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April 24, 2016

Afraid to Advertise? Some People Are. However, the Time and Effort it takes to Advertise, is Worth It.

By Mike Hampson, owner, Helicopter Links

(San Diego, California, USA): In the late 1990s, I was selling industrial equipment and would read the trade magazines in our office. I noticed that our company in San Diego was not advertising.

I asked my boss about it and he proclaimed with a smile on his face that he had a budget of $8,000.00 a year (USD), from the home office, to advertise with but he never advertised because this made his year-end numbers look better. (Because on paper, it would show as $8,000.00 in profit, if he didn't spend the money.)

"Wow," I thought, "my boss is proud at his decision to lose potential business for just $8,000.00 measly dollars." (I thought his line of thinking was completely nuts and this was before I was a yellow page sales representative.)

I worked for two yellow page companies in the early 2000s. Our managers were very good at their job and really knew the ins and outs of yellow page advertising and how customers reacted to advertising. My one manager, Patricia, told me there are those business owners who don't need to advertise but they do and there are business owners who need to advertise but they won't. I later found out from experience that this was a true statement.

In the yellow pages, I once had a customer who was a VP in their company and he couldn't approve the renewal of their ads for the following year. He had to get approval from his "higher ups". Here's a person who wants to advertise and has talked to the advertising sales person about the benefits of advertising with our company but then a third party actually gets involved who has no knowledge of our conversations and can actually disapprove the advertising dollars with one swift stroke. Wow.

In the helicopter industry (naming no names!), I found out from an advertising agency (a former employee of the agency) that a large manufacturer in the industry didn't advertise with Helicopter Links because the employees were afraid to make a mistake and possibly look bad in front of their peers.

The ad agency did recommend they advertise with Helicopter Links because our web statistics were exactly what this corporation needed and because we actually produced. I also learned that the ad agency knew that some of the advertising outlets that this manufacturer was spending money with, did not produce good results, yet they continued to advertise with these companies. No one within the company would question an employee for renewing an advertising contract with a long time advertising supplier. There you have it. There are big corporations not advertising due to office politics. Translation? Fear. Sad, isn't it?

Of course, I feel the most common reason why small business owners to medium sized companies won't advertise is the fear they might get ripped off. Who wants to be sold? And who wants to be sold a bad bill of goods? Who wants to make a mistake? So I'm guessing that "it's better to not even try," type of attitude, is also something that stops people from advertising.

When you buy a new set of rotor blades, paint, Avgas, an engine overhaul, food or clothing, etc., you can see the product and the product is useful. However, with advertising, you don't receive a physical product that you can use on a daily basis. It's an idea. I think the combination of not being sure if the price is worth it and since it's the buying of an idea, is the one-two punch that scares people away from advertising.

What is the first thing the business owner or the final decision maker in a marketing department needs to know about advertising? What are the types of advertising? There are two types of advertising: Creative and Directional (or Directory).

Two types of advertising: Creative and Directional (or Directory) advertising.Creative Advertising. Creative Advertising includes magazines, newspapers, radio, TV, billboards, websites, trade shows, trade show give-aways, business flyers, business cards and anything else which is not directional advertising. Creative Advertising is where the seller is searching for a buyer and is a good way to brand your company and products.

That is, in a magazine, the user's main purpose is to read the articles, not read the advertisements. The buyer very well might not be interested in buying any particular product that is being advertised at that moment. The advertising is an interruption to the user. Creative Advertising is generally very expensive.

Directional (or Directory) Advertising. Directional Advertising is any type of directory, from the printed yellow pages, to an online yellow pages (like Helicopter Links website) or Google. Google is probably the most used and well know online yellow pages today but the user (probably) never thinks that Google is an online yellow pages!

A directory is where the buyer is searching for the seller. Directory Advertising is an excellent way to advertise, market and brand your company and it's products to buyers in the buying process. With Directory Advertising the buyer wants to look at the advertisements and wants to be sold. Directory Advertising is generally affordable.

What else do you need to know about advertising? Where are you going to advertise? If the budget allows, I would try to have a mix of both Creative and Directory Advertising.

The Non-Designers Design Book and The Non-Designer's Type Book. By Robin Williams.It also helps if you understand a little about graphic design, photography, where area you want to advertise to (your own country, certain continents or worldwide), how you typically gain your customers, good sales techniques, good customer service, what your main products are (that is, what main products and services do you want to be sure to advertise), advertising tracking techniques, having a website, having a customer email list, using social media, hiring a graphic designer (either full-time or part-time), hiring a writer and having a web designer. You don't have to have all these things to know how to advertise but many of these things help the business owner with advertising effectively.

(For example: Did you design your own business cards or did you have an experienced graphic designer make your business cards? You see, any thing that is printed - from business cards, to flyers, magazines, books, posters, to even banners for a trade show - is the job of the graphic designer.

Even if your business card is text only, it is the job of the graphic designer to choose the fonts, the font sizes and to lay out the text properly. A good graphic designer can look at any business card and can typically tell you if a graphic designer was involved in the making of the business card or not.)

I would recommend for every business to have in their library the books, "The Non-Designer's Design Book" and "The Non-Designer's Font Book" both written by Robin Willams. These two books are a great start to good graphic design for the professional and amateur. Another book I'd recommend that all business people read is "The Mac is not a Typewriter" by Robin Williams as well. This is book was relevant when it was first written in 1989 as it is now.

Then one can grow your library over time with books such as "The Associated Press Stylebook" by the Associated Press and other books on writing, graphic design, logo design, web design, web statistics and more. One word of advice when it comes to logos. Logos are fine to have but when you are a small company, I would never try to brand your logo. You don't have the millions of advertising dollars that the huge corporations have and it's not worth your time an effort. When you have a logo for a small to medium sized company, I'd always recommend the full name of your company is spelled out in your logo. This way there is no miscommunication when someone sees your logo.

When your logo is in an ad, your logo should be small, or maybe not even in the ad as long as your name is in the ad. Remember, buyers are looking for products and service they can use when looking at ads. Finding out the name of the company is secondary in nature. Exceptions can always occur, of course, but normally with large corporations. Sikorsky could take out a full page ad in a helicopter magazine with just their logo and nothing else. It would work. Most everyone in the helicopter industry knows the name Sikorsky. However, if you put logo on a full page ad in a helicopter magazine of of a very small business, people are going to stratch their heads. What company is this? What is their website? What products and services do they provide?

A good advertising sales person can usually come up with an effective advertising plan and to have this plan fit a business owner's budget. The business owner's website can tell a sales person what the business owner needs to advertise. If the website has been left unattended, then the business owner really should discuss his top sales goals, his advertising budget, tracking, etc. and a good advertising sales person (like myself!), can help them get the right advertising, in the right place.

To get a better handle on the effectiveness of advertising, a business has to track their advertising. Did you ever wonder why there are coded numbers on coupons? Or an advertisement might say, tell us this code on our ad to get a discount? This is how companies track the effectiveness of their advertising.

Did you know that you can get special phone numbers for each advertising company you do business with so you can tell how many calls are coming in each month and from which advertising companies? If a company is going to track there advertising, then everyone who answers the phone needs to be involved.

Every time someone calls the company, the employee should ask something like this, "We are concerned with how we spend our advertising dollars and did you find our ad on Helicopter Links website?" On has to be very careful on how to ask how they found your company. For example, most people like to be associated with someone else. One could question a potential customer by saying, "How did you find us?" It sounds like a good question, but is it? The customer might say, "I talked to Paul at Heli-Expo at your trade show booth." And the employee ticks the phone call as a credit to the trade show booth. But what if the person found your company online on Helicopter Links right before he called you and he remembered your company because he did talk to someone from your company at a trade show? While the trade show introduced your company to the potential customer, it was Helicopter Links that actually helped that person call your company that day!

This is why it's important to get a good advertising salesperson involved because they can discuss the best ways to track advertising, understand what products you are trying to advertise, help with graphic design, help with writing the ads, and help suggest the best options for advertising.

Last but not least. There are several things that the business owner and the marketing people might not realize. Advertising sales people want their clients to be successful and for the client to get business from their advertising. When advertising sales people discussing advertising, we are really trying to help you have the best advertising program for your company.

At Helicopter Links we offer several services, at no additional charge, to help your ads to be successful.

  • We make your banner ads at no charge. (We also recommend what words and pictures to use in your banner ads as well).
  • We make help write your "Text Ads" (A "Text Ad" is an ad which is about 20 to 30 words, which is in alphabetical order among the listings on Helicopter Links.)
  • When people call us looking for products and services in the helicopter industry, we always recommend our clients first, to these callers.
  • Your ads can be revised or changed at any time throughout the year and without any charge.
  • We offer social media postings each month all clients. (Who meet a minimum required price on their invoice.)
  • We are available year-round to discuss marketing, advertising, branding, tracking of advertising, graphic design and web design, with anyone in your office by phone.

With Helicopter Links, our advertising contracts are for 1 full year (a full 12 months). You receive as many clicks on your ads that you get in a year, for one set price. Advertising can be renewed each year and offer these things above because we want to make advertising as easy as possible for you and we want you to be successful. And please remember that advertise is how you get your company in front of buyers searching for sellers. Advertising helps you marketing and brand your company as well as gain new clients. We hope you enjoy advertising with us, and hope we help you gain more customers so that you want to renew your ads each year.

If you have any questions for us, please feel free to give us a call +1 (858) 413-7074 or email us at staff@helicopterlinks.com and let's discuss how Helicopter Links can help you advertise to buyers in the buying process.

-End article.


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