This is a truly tough topic because there are a tremendous number of possibilities. A brief guide is available here from entrepreneur.comâ€“ it's useful and concise. One of the main points in the above article is that "getting your name out there" is NOT effective- but the messages attached to your name can be effective. And notice that web advertising isn't even mentioned in an article written in 2003.
How Much Money For How Many Customers?
How do you Compare Advertising Methods For Local Business? Look at how specific advertising affects your sales. If you can't track your results, you shouldn't buy it. And remember: you aren't buying an ad-- instead, your job is to buy advertising results from a specific ad.
Here is NeighborWave's basic proposition: We can create and implement a complete small business advertising plan with FIVE YEARS of highly targeted advertising for under $1000-- and you'll be ahead of most of your local competitors. NeighborWave creates the messages that customers need to hear in your advertising-- and we work WITH the search engines so that customers find you. 61% of searchers looking for a local product or service become a buyer. You can have useful customer contact with people who are local to you while you develop effective advertising messages that you can place anywhere.
Before I discuss this, I want to you picture someone at work. If you're picturing someone at a computer, you've just pictured the single most common work environment. Now, do you suppose they get up and go look for the book? No. It is becoming more and more common for people to just type what they are looking to find. They type what they want to buy and the location where they want to buy it. Five years ago, advertising on the net didn't work for small business-- that's why it wasn't mentioned in the article above. But times change, and so do consumer habits. Is your business working in a way that will place your advertising on a cell phone map?
For most local businesses, the real choices are:
Yellow Pages, some print advertising, and the internet.
So, where should you start?
Start working on your future. The cost of a five year plan of internet advertising is almost entirely up front. Hosting a website is quite CHEAP at forty bucks per year. A reasonable design with reasonable copy writing keeps working for years. Our copywriting typically costs $400. We can create a site for you that includes an edit button using the same tools that we use here for another $400. Thatâ€™s about FIVE YEARS of advertising directly to people trying to find you for around $1000. That's downright cheap. One of our clients sees about $40,000 per year in sales from Google referrals. And she only spent $300 with us.
Yellow Pages advertising is still great for some businesses, but the costs are high and your business will likely be viewed as a commodity supplier. You will definitely spend a lot more money publishing your advertising in paper. The question that nags me recently is this: How long is it going to be viable to publish those books for every household in the country?
More and more consumers begin and end their search for ordinary local services using the search engines. What do you think these tendencies will mean in 2013â€“ just five years from now? It's important to mention that part of the ranking system that puts websites near the top is the durability of the content-- how long it has been online. If you don't see your competitors when searching, you can easily move to the top of that list and stay there. For years.
Your customers expect you to have a website. Your competitors love it if you don't.
Be Wary of "FREE" Internet advertising-- you'll have to do the work and you might be building someone else's business instead of your own.
(not looking for info about internet advertising? see also-- Advertising Methods...)
Own Your Message ...and Own Your Space
There are lots and lots of services available to small business to help you advertise on the internet and in printed directories. But as long as you're considering buying some advertising placements, shouldn't you consider just hiring someone with expertise to help you avoid problems or a waste of your time and money? Not every kind of advertising works for every kind of business. NeighborWave makes good advertising content and then finds the right advertising placement so that it gets used.
A very Typical Internet Business Model is to use online automated services that work like old phone directories: Cityguide, Citysearch, YellowBook, YellowPages, Yahoo Small Business-- and there are a large number of local online business guides dating back ten years or more. Here's how they get you to do work for them. They take your information, then categorize your business in a database and then if they are lucky enough to have no competitors for a particular word-phrase that gets searched, they display their advertisers on a search results page. That's right-- you sitting there with your competition and no means to differentiate yourself even if you pay a monthly fee. If you are a "widget maker" in "Podunkville Ireland", the result will show you sitting there as just a name-- right next to your competitors. If you're fortunate enough to be named "Zebra Widget Makers", then you'll be at the bottom of the list, possibly not even on the first page.
Directories versus Search Engines
The Directories on the internet are database listers and they have a different goal than you do. The directories are not search engines like Google, they are a destination for searchers using Google and you pay monthly to grow their business. And there is good reason for you to NOT be in those online directories. The database lister's aim is to become an internet destination that is highly ranked by the search engines. They work on this by using computer automation to collect information that is just useful enough to show up in the search results. Once you are on their pages, they provide very few tools to help you distinguish your business from your competitors. And they charge you-- continuously, monthly, with almost no opportunity to display anything except your name. Search Engines, on the other hand, can direct people straight to your own website. And on your website there are no competitors, just your messages. Search Results are FREE-- this is the fabled "promised land" of internet advertising: Real customers find you for free. Good Small Business Advertising Messages differ from the "getting your name out there" approach by giving your customers the information that they want. The messages to help them choose you. The directories get paid essentially doing fear-based sales. The search engines get paid by providing useful information and that useful information is: your message. What's better about search marketing is that it's free to start- you can get found by Google.
Search Is Better For You
Your goals are different- your advertising is intended to reach more customers. Search Engine Marketing is the process of helping customers find your own website and it's message. The internet search engines reward good content with higher page listings. It's a simple choice-- do you want to be a database entry sitting next to your competitors? Or would you rather be listed ABOVE that database and then displayed alone using a message that compels prospective customers to know you and become actual customers?
The Value of advertising is in the message and the message is in the words. It's common for small business to experiment with internet advertising. And the most common method is to hire a "website designer"- but a designer usually can't help Google find you new customers. Google wants words and they reward well-written content with high rankings. Quality online copywriting is typically enough to put you ahead of even the directories in Google's results. And once they find your site, your messages are delivered directly from the small business publishing platform that you own- no competition.
I'll guess that I'll say again that NeighborWave is a local, small business. We get paid for real work done by a person, frequently that person is local to you. We don't get paid for programming or anything automated. You talk. We write, design and publish for you. That's how we work. Give us a Wave.
Let's face facts. We all know that advertising is broken. As a businessperson, we want it to work. But as people, we want it to leave us alone. What we see happening right now actually creates a really wonderful opportunity for a different and better way to reach customers. We call it Prosumer Advertising. There are a different set of tools and idea in this advertising but the results are less intrusive and more informative.
The information in your internet advertising is itself a product-- an information product. Specifically, it's a product with information about what you sell. When someone types words into a search, they are asking the search engine to create a product just for them. They are participating in creating the information product that they will consume. They produce and consume-- Prosumer.
At NeighborWave, we're really just following a very simple business idea: put the product in front of the customer and give them the information to choose. The product is information. You might also call your internet advertising "just in time advertising" because it isn't advertising until it gets found by the consumer. It's important to note that Prosumer Advertising is not pushed in front of consumers. Instead, it is prepared in advance to meet their needs.
Some of the factors that make this an interesting time to be in NeighborWave's business:
- 61% of local internet searches result in a purchase.
- Broadcasting is becoming increasingly ineffective and a little annoying.
- Local Supply is environmentally friendly and is friendly to local ecomonies.
- Local Supply might possibly be required in the future. Seen the price at the gas pump lately?
Even a Very Small Business is a delicious fit for Prosumer Advertising. If Google and similar intermediary information tools are the future, then a guy running a shoe repair shop on the corner might want some help. Small Business needs help creating informational content and they need help directing that content correctly: first to the information intermediaries and then on to the information consumer.
Your business is a perfect match for some customers.
But if you don't tell your story correctly, new customers can't find you!
If you don't click over to the contact page, you will definitely put this idea aside within five minutes. This page is about a "big picture" idea, but that's really not how NeighborWave works. We really are inexpensive AND have lots of ideas-- little ones, big ones and we promise we'll bring all the ideas that can work for you to our work on your account. You can Give Us A Wave. Or you can wander off to youtube and not worry about your business' future-- it will probably take care of itself.
We do, too! But we're pretty unhappy with most "me too" green advertising messages and don't even get us started about big companies. So called Green is part of the reason why we specialize in advertising for locally owned, locally operated small businesses. Local business is inherently more green and will probably be our culture's path back to true local sourcing of goods. Our own green credentials are pretty decent: our founder has chosen to give up driving (except for his 92 yr old Aunt Charlotte) Also, the company local sources everything that's possible.
For general advice about green advertising, here's the scoop: If it ain't simple, nothing will happen. If it isn't really true, then that makes you a big fibber! Zero Paper is the best tactic to advertise using a Green practice. That means get better at using the web. End of story.
Let's not forget that most green practices are actually about making things work better using sustainable practices. Can you see how local sources are a delicious fit here? Something that we all see frequently is the use of green as a branding element. We find this disappointing, and here's why: Green is not an alternative-to-mainstream brand that justifies higher prices. NeighborWave is looking to support real businesses who ARE green by their nature and happen to use green advertising efforts, not just upscale marketing. So, in the interest of getting better at marketing, let's look at how you can use "what you get" informational advertising to speak to conscious and not-so-conscious consumers.
Oh, and Kevin told us to tell you all to quit driving. And turn your printer off when you're at lunch.
We're sorry. No.
The only significant revenue that we see in the real marketplace using passive income websites is the profits made by people selling shoddy advice about how to get rich quick. This includes affiliate sites, which people don't seem to recognize as pyramid or MLM schemes. It's hard to know how many people actually take a passive income website to real profits, but our guess is that it's mostly people selling advice on how to make money from passive income websites. It's a logic so tortured that it's enough to make your head spin around.
The principle behind the advice seller's success is simple. The act of spending some money makes you feel like you've done something. We've talked to more than a few people who seem to be fairly manic about the idea. The experience has reminded us of addicts, like a gambler who's sure that the next roll of the dice will be the big win. If you want a shot at something real... buy a lottery ticket.
We feel strongly that taking people's money in exchange for a very low success rate is wrong.
If you'd like to be valued in any marketplace, do something valuable. There is so much junk out there that almost the only requirement for creating a new business is that you tell the truth and do something real. That simple act of authenticity raises your efforts up out of all the marketing junk. People know the authentic immediately and it's the basis of most good businesses.
Because it happens that so many are tempted to practice bad ethics in the marketplace, there are laws against it. Here's a link to the Federal Trade Commission's guide about marketing claims: Click. Please give these ideas some consideration--the people telling you that you can make money sitting back doing nothing... they might not just be lying--they might also be breaking the law.
First things First! How many times do you want to pay to create the content for your print advertising? Are you paying again every time you run an ad or does it feel like you have to do most of the work? We'll save you time and money by creating your content ONCE. Pay for it once, then advertise anywhere.
We definitely work with Advertising Print Design. Here is our own print brochure from a while back. The quality is reduced to make it quickly transfer on the internet. We don't stop with the creation-- we'll find you a local source for printing and mailing, too. Give it a click and you'll see the full page. This is the inside page only and the writing came from an earlier version of the advertising copy that we published on the internet.
Here's a simple advertising example:
We created our advertising materials once and then we used our advertising content again as another kind of advertising. Efficient! Simple! And one effort helps the next effort. That's what we do. Our price for a simple introductory brochure like this one is a very low $250, but if we've written for your website the price is only $100.