The famous complaint from Henry Ford was that “half of my advertising is wasted—I just don’t know which half”. Ford’s comment was made in the heyday of newspaper publishing, when huge readerships provided a strong mass-market advertising platform, and yet he wasn’t happy. He wasn’t convinced he was getting good value from his ads.
A lot of businesses that advertise locally have the same nagging doubt as Henry Ford. Many continue to advertise, despite sketchy, hard-to-measure returns, because it’s what they've always done.
Unfortunately, these businesses face a double-whammy. Newspaper readerships have tumbled and punters have moved online. Local print advertising just doesn’t have the reach it once had. And consumers have AdBlock installed on their browsers.
But Google AdWords work, right?
Yes they can.
AdWords provides the perfect buyer's market insofar as you only pay for clicks. It does work well for busineses that compete on price and at the lower end of markets. But if you're selling premium services, perhaps to other businesses, or your offering is complex and there's a longer buying cycle, you’ll need to establish trust and credibility before prospects consider you.
We don’t want banners
Simple banner ads are 'marmite' to most people. When they are relevant we might grudgingly accept them. And geo- and demographic and re-targeting ads are certainly sophisticated. Nevertheless there is not a lot of love for banners.
Ad campaigns come and go; content is foreverAn advert, whether online or in the papers, is only visible as long as you pay for it. Once the budget is used up, the campaign is over. What leads you were getting will stop dead.
A different way to connect with good prospects is to supply them with a regular feed of interesting, useful content. This approach helps your search rankings: buyers search and find words and phrases relating to their requirement in your content. This approach—marketing with owned content—positions you and your business in a highly favourably light. Buyers are attracted to those who can solve the business problem they face that day.
It takes committment to put together compelling content but you might be surprised at how enjoyable and useful the exercise is. You want to produce content that answers the questions your ideal buyers have today. Think laterally. What wil customers be searching for?
- Can you offer an insider's view of your general service area?
- Maybe you could offer some cracking time-saving tips to people who are researching a purchase in your sector.
Browsers will appreciate the info, and I suggest will have a completely different impression of your business than had clicked on a banner ad.
Marketing your business with content in this way creates a lasting asset—a growing libray of valuable content—that will continue to pay dividends, long after any paid ad campaign is over.