Where to spend those few advertising dollars
Monday, October 10, 2011 at 5:46PM
Burak Sarac in Advertising, Information, Online Advertising, Small Budget Advertising, Small Business, Small Business Advertising

Online Promotions

I have been in business long enough to grow tired of every sales person chasing me around. If you're one of us trying to make ends meet in this economy after getting everybody paid while dealing with well trained pack of wolves (sales people if you didn't guess already), you know how agonizing it is. If you're not one of us, I hope you can sympathize. Just think of the last time you got confused and duped into some kind of an extended warranty or additional coverage with your purchase of headphones or minor car repair. Small business owners have always been at a disadvantage against large national companies with virtually unlimited resources and as if this is not enough, we fight with sales people and sales gimmicks to make good use of those few dollars we have left to promote our services.

As much as word of mouth is the best form of advertising, I believe it's not enough. Especially these days when people trust Internet more then their family members. Once you realize it's a must to get the word out and start looking for the best way to advertise you start dancing with the wolves. When you look for reasons to pick one over the other to, every one of them shows you charts, benchmarks, reviews, testimonials, you name it and they got it.

I did dance with the wolves and even though I can never call myself an expert (not even close), I feel I  come up with my own truth. I picked Google. I said no to Angie's List, Facebook, GroupOn, Yelp, YellowBook and many more out there. I do have to admit right of the bet though the type of business you're promoting is very crucial when you're making such a decision. It made sense for my business but may not for yours. There is so much that can be said here about the can of warms I just opened but without going into too much detail, I'll outline my thoughts about these advertising giants.

Let's go over the list of those who didn't get my cash (even though some tried really hard). I eliminated Angie's list pretty quick since I didn't think 1 review we had from a customer was not enough for prospects to choose to call us. I also didn't like the fact that people had to pay to use this site, just something didn't feel right about the idea. Facebook didn't make sense to me either even though I think for some companies out there, it's a great outlet. I just didn't think a beloved Facebook user would decide to use my IT services because my ad just popped up in the midst of a their search of a high-school crash. I have to admit GroupOn was a huge dilemma. We really value each customer and do our best to keep them so our return customer rate is real well. It made sense to use GroupOn since we would get bunch of new clients which we could possibly mostly keep. Once I started investigating further though I totally changed my mind on pursuing this option. We would offer a $100 service for $50 and GroupOn would keep $25 in other words we would provide a $100 service for $25. GroupOn would sell as many as they can and we would have to shuffle to keep up with a flock of new customers for which we're well underpaid. Sounded like this may mean slipping up on the quality of service we provide, getting burned out, and making a bad name for ourselves during the process. Then came the interesting idea of advertising with Yelp. My first thought was that Yelp is a closed community of feedback givers and takers where if you're an outsider your feedback disappears. It didn't make sense to promote to a group of mostly restaurant fans and spend lots of money doing it (they were not cheap at all). Last but not least, YellowBook. I just thought to myself I know no one that goes to their website. Who would even find our ad there?

Google was the choice for us but you may ask Google what? There is AdWords, AdSense, Google Maps, and etc. Not answering that question. They have many products designed for different purposes which I'm not going to get into nor mention which specific product or a combination worked for us since I suggest you do your own homework. Picking Google in general though was an easy choice. It was, and is the most common place for people trying to find things. People like you and I. I said to myself that is exactly the kind of people I'd like to attract.

Article originally appeared on CHAT TECH USA | Computer Repair & Sale, Fast Estimates (http://www.ctuchicago.com/).
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