For small business owners, the difference between success and failure comes down to getting the absolute most out of limited funds. This applies to all aspects of running a business, including advertising. It’s easy to imagine you’re ready to go toe-to-toe with established brands armed with nothing but enthusiasm, a good product, and maybe a snappy slogan, but the reality is more complicated: while it’s entirely possible for a small business to gain an appreciable foothold even in a crowded market, trying to tackle the titans on their own terms is a surefire recipe for failure.
How do the big companies keep themselves in the front of people’s minds whenever they think about the kinds of products they deal in? How does Coca-Cola make us think of them whenever we think of soft drinks, or McDonalds make us think of them whenever we think of burgers? The answer: branding. These companies have the wherewithal to play the long game, working their logos and slogans into the public consciousness through long-term TV and radio campaigns, product placement, and any other media they can get their hands on. These companies have ingrained their branding so deeply into mainstream pop culture that you can date TV shows and movies based on it.
So where does your small business fit into this picture? Odds are it doesn’t. While brand awareness is undeniably a powerful force in the advertising world – you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who can’t recognize the Golden Arches – actually building it to a point where it’ll do you any appreciable good takes time and resources you likely don’t have. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have options when it comes to making your presence known – far from it, in fact. As Archimedes might have said, you don’t need big muscles to move mountains: you just need a long enough lever. And for small businesses, direct response advertising can be exactly what the philosopher ordered.
Direct response advertising is exactly what it sounds like: rather than trying to drill your business’s name into the minds of viewers, listeners, or readers, direct response advertising is about encouraging your potential customers to directly respond to your ad in some fashion, like calling, visiting your website, or even coming to your storefront in person. Whether they want to buy your product as a result of your ad or just want to have some questions answered before they make a decision, your advertising has done its job – without waiting months or years for it to take effect.
You can also track the results of direct response advertising as easily as putting something in your ad copy like “mention Promo Code 001 when you order and get 10% off”: not only will your ads encourage potential customers to buy your product, but you can also determine which ones are the most effective by using different codes for each and keeping track of which ones your customers use the most often. This information is well worth giving your customers a little discount: you can save money by canning failing ads and boost sales by investing more into your successful ads!
Is it possible for a small business to make its branding into an instinctive “buy me” sign in the same fashion that big companies have turned into an art form over the decades? Absolutely. But as a first step, your business needs advertising that offers immediate results, and it’s hard to find an option that fits that bill better than direct response advertising.
If you have any questions regarding TV and radio advertising, feel free to give us a call.
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