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What Kind of Advertiser Are You?
Passive - Passive/Aggressive - Aggressive 

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What Kind of Advertiser Are You?

Passive - Passive/Aggressive - Aggressive 

Business people look at advertising in many ways and take, or pass up, advertising for various reasons. Most of us know that the more aggressive the advertising/marketing campaign, if done right, the more customers and money comes in the door. As an example Roto-Rooter is an “Aggressive Advertiser” with radio, Internet, full page yellow page ads, and even some TV advertising, that has built a nationwide business out of their advertising and marketing.  From a marketing standpoint who doesn’t remember the Roto-Rooter jingle. “Roto-Rooter that’s the name…”  Did you finish the jingle in your head?  Their campaign was so good that I remembered it and am writing about it right now – and giving them FREE advertising. How much better can it get? From the standpoint of advertising and marketing, they did a job and a half. Ask a friend who they would call for a blocked drain or sewer line and see if they don’t sing the jingle out loud to you.

 Then there is the “Passive” mom and pop advertiser who doesn’t have a dream of becoming the largest drain cleaning company out there in the USA and who are not ready to start working that hard no matter how much the payoff on the other end. They are happy with a yellow page entry with just their name, address and phone number under the category “Drain Cleaning”. Mom and Pop feel that if someone has a drain problem they will pick up the phone book and give the Mom and Pop Cleaning Service a call, because everyone knows that the big guys charge more to pay for all that advertising. They also depend on Aunt Martha to tell her son to call Mom and Pop because they do a good job and they charge a fair price – “much better than those big guys.”  This is passive advertising and marketing in the form of “word of mouth”. 

 The third type of business advertiser is the “Passive/Aggressive” advertiser. This group is composed of most everyone who advertises or markets their business. They are passive on some advertising possibilities. They may just have a regular listing in the yellow pages to draw in a few customers because they are listed there. It cost practically nothing, so why not?

And when these advertisers have some extra cash on hand, they try various forms of advertising and marketing, hoping to make that extra cash work for them and bring in lots more paying customers. Once they find something that works for them they often keep doing it.  As an example, we have a local real estate agent who used her extra cash and  to buy billboard advertising. IT WORKED. She got lots of extra business from this expensive advertising method but who cared about the cost. It more than paid for itself. A dentist decided that taking out a full page on the back of the yellow pages might just work for him. It did, even with the price tag of $35,000 per year. Cosmetic dentistry isn’t cheap to begin with, and the expensive adverting brought in many new customers. Another local business person decided that the internet was the thing for her. It was new and innovative. She has a group of products that sold great at her shop and she decided to try and sell them over the Internet. Her gross went from $3,000 per month to around $45,000 per month within 6 months. And so the story goes.   

If you are a Passive Advertiser, you may just be at your advertising comfort level and, if it is working for you, great — keep it going.  But if you would like to pump up the business a notch without spending tons of money, keep reading.   

For the Passive/Aggressive advertisers and the Aggressive advertisers, let’s take a look at some possibilities that could get you more business in the door, a lot more business in the door, or really pump up your cash box. What is the next best step for you?  You know about the big forms of advertising of course: TV, Radio, Billboards (all very expensive), Newspaper, Yellow Pages, a website (far less pricy, but if you really want to make an impact it can cost a fortune too), flyers and classified ads, etc. (The latter can be far less expensive but often far less effective and might not portray your business the way you want it to be seen.)  

The Internet is still a very viable advertising and marketing medium and can be used in place of TV, radio, billboards, newspapers and paper yellow pages very successfully — if you know how to use it to get business to your door. This applies to those who have a website and those that don’t.  Here are the facts:   The number of people using the Internet is increasing. 71% of US adults use Internet.  76 % do research on the Internet before they buy something or request a service.  91% of Internet users use a local directory or search engine to find information or find a business according to the Pey Internet & and American Life Project. Now those are astounding figures and unless you are a totally Passive advertiser, you need to pay attention to them and start using them to your advantage.   

The big question becomes how can these people, (the 71% using the Internet), find you. The search engines have become too massive, too commercialized and it’s difficult to find anyone who is not willing to pay a premium to be on the 1st or 2nd results page of the search engine.  

It used to be easy in the old days (a few years back)  before we Googeled and Yahoo’d and millions of competitors came on board with their websites. You simply did a website and went to a directory or a search engine (your choice of hundreds) and got your website link from there for FREE. People looking found you.  

Not so any more. You can still do a website of course (you need to do it right though and it can be costly). If you do one and plan to compete on the regular Internet, plan on spending (at the very least) the amount you paid for the website – per year – for advertising it.  Commercialization has brought on hundreds, thousands, or even millions of competitors.  Those who want to be found are paying a premium to Google or Yahoo of as much as $3 and $4 every time someone clicks a link and goes to their website. Believe it or not, it is worth it for some businesses. The question is – is it worth it for you?

For most people the answer is simply NO! If your answer is NO, then how do you compete?  Many are now reevaluating their websites to see if they even want to keep them or are already switching back to other forms of advertising that they can at least understand and feel they are getting something out of without paying such a high price. 

So is the internet dead to most of us? Has it been hijacked by the Fortune 500? Should you junk your website and go back to newspaper ads? 

NO, because the “Good News” is this:

The Internet has commercialized and changed so drastically in the last few years other, more logical answers to Internet advertising have started coming back:  free or nearly free advertising, for instance. 

You can save big if you are a local company by using a local Internet directory. Because of the way the Internet is opening up with local directories you really don’t even really need a website to advertise anymore.  If you have it, keep it.  But you can do a full page full color ad or even advertise without a site.  

With Internet competition so fierce, and with so many advertisers to choose from, people using the Internet are getting a lot smarter. The users are starting to realize that if,  for instance,  they are looking for real estate in Sonoma California they need to search for not  for “Real Estate” which gives you  450,000 listing in the USA but  “Sonoma Real Estate”,  which gives you far fewer but more useful links. Also, rather than using the large search engines, people are starting to use Local Directories more often because they normally have what they are looking for and make it easy to find.   

Four directories in the San Francisco North Bay are doing an excellent job of providing this type of local directory service:  for Marin County, it is  www.maringcountyguide.com; for Sonoma, www.SonomasBest.com; in Napa County, it is  www.NapaYellowpages.com; and in  Solano, it’s www.SolanoCountyGuide.com.    They are a combination of interactive yellow pages, visitors guides,  information pages, and a lot more. More importantly,  they get the traffic to their sites from both locals and visitors. The major search engines send their users to these sites for local information as well as advertise on them. They are also very easy to use in their yellow page format.  

For people with or without websites,  these are the new Internet portals that will help you get the most for your internet advertising dollars. For one thing, advertising is still very cheap on these local directories.  You advertise almost like the paper yellow pages. You can get a free listing similar to the paper yellow pages in the alpha section of the pages. It only includes name, address and phone number. This is great for the very Passive advertiser and will get you some— but not a lot — of business. Like the paper yellow pages, you’ll get lost in the crowd, especially if there is a lot of competition or you happen to have a business name starting with “Z”.  But hey, what you can you expect for free?  Let’s face facts “Free and some customers” is good thing. Much better than most of the Internet right now.  

To get some real advertising going though, pay for a listing. It costs $9 per year for a city listing and $84 per year for all 4 North Bay counties. With a paid listing, you get up to 4 advertising copy lines, several phone numbers, a place for your business hours, and your company name, address and phone number. This works even if you don’t have a website. If you do have a site, your website is linked and email address is listed at no extra charge.  

For Passive/Aggressive and Aggressive advertisers, place a listing at the top of the page or take a banner ad on your category page. Here are your Billboard ads at fantastic price. The price on these range from $15 to around $30 per month. This is very inexpensive for what you get and a logical way to be seen on these pages!  Google and national advertisers often try to pre-empt a lot of these positions, but the directories are willing to give local advertiser top promo by replacing the national advertisers with local ones.  

For those without websites, the North Bay directories will even build a full page, full color ad for you for only $94 a year including your listing and hosting. Compare this to full page paper yellow page ads at $1200 per month.  You can link to your full page ad from anywhere on the Internet as well. So, if, for example, you are advertising your B & B to European travelers and want to get listed on a travel directory in Europe, you can link from the travel directory to your full page ad.  

Naturally, with the decline in revenue on the paper directories, the big yellow page people are now starting to move into the Internet end of the business, but their prices are as prohibitive on the Internet as they are on paper. Chances are these big directories won’t catch on unless advertisers just want to pitch their hard earned money out the window.  I would bet you won’t want to spend mindlessly without getting a decent return.  By patronizing the local directories you can tell the big guys what you think of their pricing structure. I recommend we all tell them no way are they going to gouge our pockets this time!   Go for the more reasonable local directories.

The Internet is back for all of us. So get out there and take advantage of it. Get found and get business to your door.    

Steve Howard
Wizard Marketing Internet Services

 

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