Free Billings Advertising

Free Billings AdvertisingYou can get a great, effective radio campaign on almost any radio station in Billings for about $16.67 a day.  Surely your business is worth that amount of money.

But getting something for nothing seems to be a cause célèbre of late.  Maybe it started with the infamous “47% are dependent” comment in the presidential campaign.  I’m not really sure.  This post isn’t a political comment, its about marketing.

Why do business owners continue to strive to get something for nothing?  A lot of time and money gets spent in social media, free papers, free flyers, free magazines,  free coupons, free websites, or free whatevers.

You really don’t get anything for free–you pay for it with stress, time, opportunity, or cash.  Yet the practice continues.  Everyone wants to be the person who solves the problem–who gets a great deal no one else has.  The one who finds the holy grail of making Billings advertising work for the lowest possible price.

Why all the Free Papers and Magazines?

There’s a reason all those papers and magazines are free.  It’s an escape from accountability.  With no subscribers, there’s really no way to know how many of the publications are actually consumed.  It’s pretty, but is it real?  And please, don’t fall for the publishers trick of counting how many were published times 3 or 4 to suggest that is the “readership.” I mean every copy of every publication must be spread around.  I agree.  Most publications are spread around unread at the recycling station.

There’s only one way to compare across media.  Its the real dollars and cents of the spend.  If you spend $800 in cable, spend $800 in radio and compare.  If you spend $300 on a little ad in one of the free “ego-zines” inside every restaurant in town, then compare that to $300 spent on bench ads.

The final verdict comes when you compare the increase or decrease in your business revenue year to year and month to month.

 

The Media That Works Best in Billings Marketing

Best Media Choics for Billings MarketingI’ve spent literally millions of dollars in advertising.  I’ve spent it on television, events, internet, radio, billboards, direct mail, even some money in print. Thinking about the actual number, I’m betting its close to $6 MILLION dollars in spend.

After all that, I know exactly what advertising and marketing works and what doesn’t.  I’m going to tell you something unexpected that you probably do not expect to hear from any media person, much less a salesperson.  I will tell you the truth as to what media works best.

I really feel bad for small business owners in Billings.  How do you know what Billings marketing is right?  You started a business for a reason.  To make more money, secure your families life, maybe you were tired of dealing with the “Man” all day long, and for what?

You have endless regulation, taxation, employee issues, and untold amount of worries on how you are going to meet payroll.  You know you can handle it–you are awesome.  You are great in your chosen field.  Your shop, store, or business is the best in town.  You are awesome.  You just have to tell people how awesome you are.

That’s where it gets complicated.  You are not a marketing expert.  You are a business owner.

The $6 Million Billings Marketing Secret

So you take in a seminar from the newspaper.  Surprise, they say the newspaper/web combination is the only way to market.  Google holds a big “Get Onlline” seminar in town with free websites (almost). Next the TV station has a “how to use modern media” seminar, and you go.  There you discover that it really is TV is the only way to reach consumers.  Radio stations have their own programs and seminars to encourage you to buy spots (they are ADS not SPOTS.)

And so it goes.  Not only are you dealing with all the stuff required to run a business, but now you have conflicting information from people you trust on marketing ideas.  I talk to business owners like this EVERYDAY.

If you have a moment, I’m going to tell exactly who in all this marketing conflicting ga-ga has the right answer.

Everyone.

You see, ALL MARKETING WORKS.  Provided you have a good message and get enough time (or traffic) to get heard. The difference is effectiveness and the amount of money you want to invest.  That’s it.

A Half Million Dollar Marketing Lesson

Every media gets bashed for their lack of effectiveness, even TV.  I personally spent a half MILLION dollars of my companies money in 4 weeks on TV.  I thought we had a great ad and a great schedule.  Everyone agreed all the way to the president of the company.  I was the one who got fired.

The ONLY way to compare media is by dollars and cents.  Spend the same amount on an ad schedule on TV, radio, billboards, and print–then compare the results.  You’ll figure out pretty quickly which one works best for you.  It may not be the same for your competitor.  It is what works for you–what makes your revenue rise that’s important.

Next time when you feel overwhelmed with the pressure to make the “right” decision on your marketing, relax.  It all works.   Besides, I’m guessing you have never spent a half million bucks on TV. And never will.

Social Media’s Epic Marketing Failure

Lawyers love social mediaLet’s be honest about social media.  It’s a great tool for people to talk to each other.  Lawyers and police love it for the great trail of data it leaves when they are putting their cases together for prosecution.  Marketers love it because its low or no cost.  They think they are doing something when they use social media.

As a news outlet, it is not much better than the “telephone” game we used to play as a kid.  As a marketing venue, it certainly does a good job of reaching the already converted and committed.

But social media’s marketing failure is much greater than its news failure.  It diverts resources that could be used to help a business grow.  It counts things that don’t matter at the risk of those that do.

Most of all, it violates one of the tenants of all marketing.

It doesn’t get attention.

Remember, attention, interest, desire, action?  AIDA.  The description of how people move through a marketing channel has changed little in the past 100 years.  McKinney tried to “reinvent” the funnel by suggesting it was a “trigger” that began a marketing feedback loop.

Then again, while the entire world of ad agencies and the millions of “social media experts and agencies” subscribe to the idea “if you can’t count it, it doesn’t matter,” the economy continues to swoon.  While the idea of counting is absolutely a correct idea, lets count what matters–like revenue and cash flow.

Businesses stop focusing on sales and revenue and focus on tweets and likes at their own peril.  The fatal flaw of social media marketing is not the distraction it has become.  A recent research study indicates 61% of small businesses have seen NO improvement in their sales from social media marketing.

The fatal flaw is the violation of the marketing paradigm.  Social media, except in those cases where something “goes viral” doesn’t get attention.  If I don’t know you exist, how do I know to look for you.  Maybe my friends will tell me about it if you are that remarkable.  Chances are they won’t. My friend Scott McKain has written a new book called Create Distinction that is a must read.

Mainstream media has an advantage in one crucial area–it interrupts and grabs attention.  Without attention, getting someone to buy your product becomes an exceptionally difficult thing to do.

Much of what’s called social media marketing today is really content marketing by another name.  If you “write it, produce it, create it,” they will come is just as much a fallacy today as it ever was.