Allow me just to start off this post by stating I am a capitalist. I’m an entrepreneur. And more than just about anything, I love seeing other businesses succeed…..with the exception of the subject of this article.
The Mistakes We Make
As a small business owner of almost 10 years now, I’ve made some really, really dumb mistakes marketing. Having tried just about every medium and having blown hundreds of thousands of dollars on inefficient campaigns, I can now say the days of our company throwing dollar bills on the campfire are over. Wasteful advertising is now a bygone. And with it, may I clearly say that it brings me great joy to see The Yellow Pages having practically gone the way of the dinosaur.
You see, for years the Yellow Pages were like the Death Star of the advertising world. They essentially had a monopoly because they were the only show in town and they were the place consumers went to find information and products.
The Yellow Pages Debate
As a swimming pool company, this was especially true for my business. Every year, my partners and I would sit down and agonize over having just the right Yellow Page advertisement. How big should it be? Color or not? Lots of information and just beautiful pictures? How big is the other guys’ ad? Blah, blah, blah…..And then once we had decided on the ad we wanted, we’d receive the news of how ‘rates had gone up again’. I’d always just sit there and listen to the sales rep, wanting to vomit while thinking to myself, “The day I never have to be in this stupid book again will be the happiest day of my life.”
Sadly, for years that day never came. The rates kept going up and up. And because our service area was in multiple cities, that meant we had to be in multiple phone books. Eventually, we got to a point where we were spending about $3,000 on Yellow Page advertising alone each month. This might sound like chicken feed for some companies, but monetarily speaking, this was an absolute killer, especially for a small business like ours.
Out with the Death Star….In with the New Era of Small Biz Advertising
But our story is no different than so many small businesses across America.
For years, the monopoly of the Yellow Pages sucked company advertising budgets dry, laughing all the way to the bank. They knew that consumers used the Yellow Pages to find just about any and every service or product. They also knew small businesses had no choice but to be in the book and pay their outrageous rates. But alas, the information age has ushered in a new era of consumer education.
In 2010, no longer do consumers open the phone book to find information. Think about it. When was the last time you actually used the phone book for anything? Chances are, if you’re like most consumers, you now use the Internet for at least 80% of your business searches. And if the number is 80% today, it will likely be 90% in another year or two.
But this phenomenon is exactly what is so beautiful about marketing 2.0. Now, instead of spending $40,000 this year on Yellow Pages, plus $20,000 on direct mailers, plus another $30,000 on radio advertisements, and finally another $25,000 on various print media; my business’ advertising budget for 2010 will be less than $20,000 this year and will produce more leads than it ever did with YP advertising. In fact, our YP advertising this year consists only of our name and number, which costs us about $100 a month. Not that’s what I’m talking about!!
Spend Less, Get More
The idea that a small business with roughly 4-5 million dollars in annual sales could spend less than $20,000 a year on advertising and still generate hundreds upon hundreds of inbound leads would have been preposterous just a few short years ago. But with the all-powerful Internet, and the utilization of awesome websites, killer blogs, helpful and remarkable content, as well as the use of social mediums; businesses can create phenomenal advertising campaigns simply by putting their nose to the grind and slapping their fingers on a keyboard. And do you know what I think about that?………AWESOMENESS!!
Dang I love the Sales, Marketing, and Web 2.0 era in which we now all find ourselves immersed in. And dang do I absolutely get a warm fuzzy when I think about how the Death Star, err Yellow Pages, can now go back to figuring out how to run an honest business.
So if you and your business have not gotten with the program and embraced web/marketing/ and sales 2.0, then I say it’s time to get with it and make great things happen. Be a part of the greatest technology and business movement of our lifetimes and start making your mark in this new world today!
Questions or Comments? Please leave your thoughts below as I absolutely enjoy hearing from readers.