Local small business owners spend a great deal of money on advertising. Most of us never know if the advertising is paying off. Most never know if their advertising or marketing is any good at all. The problem is, we ask the wrong people their opinion. We ask our co-workers if an advertisement looks good. The CEO asks the treasurer what she thinks. The problem is that most of us are not experts in advertising. At most, we know what we like in graphic design.
So, where do we get great advertising ideas? Most of us never look outside our doors for advertising or marketing ideas. The smarter small business owners look outside their doors to other, more successful, business owners…in the same business. That a smart way to look for ideas. Copy what works. It’s the franchise method. Test an idea, copy it, and deploy it to the vendors.
Te problem with his idea is that everyone in your business has access to these ideas. They aren’t new. Soon you are copying the copier. You are playing “follow the follower”. My mentor Dan Kennedy calls this “Marketing Incest”.
Most tested and proven small business advertising and marketing ideas are found completely outside of your core business. These ideas can then be tested and translated into any business you like. For example, I own a retail store and sell vacuum cleaners. But of the 42 separate marketing and advertising methods I employ, only one idea came from the retail industry. One out of forty two. In fact, the most profitable ideas I use come from the restaurant, medical, and insurance fields.
The idea is simple. Find businesses that are actually owned by someone. Not major corporation, but businesses that have a leader calling the shots. Most successful companies have articles written about them and their CEO. In fact, there are hundreds of books out there on Amazon.com that hold all the marketing and advertising secrets these leaders used to grow their company. These ideas are plentiful, easy to find, and books are cheap.
You can read a book about an entrepreneur, and I see what made them successful. Then you just have to imagine how that idea, at least the core of it, could be applied to your business. Most great advertising and marketing ideas are similar or even identical across all industries. A few tweeks is all it usually takers to generate a profitable new idea for your business.
You can go to the library and take a day doing this; Look up magazines where there are direct mail ads running. Direct mail meaning that you can actually buy something from the ad, or at least request information. These are not brand building ads. Now find the same magazine from a year ago. Look at the ads. Which ads are the same from a year ago? Those ads are profitable. These are the ads to study. What do they have in common? A few hours of studying these ads will show you a pattern that great ads use. Now look at the ads that are there a year ago, but are not there now. What do they have in common? These are unsuccessful ads. What are the differences between a dozen of these unsuccessful ads, and the ones that are repeated for at least a year?
Now imagine that these successful repeated ads were used to sell your product (or at least get a request for information). A few simple changes are all that’s needed for most ads.
I know this is boring work. I know it isn’t exciting, and won’t make for a great story when you tell your friends about it. But if you want to know the most profitable way to get advertising and marketing ideas for your local small business or retail store, this is it.