"Promise, large promise, is the soul of an advertisement."
--- Samuel Johnson
Getting the word out about your products and services is not as complicated as some may think it is. The process is actually very simple and includes what I call "The Five D's of Advertising:" 1.) Define your target market; 2.) Discover advertising and marketing outlets that reach your target market; 3.) Develop a marketing and advertising budget; 4.) Design ads and a marketing plan; 5.) Decide to spend regularly reaching your market.
Of course, this is a simplification of a process that requires constant attention. You can't just leave your advertising and marketing plan alone. The selection of advertising avenues changes rapidly. New websites, trade magazines, trade shows, radio programs, baseball games, and a gazillion others become available on a regular basis. Keeping an eye out for them takes some time and effort, but well worth it all.
"If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful."
--- Jeff Bezos
As you may have discovered, a good reputation for quality services goes a very long way in promoting your business. But a bad name will destroy your business. While it pays over and over again to work with integrity and to honestly perform your best for a fair price, there will still be folks who don't know that you exist.
"A market is never saturated with a good product, but it is very quickly saturated with a bad one."
--- Henry Ford
Let people know about how great your business is. This is difficult for many sign professionals because most find it embarrassing to "brag" about their talents and products. The best advice you can get is to get over it! You have something that will benefit your prospects. Why hold back this information? See it as lending a hand to those in need. Tell them what you can do for them and how wonderful it will be when they visit you.
"Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime. Teach a man to create an artificial shortage of fish and he will eat steak."
--- Jay Leno
Honestly serve your customers. When you place an ad online or in print, word it so that if every customer brought your advertisement to you, your chest would puff up and you would proudly stand by every word and idea of the ad. If your ad includes prices, honor them at all costs.
If you are having trouble creating an ad, contact the company you are advertising with. Most will usually help design an ad for free or a small fee. Make the ad crisp, to the point, and brag a little about your work.
"Next to doing the right thing, the most important thing is to let people know you are doing the right thing."
--- John D. Rockefeller
Make it a goal in this second half of the year to refine your advertising and marketing practices. If you haven't been advertising, go back to the "5 Ds" and create an advertising plan. The truth is that if you build it, they might not come. Ah, but if you tell them…
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At a music store in Tennessee:
"Out to lunch. Bach at 12:30. Offenbach sooner."
At an auto body shop somewhere near Tallahassee:
"May we have the next dents?"
As seen in a safari park:
"Elephants please stay in your car."
Have you seen any funny signs lately? Why not share them with the world? Send your comments, suggestions, and hysterical observations to: firstname.lastname@example.org.