Advertising brings your product/service to the attention of your prospects. And gives you the real opportunity to acquire new customers. Else, nobody knows how wonderful or beneficial your product/service can be. But what options are available for you as a small business owner with limited budget?
Businesses can choose to reach out through general (brand) advertising or direct response advertising. The choice can have a far reaching consequences. That underlines the importance of not only having a marketing strategy, but also the right advertising mix especially if you are a small business.
Choosing general advertising as a marketing strategy is an enormous mistake for any small business. Not only because it can’t be tracked. But small businesses may not have enough marketing budget to sustain it to a profitable return on investment. In contrast, direct response advertising offers a cost-effective marketing alternative for small businesses.
“According to U.S. Small Business Administration, over 50% of small businesses fail in the first year and 95% fail within the next five years. Lack of experience and insufficient capital are the two most cited reasons small businesses fail”
Having a marketing strategy that helps small businesses reach out, understand and build relationships with their customers at low cost is a priceless tool small businesses can use to leverage on the big players. That’s what direct response advertising does for small businesses. And it’s so important that every small business owner understands how direct response advertising works.
Advertising is most often associated with dazzling huge HD bill boards on skyscrapers and towers in big cities around the world. Usually executed with enormous marketing budgets. And that’s true if you’re talking about global brands like Toyota, Coca Cola, Procter & Gamble etc.
But as a small business, you don’t need tonnes of crispy dollar bills to pull off an advertising campaign to increase your bottom line.
And you wonder how I know? Well, I heard from the master-David Ogilvy. I’m talking about the father of advertising. When his competitors were pouring dollars into general advertising, he knew his little budget can’t sustain such marketing strategy.
David Ogilvy relied on his first love which he described as his secret weapon. He used it to great effect to reach record speed and in 6 months, his business was airborne from obscurity. That his secret weapon is called direct response advertising. You can still use it today to successfully market your product/service.
What is it about general advertising that did not appeal to David Ogilvy or makes it a costly mistake for a small business?
Like every business, David Ogilvy recognised the importance of marketing his services, but he simply can’t afford it with $6,000 start-up which was what he had at the time he started Ogilvy & Mather in New York in 1948.
General advertising is a marketing strategy aimed at name recognition and brand building. The purpose is to continuously remind the customers and prospective customers about the brand and its products and services.
This way the message would have created public consciousness that prospects will remember the brand and its products/services when making a buying decision.
Does It Work?
Of course, it does. But it requires saturating the print media, tv, radio and internet with brand advert messages on regular basis over a reasonable time to permeate the public consciousness. That takes a long time to plan and execute. And makes it very expensive.
For big brands, the cost and time may not present a huge problem. Marketing campaigns are planned months, even years before product launch with millions of dollars marketing budgets at their disposals.
But what happens when as a small business you engage in general advertising marketing strategy?
The little time you may have advertised is like a little drop in the ocean. It’s not enough to penetrate the market to create public consciousness since you lack the financial muscle to sustain it. You’re easily crowded out with little or no return on investment.
Your only chance to have a measure of success with marketing your brand is to pick up the secret weapon available to small businesses…
What is Direct Response Advertising?
Direct response advertising as a marketing strategy may or may not achieve immediate purchase. But in general, it is designed to enable initial contact that could lead to sales. What you can describe as an enabler or a forerunner. It starts with a specific message; your value proposition. And goes on to explain the benefits and why it’s a good idea to act on the advice.
It persuades a prospect to take a specific action with a call to action. This may include, calling a given telephone number to ask for brochure or more information, make a visit to the shop, filling out an order form etc.
Where a prospect responds, the feedback is a loaded information that helps you understand the prospect’s mindset. Knowing your prospect’s mindset is essential to creating suitable follow up messages that are so important in building trust.
Benefits of Direct Response Advertising
Direct response advertising has been described as salesmanship in print. It uses benefit-focused headline and the body copy to reinforce the benefits with a specific offer.
In contrast to brand advertising, direct response advertising is track able. When a prospect responds, you know immediately which advert or media the response came from.
Testing and measuring outcomes are vital for a marketing campaign. No other form of advertising offers better than direct response advertising. Because you know which advert you’re getting responses and sales from, you know with certainty which one is effective. So, you drop non-performers.
You know to a dollar what works and what doesn’t. Because every customer has a price tag, you easily know what a customer is worth to you. That makes it super-easy for you to decide how much you’ll be willing to spend to get a customer. That’s the beauty of direct response advertising.
Direct response advertising is marketing on a discount. It’s the only low budget way for a small business to penetrate the market, create awareness and acquire customers. I hope you’ll take it on board.
If you need a pro for this task, fill out this form and a direct response copywriter will get in touch.
Thanks for stopping bye. I hope you enjoyed the article. As always, suggestions and comments are welcome.