The Advertising Onion – An Explanation

advertising onion - cubs and state farmThe advertising onion is something I just made up.  But it can be so true.  Advertising is like an onion.  Either you only make use of the surface, or you make use of additional layers.

For instance, Goodyear can advertise the features and benefits of their tire, or they can advertise how their tire works on the newest Corvette.  Perhaps they can talk Chevrolet into co-paying the advertisement so that each pays for half.  So Goodyear just spent half the amount on the ad to get the full benefit, perhaps even more than they would normally get.

In the above example, Goodyear also gets more benefit from the advertisement because they show it working on the new Corvette. It shows the product demonstrated in an exciting way rather than just showing a tire and describing its benefits.

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Why Network Marketing (MLM) Doesn’t Work For You

It is seriously irritating.  You see all of these successful people who do really well, often on a weekly basis, and you just cannot seem to sponsor consistently or build any kind of business.  In this article, I am going to give you some suggestions on what you might do differently in order to attract people into your business.  Perhaps some things you have not even considered.

Get a life

At one point, all I was doing is working hard at my business.  And as they say, all work and no play makes Johnny very dull.  Nobody wants to be around you if all you do is talk work.  All you know is work.  All you are is work.

Often the way to break this habit is to play golf, be in the moment at your children’s activities, travel, do something that adds to your subject matter rather than just work.  If you can talk to people about normal, common things, they will relate to you more.

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Seasonality In Business

When you think of seasonality, you might think of hunting or fishing season.  Maybe you think of the seasons of the year such as Summer, Winter, Fall, and Spring.  Or maybe you think of seasons of life.  But business also has seasons and there are two kinds.  One kind of season has to do with the business cycle when you have boom times and bust times, or growth and recession.  The best time to start a business is at the end of a recession as the economy is starting to grow again, because weaker businesses tend to vanish during recession and because there has been pent up demand that is starting to be released.

The other kind of seasonality in business has to do with yearly cycles in sales.  For instance, winter coats sell best as winter is starting to set in.  Winter coats don’t sell well in the heat of summer.  Most retail products have selling seasons with the most common being the Christmas selling season.  That is the pinnacle of all seasons with people buying gifts for others, and most products are impacted by gift giving.  There are exceptions to this rule so you must really know your product and perhaps gather data over a couple years to really know for sure when it sells the best.

Why is it important to know when your product sells best?  Advertising for a product outside of a selling season is like trying to run against the wind.  You might move a bit but you are going to have to put in a lot of effort, resources, money, etc. to get it done.  Now if you are selling during the product’s busy season, it’ll be like running with the wind, you will find it much less effort to sell.  So your advertising dollars are best spent during or just before the product’s busy season.

Another reason that knowing the product’s busy season is important is that you will be impacting your customer service if you run out of the product at the right time, so you may need to stock more during the product’s busy season than during the off season.  One of my clients doesn’t have the warehouse space to keep a full stock of all items so they use seasonality to stock the right items at the right time and only use the warehouse space needed.

Do you find it really really difficult to sell your product and you are thinking about giving up?  See if your product has a season and make sure it is the right time of year for your product.  You may also want to check the economic climate and see if that might have an impact on your product sales.  We find that we get flooded with orders for our gourmet baking goods line towards the end of the year but orders trickle in during the rest of the year.  If we gave up when things were slow, we might miss out on the end of year sales.  By contrast, many people try to lose weight or start a business after the first of the year, when they make their new year’s resolutions.  If you are selling a weight loss product or business opportunity, you might want to see how you do early in the year.

Do you notice any interesting seasonalities with your product?


Mud-Slinging And Other Political Mistakes

I saw a ton of mud slinging in the past week as the elections wrapped up.  “My oppoent is doing or will do this wrong…”  I mean, come on, don’t you know the one major rule of advertising?  You don’t advertise for your competitor by mentioning them.  Most people are smart enough to look beyond the rhetoric and see what is really going on.  And some people will vote for the name they hear the most.  So you have to find some way to promote yourself without comparing yourself to your opponent.

It’s soooo easy to fire back if you’re attacked though.  As hard as it is, you need to continue to promote yourself without directly responding to the mud-slinging sent your way.  Sure, you can indirectly respond to accusations.  But never, ever sling mud back.  Again, you are promoting your opponent at that point and you are making yourself look bad.

Politics in this way plays a roll in business also.  You are attacked by a competitor and you need to respond.  But before you do, take a look at Honda.  Never do they mention a competitor in their advertisements, even though other car companies mention them.  In this kind of an advertisement the other car companies are saying, without meaning to, that Honda is a car worth comparing ours too.  It creates an interest in Honda.  And by not mentioning competitors in Honda’s commercials, Honda is saying that they are beyond compare… that there is nothing like them.

The thing I’ve also noticed about the politics last week is how freekin much money is being spent for advertisements.  Each contender is trying to outdo the other.  I think they would do much better cutting back to a reasonable amount of advertising and let their opponent sling mud at them.  I am not a political specialist, maybe you need to sling a little mud to get elected, but I can tell you that you can’t really buy votes, you have to work for them.  Just like you have to work for customers.  Advertising does have a point of diminishing returns so you might be able to do better with less.

Personally, I’d love to see a contest where politicians have good original ideas that make sense.  Wouldn’t you?

The Danger Of Spending Money On Advertising

You can promote your web site in many ways for free on the internet and off the internet.  You can give out business cards, put a sign in your yard or on your car, put an ad in the free classifieds, get listed on search engines, and so forth.  Advertising for free has one thing in common no matter how you do it: Any business you get from your effort is free from expense.  And by expense I mean actual outlays of cash.  Advertising always has a cost and for free advertising, the cost is usually your time.  Still, you can spend gobs of time advertising for free and you won’t worry about paying your mortgage payment, you just won’t get to watch as much TV or do things outside of your business as much.

When you start spending money on advertising one thing will be perfectly clear: You will get business but there is a cost that you will feel.  And sometimes your paid advertising will get you less business than your free advertising.  Yes that’s right, often you will get business that will not match what you were able to generate for free.  So why spend money on advertising?  Because eventually you will want to do things bigger than you are able to do with free advertising.

Paid advertising is not cheap.  Some advertising is more effective than other advertising though.  For instance, you can spend 25 to 50 cents per click through for google advertising, but I notice that visitors from google will spend more time on the site than visitors from stumbleupon.  Still, you will pay only 5 cents per click from stumbleupon so you can get 5 – 10 more click throughs with them than google.  And stumbleupon could actually be more effective per click because some people that visit will link to the site by giving it a thumbs up.

It is always good to test advertising, both media and format, before going larger with it.  Usually I’ll spend $100 – $200 on a test to see what kind of results I get.  If the test works well, the sky is the limit on how much you can spend.  I used to have a contract with Excite to spend $3000 per month on banner advertising.  You can go much larger than this though.  You usually spend this kind of money after you start making at least this much money with your business, by the way, because advertising will not give you an immediate return on your investment.

In fact, it is probably a good idea to plan out your advertising, to see what your return on investment probably will be and how long it will take you to make money from your efforts.  You can usually figure this out based on your current marketing results if you can gather the right kind of data.  Mainly you want to know what an average customer spends over what period of time, and what kind of dropout rate you have.

In our past business, we tried advertising in many different ways.  I used card decks, small display advertising in magazines, a full-page ad, banner advertising, and several other forms.  Magazines have good hang times, as they stick around for long periods of time.  Banner advertisements are better over time but die quickly.  So there are different advertising strategies that can be used with different effects.  Overall we found that our best advertising was what we could get for free, it just took a lot of time to get it.