There are a lot of “distractions” in the marketing arena today – there are a lot of people who are blogging about marketing.
There are those who are saying that advertising is a wasted expense for your small business.
There are those who say that all you need is a Twitter account and a blog to promote your small business.
There are those who think social media is the free and easy way to promote your business.
I am truly AMAZED at how WRONG some people can be.
I understand that “conventional” advertising requires the small business owner to write a check. I also understand that small business owners are ALWAYS on the look out for ways to minimize the the number of times that they have to write checks – and if they can stop writing checks to pay for advertising – then all the better.
However, before the small business owner decides to cancel his or her traditional advertising contracts and sign up for a Twitter account and a free WordPress.com blog – there are a few things to consider.
Jason Cohen of Smart Bear Software says it best in his post, “Please stop saying social media marketing is free”
Social media is expensive. In fact, it’s more expensive than traditional media. It just comes in the form of spending time instead of spending money.
Jason goes on to write:
when I paid a lot of money to get into newspapers and TV, my message got in front of people. If I publish a blog, no one cares. Unless, that is, I also do SEO and participate in forums and guest-post on blogs and host events and…. oh, hey, what do you know, that all takes a lot of time!
So the first question you need to ask yourself, as a small business owner who is considering whether or not to invest in “traditional” media advertising is this:
DO YOU HAVE MORE TIME THAN MONEY?
That’s truly the first question you need to ask yourself before you abandon traditional advertising and embrace the wild and wonderful new world of social media marketing.
However, even if the answer to that question is a resounding “yes” – you still may not want to write off traditional advertising mediums just yet.
See, there’s something reassuring about seeing an ad for a small business in traditional media. When you see an ad on television or in the newspaper, there’s an instant “credibility” boost for that business.
In order to illustrate this, let’s pretend you are in the market for a new television. There’s a new electronics store that hasn’t invested in signage and is inhabiting retail space in a sparsely populated strip mall. Down the road is the heavily advertised electronics store whose ads you’ve been seeing in the newspaper, on television and on the radio since you can remember. Maybe you can’t specifically recall the ads – but you know the established store has been there “forever”.
Which store gets your business?
Believe me when I say that the heavily advertised electronics chain doesn’t enjoy writing checks any more than you do – however, they recognize that in order to win sales, they have to place their ad in front of their target customers CONSTANTLY!
One essential role that traditional media advertising plays is building consumer confidence in your business. Customers KNOW it costs money to advertise – and that advertisement is more than just a way to drive business – it’s a way to inspire consumer confidence in your business’ viability.
Advertising plays an essential role in small business success. Social media tools may not require you to write big checks – but they do require a significant investment of time – something time starved business owners need to keep in mind.