Attention Small Business Owners: Print Ads Don’t Work (Like They Used To)

It used to be that drumming up business for your European bakery, carpet cleaning service  or auto repair shop was simple:  You called the local newspaper and placed a display ad.  Newspaper advertising wasn’t cheap, but if you had a compelling offer or a coupon discount, readers were often intrigued enough to give you a call or pay a visit.

Fast forward to today.  Newspaper advertising still isn’t cheap, in fact it costs more than ever before, even though readership has dropped dramatically in many markets.  So who makes money from newspaper ads?  Newspapers, that’s who!  If ads were ever a good value, they aren’t any more.

coupon mailerPerhaps you’ve heard of coupon mailers.  They’re those envelopes full of nothing but coupons, so surely those must work, right?  Who doesn’t love a discount?  Well, sort of.  In the 4 to 6 weeks a coupon mailer like Valpak or Money Mailer runs a campaign, you may see a bump in foot traffic.  But if the customers are trained to expect coupons and won’t return without one, you could find yourself sacrificing margin to preserve cash flow.  That’s like treading water.  It only works for a short time and then?

This is where the beauty of online marketing comes in.

An online marketing campaign harnesses many tools and opportunities to get the word out there, to bring customers in and to keep bringing them in.  Unlike coupons that expire, your online marketing efforts roll on and on.  Today’s search engines focus on geographical proximity, a fancy-sounding term.  It just means that if a customer searches for a bakery, the first results will be the closest ones.  But this is only effective if those bakeries have built an online presence. It might be easier than you think; happy customers are often willing to write reviews online to share their experiences.  Most people want to help others find the best service providers.  With online marketing, you can be on the short list all over town.

There are so many ways to build your local brand online I can’t cover them all here.  Suffice it to say it would be wise to consult with an online marketing specialist.  We can help you navigate the process and truly bring your business into the 21st century.

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"As a small business owner, I knew how critical visibility on the web was, but didn't know where to start. Ken Ivey at MidTN Technology worked with me to upgrade my website... and taught me many ways I could get my business noticed on the internet - that I didn't know existed. I fully recommend MidTN Technology for not only the expertise, but also for the personal service and professionalism."

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