What To Advertise

As a rule, I like some noise in the background when I’m working. The radio is on almost all day. When I do heavy duty writing for a client, there’s typically a classical CD softly playing (no words to sing to that way). I bring all that up because it was a spot for a radio station’s own advertising program that inspired this post.

what to doMost business owners spend a great deal of time and money searching for places to advertise and often give little thought on what to advertise. I’ve seen this with my writing clients. People know they want to advertise but do not do their homework on what to advertise.

Seems like a fairly obvious thing. Ask most business owners what they advertise and they will respond with a question, “I advertise my business. What else would I be advertising?”

What else, indeed.

It’s funny how sometimes we learn from the customer who got away. One recent prospect and I sent several emails back and forth before he simply quit replying to me and my questions. I found it so very interesting for someone who had been doing what he does for so many years that he could not answer the question, “So, what do prospective customers call what it is you do?” His answers became increasingly laced with his obvious frustration. My last message to him was an attempt to explain that if he wants to advertise on the Internet he would need to figure out what people would type into Google to find someone who does what he does.

I basically understood what his service provided but the problem was putting a label on it. His was a perfect example of wanting to advertise without knowing what to advertise.

The transition from print-based, word-of-mouth, and even radio and TV to Internet advertising can prove challenging for some businesses. The proverbial seconds-long elevator speech has to be repackaged into sound bites of a few words called keyword phrases.

Let’s take my writing business and turn it into a working example. My elevator speech might be…

I work with small and medium-sized business owners to explore and develop their marketing materials on the Internet and help them define their unique selling proposition. I do this by working directly with the company to craft the sales presentation that appears on their websites.

It’s only two sentences. But, I don’t have to do any research to know that absolutely no one will ever enter those exact 46 words into the search box on Google, Yahoo! or any other search engine.

To market myself on the Internet, I have to determine what people are looking for and what they might type into that search box. My elevator speech has to be transformed into keywords like: online marketing, copywriter, content writer, business analyst, etc. Were I to meet someone in that proverbial elevator, rattling off my keywords would be ridiculous. However, on the web those keywords are a core part of my advertising – they are what I advertise.

When working on an Internet marketing project, focus on what prospects are looking for and you will discover what you need to advertise. Advertising alone won’t get you new business. It’s knowing what to advertise that turns prospects into customers.

So, think about it. What are you advertising?

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