Top Ten Mistakes In Advertising #6 – Think Big, Start Small, Move Fast

Today we are up to article number six in our series of ten.  We’ve covered a lot of ground so far, and thanks very much for staying with me through this. These are very intertwined tips and observations. As you’ve already seen, there is some crossover from one tip to another. They all stand on their own but they are all powerful connections not the least of which is today’s tip Number Six.

For many small to medium-sized advertisers who perhaps don’t have the resources to have a marketing or media person on staff, they are often at the mercy of every salesperson. Whoever comes in, proposing to sell them advertising. That’s space, or time or presence in any newspaper, radio, magazine, online, or out of home opportunity.  That can be quite daunting and quite intimidating. You’d like to believe that these people are professionals. This is their livelihood. It’s what they do. Certainly they would not steer me wrong. Certainly, not intentionally- would they? So why don’t I just keep endorsing them and writing a check every month for X number of dollars that we may or may not have, and hope that they will be able to direct some business my way.

By now you’ve seen what happens when that happens. Perhaps you experienced this first hand when that strategy is undertaken and two or three months later you may find yourself with absolutely no sales.  What happened?  We spent five, ten, twenty, thirty, fifty thousand dollars with you and nothing to show for it. A not unfamiliar response is along the lines of….…well you just have to keep marketing, and you just have to keep your media out there keep the name going and keep your profile up there.

While there’s a certain grain of truth in that, you should be able to determine pretty quickly if your ads are working. That’s why we suggested right at the outset to test the ads.  Code them, identify them and if they’re working you will see those results very quickly, and  you can adjust accordingly.

If you don’t give your ads a response mechanism, how are you ever going to know what’s triggering the cash register. You will certainly know what’s not. If nobody’s coming in, if the ads aren’t working that’s a good clue. But if there is some activity, fantastic!  Celebrate and if you’ve got enough, open some champagne.

Now, extract all the learning you can from that ad. Find out what it is about the ad, the message, where it was placed, what was said, when it ran. Find out everything you can about what brought  in that response. What delivered that customer, client, sale, so that you can do it again. And you can do it again on a bigger, grander, longer scale. 

The sales reps that I’ve met through the years as I’ve mentioned earlier are, in the majority, very nice people. I have some wonderful relationships with many of them. Some of them going back decades and that’s fantastic. They have always been very helpful and proven themselves to me as reliable, in helping me do my job to help our client(s) achieve their goals. Remember too that as salespeople, their intent is to separate you from your money as regularly as possible and not necessarily have to prove that their media is working. They sign you up for as many ads as they can, as fast as they can, and convince you that theirs is the best place for your sales message to be. 

Please don’t be so quick to sign that cheque and here’s how you fix this. 

Before you commit to a campaign of any length or substance, try it out on a small scale. If your ad has the right appeal, provides the solution, gives a call to action, then you should see the results quickly. You should not have to be out there months on end waiting for someone to initiate trial and try your product or service. This is where testing and coding and tracking ads pays for itself in spades. If the magazine or the website, the TV spot, the radio commercial isn’t triggering responses then it’s time to try something else.

This is where I exhort you to rely on history to help plan the future. If you haven’t read it already, I encourage you read and re-read  Chapter 15 of Claude Hopkins legendary book Scientific Advertising. Originally published in 1923, Chapter 15 is simply entitled Test Campaigns. Two pages of irrefutable logic for the value and importance of Testing Small to learn what works BIG. As I mentioned right at the beginning of Article #1, you have to test your ads, and you have to find out for your own satisfaction and for your own wallet, what’s working and what isn’t. Then you’ll know how to improve it for the next time. Remember to Start Small for Big Success and Act Fast.

About the Author: Dennis Kelly is an advertising expert with 30 years of wisdom to share for Office Today readers and is the author of two books “Nine Secrets To Improve Your Advertising” and “57 Media Spikes”. CLICK HERE to learn more. Office Today Readers receive a FREE 30 Minute consultation with Dennis to discuss what your next media moves should be. Send an e-mail with OFFICE TODAY CONSULTATION in subject line and the best times to chat.