What Marketing Works Best for Independent Businesses?

Does the money you are spending on marketing make you money?

Generally, there are two main categories that marketing falls into. Brand advertising and direct response advertising.

Brand advertising is about creating a positive image for your restaurant and getting people to know and remember your name.

Direct response advertising is about getting people to take action and spend money in your business.

So which type of marketing works best?

Brand advertising is most of what you see every day in magazines, newspapers, TV, billboards and on the radio.  It is the process of creating a unique name and image for your product or service in the minds of consumers, the traits that people think of when they picture your brand. It demonstrates the “feel” or personality of your business. It focuses on creating your particular brand identity to capture the attention of potential customers. Often people use the phrase “it gets my business name out there”, wherever “there” is. This type of advertising typically includes visuals such as logos, slogans, photos or videos.  It is what the large chains and corporate entities do because they have many locations and deep pockets.

An example of a company that uses brand advertising is Coca-Cola. Their marketing involves strong emotional associations and a consistent brand identity that we recognize over years.  The task of brand ads is not to sell the product as fast as possible, but to create a strong brand identity.

For most independent Business Owners, brand advertising is expensive. It is designed to build an image of your business, so people are inclined to think positively about it. It uses media that cover large areas of the population, which means you end up paying to market to people who aren’t even near your business. There is no way to track the response from brand or image advertising, which is why it is so popular with advertising sales reps. Many of advertising sales representatives are simply selling space in their media – previously it was space in the yellow pages, now it’s often a spot on their website or directory. They aren’t held accountable for results.  If sales don’t improve from their marketing, they can blame the economy, the weather, the frequency of ads (you didn’t run it enough), or YOU (your product, your service, your atmosphere, etc.).

It’s Not A Good Use Of You Marketing Dollars. 

Direct Response advertising, on the other hand, is trackable and is results-based. It contains a headline that immediately creates curiosity in your prospect, which is often personalized. It has a deadline to drive a sense of urgency. It has a specific offer. All of this is done to draw the in the prospect and make them choose YOUR business over the competition. Direct response provides measurable, concrete results.  It means your marketing dollars are held accountable so you aren’t wasting money. You know the ROI of a campaign, so you can decide if it is worth repeating. It is by far the best type of marketing for Independent Business Owners.

Three Steps to Marketing That Works for Independent Businesses:

Step 1: You Need To Know If Your Marketing Dollars Make You Money.

Direct Response advertising is based on two premises:

  1. Most independent businesses have limited capital to spend on their marketing.  Why waste your marketing budget on ads you don’t know the results of?
  2.  The only reason a business advertises is to get more customers to buy more from them.  

The marketing we produce for our clients concentrates on that second premise. Direct response marketing elicits action because it contains a headline to attract customers, then it makes a complete and compelling case for the offer. It tells the customer that it can solve a problem in their life and provide a valuable benefit. It backs up its claims with evidence in terms of a strong guarantee and customer testimonials to combat your prospect’s natural skepticism.  It creates urgency and gives the customer exact instructions to gain the advertised benefits.  And finally, it absolutely must provide a way for the Business Owner to track exactly what sales are generated by that particular marketing.  All of your marketing must have quantifiable results.

Step 2: Target The People you KNOW Will Spend Money With You.

It is far easier and cheaper to get a customer to return than it is to get a new customer.  Surveys show that new customers spend much less than established customers, too.  Gathering information from your established customers enables you to market to them in the future, influencing them to come in more often and buy more when they come. Your marketing needs to be highly targeted to people who are most likely to spend money with you.  The simplest way to do that these days is to sign existing customers up to a loyalty program that offers them points and rewards for their patronage.

But Points And Rewards Aren’t Enough To Move Your Profit Needle.

Once you have their contact information, you can send them personalized, effective marketing that entices them to return sooner and spend more money. Your marketing will build a relationship with them, creating a loyal bond, far beyond what earning points can do.   Your existing customers are the greatest opportunity for sales growth IF you are continually nurturing them.

Putting time and resources into continually attracting new customers is the biggest mistake of most businesses. They are overlooking their best potential market by not marketing more to their established existing customers.  These are people who already know and like you,
they know how to find you, they need much less convincing to come in again. 

Step 3: Build a Iron Cage

Your customers are people with families and obligations who live busy lives, and points aren’t a big enough motivator.  They need to be reminded of your business and what you can offer them, how you can benefit them.  It’s impossible for you to accomplish this if you don’t know their names and how to contact them.  If you are simply hoping that your business has left them with such a positive feeling that they’ll feel inclined to return again, you are fighting a losing, and expensive, battle.

Create marketing that is designed to create a bond with the reader, that builds an “iron cage” around them so that you are the first and only option they think of when they need what you are selling.  Establish a relationship by showing that you understand them and their life. Relate to them on an emotional level.  Your strength as an independent is your ability to create and foster relationships with your customers.  That is your competitive advantage.  The larger brands can’t do this because they aren’t a person, they are a corporate entity.

Focus On Marketing That Works for Independent Businesses

Direct Response marketing will garner you tremendous results, and the better your customer list, the stronger a relationship and connection you can build and the better your quantifiable response will be.

We can create it all for you, a customer list, a loyalty program and a comprehensive marketing program that builds your iron cage and results in increased transactions and higher transaction value. We’ll even get you customer feedback offline, so you know where your business can improve and we’ll get you more positive online reviews, marching you up the online review site rankings.

Royalty Rewards® is a complete marketing system that utilizes direct response principles to get you the highest return on your marketing dollars spent.  Book a no-obligation call by clicking the button below to see how Royalty Rewards® will work for your business.