get listed in all the Yellow Pages.
Have to ask what state and city are you in?
I was in the Hurricane Shutters business for a long time in Florida. I have to say i tried all type of advertizing News papers, Mag, Radio you name it. after years of experience in the Marketing Biz i have to say your marketing tactics depend on many factors. E.I. in the shutter business the only thing that worked for me was the Home Trade Show. one space was about $2,000.00 so will take 2 (4K) but will re-gain all of it back with 5 clients. this show is like the auto shows but for house remodeling... (it worked)
Now I've been in the Income Tax Preparation Biz and the advertizing is totally different...
Long story shot see if you have a home show near you, People love those events...
Go buy the book guerilla marketing! it is the best thing for getting your thoughts out of the box. I worked as an account manager for a major and used it there and know that I have my own business I am sing it again. Good luck
I have a small advertising business and would recommend very targeted direct mail promotions and email marketing. I publish information on how to do this from time to time in my email campaigns at www.DirectMailFormula.com sign up.
I would recommend getting in touch with a genuine Internet Marketing expert. The problem is that many claim to have expertise in getting customers from the internet, but are clueless about how to promote your business effectively. Think about how the average consumer looks for goods and services these days - it is almost always on their computer or internet capable cell phone. The number of daily online searches is staggering - and online searching is growing rapidly every year.
The problem is that potential new prospects aren't searching for "Your Business Name Here" - they are searching for literally hundereds, maybe thousands of related flooring words, and there are only 10 ad spots and 10 Google chosen websites on each search result page. One of the best ways to get in front of those customers is by opening a Google Adwords Account and creating ads like those ones we all see on the right hand side of a Google search results page.
If your business was in Austin TX - you would want to advertise on search terms like "hardwood flooring in Austin TX" or "flooring company in Austin TX" and "Austin TX laminate floor supplier" and even terms like "oak hardwood floors" and "stainmaster carpet dealer" (you do have to check with your brand name suppliers to make sure you can advertise with their trademarked names).
When you have created a long list of "search terms" that people would logically type in to find the service or product that you offer, you will be amazed at the massive number of people you can drive to your site. This technique works incredibly well - one of the added benefits is that often times, your competitors are not using this form of advertising, so it is usually easy to secure an ad position that is near the top of the page where all of the clicks happen (depending on your particular type of business) You will only pay when someone clicks on your ad, which is way better than spending thousands for print ads that often are only seen by a small percentage of the people who you paid to advertise to. Every time your ad is viewed and clicked, you are reaching a pre-qualified potential customer who is SEEKING YOU out! These are the prospects you want, people with their phone in one hand and their wallet in the other.
Ok, I just get a little excited about this topic, I spent years as an "Afilliate Marketer" which is basically a large group of internet experts who are all fighting for the same small page of Google search results for over-promoted things like "how to lose weight" and "insurance quotes." Now I train business owners how to get customers into their brick and mortar businesses and the exciting part is that it is way easier to get cheap click prices for terms like "Hardwood Flooring Supplier in Austin, TX" (around .25 cents a click) versus terms like "insurance quotes" (around $20.00 per click!!!!)
Anyway, I hope this posting is useful to at least a few business owners who are having dificulty getting internet traffic. I have moved away from afilliate marketing and now train business owners how to promote.
You can get a free DVD and a free trial membership from www.businesstrafficsecrets.com if you are interested in more ways to pump up your web and business traffic.
To your success,
You know what works, but you probably think you can afford it. Local Television advertising is the key.
Many small and medium sized business do not think they can afford television advertising and resort to mediums that are simply not as effective such as direct mail, radio, or newspaper advertising. Tonangi Media (http://www.tonangi.com) is able to keep costs low by constantly negotiating with our local and national partners to provide targeted and cost effective advertising both on television as well as the internet. If cost is the biggest worry then think how much you spend on all your marketing mediums in the past. With a budget of less then $6,000 you can reach 1/2 a million people - and target them based on gender, income, and geographical location. Think about how much money you have literally wasted with other mediums. These methods may be cheaper but if they don't bring in customers is it really cost effective or is it a waste? We have customers that spend as little as $2,000 a month and customers that spend well over $25,000 a month. You decide your budget and Tonangi Media can help you meet your goals.
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I own a flooring company and have been in business for five years. In that time I have tried a few different advertising mediums i.e.. the YellowPages, local community magazines, and a neighborhood welcoming service. None of them have delivered results-most of my business is from referrals-which are gold- and repeat customers. But, in this economy, I need to be able to reach more customers. I would like to get feedback from other small business owners about how they advertise and what is working for them. Any advice would be appreciated!