3 Ad Traps That Snag Most Small Business Marketers
If we’re going to go to the time and trouble and expense to invest in advertising or some sort of marketing effort for our business, or organization, our community groups, our creative endeavors, wouldn’t it be great if we knew our message was standing out? Don’t we want to be represented by our unique voice, as opposed washing in with just about everything else out there in the market?
That seems like it would be a really obvious thing to want to do, but in my experience, that’s not what happens. It usually starts with a conversation where the business person tells you all of the reasons why they’re different and better than all the competitors in their segment. But when it comes time to whittle that down into a message that is spoken, that is shown, that is written, 9-point-9 times out of 10, it ends up getting diluted down into something that looks, feels and sounds pretty much just like everything else out there in the market.
Why? Isn’t the point to stand out?
People are the same as businesses in my opinion in this regard, because we’re afraid. We say we want stand out, but to just be ourselves and to tell a different story causes a lot of anxiety and fear. It’s ironic because that’s pretty much the whole point; we want to stand out. We don’t want to sound and look and feel like everybody else.
But what happens is there are three really common ad traps that I see just about everybody falling into. I’ve fallen into it, and I’m constantly monitoring what I’m doing. I’ll ask myself, “Am I just comparing what I see everybody else doing and then trying to do something like that? Am I just filling in the blanks on these bullet points because I think that’s what I’m supposed to do?”
It’s an easy trap to fall into. I’m not saying I’m great at it, but I’m aware of it.
Three Common Ad Traps
Here’s what the ad traps are:
Almost everybody says they have the best of those.
Listen to the ads on the radio. Watch what you’re seeing on TV. Really look at what you’re seeing online. Take a look at what people are writing on their social media updates and what they’re writing on their websites.
The best prices, the highest quality, and the most reliable service. Everybody says they have those things. And you might have those things, but if that’s what you’re saying, then you’re just turning your marketing effort into your word against mine. And I’m still sitting here wondering, as the potential customer, “What does that mean to me?”
You might have the best price. You might have the highest quality in your segment. And you might have the best service. But, if that’s what everybody else is saying, who am I supposed to believe as a potential customer?
Your One Secret Weapon
What we’ve got to do is take that and give it what they call “social proof” or tell more of a story. Maybe you do have the best prices, the highest level of quality, and the best service. Well, if that’s true, what’s the story behind it?
What brought you into the business you’re in? What are some of the obstacles that you’ve faced that you had to overcome? What were some of the toughest times that you’ve had, and how did you see those through? What are some of the ways you’ve had to change to be able to adapt and grow your service to remain relevant to customers over that time? What are doing now to continue to do the same thing to stay up with the trends and the times and connect to me, your potential customer?
Tell me a story. Don’t just tell me that you’ve got the best prices, that you’ve got the highest quality, and you’ve go the best service. Everybody says that. What you have that nobody else has is your story; your reason for being in the business that you’re in. Please, please don’t be afraid to tell it. It’s the one thing you have that nobody else does, and I guarantee will set you apart if you do it authentically.
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