As a little girl being raised with three Uncles fishing was a huge part of the weekend activity. There were many weekends when the whole “Webb” clan could be found at Hayesville Lake fishing, and that is where I learned the basics. You have to have the necessary equipment, granted this varies based on the type of fishing you are doing, but you must have the right EQUIPMENT none the less. BAIT is the second necessity; this too varies depending on type of fish you are going for. Third is the right LOCATION and last but definitely not least you must have PATIENCE, TIME AND ENDURANCE! These are the necessities of a successful fishing trip and there is a direct correlation between the necessities of successful fishing and the necessities of successful advertising and marketing.
EQUIPMENT: In advertising you must have the proper equipment. No, I’m not talking about software to make your own ads or to build your own website. I’m talking about having a marketing budget built into your business plan. This marketing budget should be reviewed at the minimum bi annually but ideally annually. How much should be in your marketing budget? Well, according to Sba.gov:
“As a general rule, small businesses with revenues less than $5 million should allocate 7-8 percent of their revenues to marketing. This budget should be split between 1) brand development costs (which includes all the channels you use to promote your brand such as your website, blogs, sales collateral, etc.), and 2) the costs of promoting your business (campaigns, advertising, events, etc.).”
For more marketing budget helps for small businesses from sba.gov check the resource box of this article.
Another great piece of equipment is finding someone who understands marketing that will guide you through the process. This person should be fair, honest and have a sincere desire to see your business succeed. And yes, you can find that in an advertising rep, and once you do, my advice is to treat that person as a valued friend or employee even if you don’t have them on your payroll! And remember not every advertising rep that walks through your doors will fit this description.
BAIT: When you are going fishing you have to find bait that attracts the kind of fish you are looking for. Worms and corn work pretty well for trout, it’s chicken liver for catfish and herring if you’re going fishing for the halibut! In advertising your bait has to be tailored to your potential customer as well. Your commercial whether print, television or radio should be appealing to the customer you are after. And just like when your fishing if it doesn’t have a hook inside it’s not going to work! A good ad always has a hook, a call to action, something that will spur your potential client to pick up the phone, to come to your store or at the very least visit your website. Without a hook the best bait in the world becomes nothing more than food for the fishes!
LOCATION: You wouldn’t go fishing for catfish in the Atlantic Ocean nor would you go fishing for a Marlin in Cartoogechaye Creek in Franklin North Carolina, and if you did, you would only be setting yourself up for failure. That same principle applies in marketing. It is absolutely imperative that where you choose to cast your well baited hook be the same place your potential customers hang out. For instance if you have a women’s apparel shop where the target customer is women 25-64, placing advertising on an album rock station or heavy metal station whose demographic according to radioadvertisinghome.com is men 25-44 would be just as much a waste of your time and money as my Uncle Timmy fishing for a Marlin in a small creek in the middle of North Carolina! Another major consideration when choosing location is how many of your potential customers are there in that pool. Would you choose to fish for catfish in a pond of 3 catfish or would you rather fish in a pond that has 500 catfish in it? Well the same applies when picking your stations or mediums to advertise in. There may be two TV stations in your market that targets the same demo the decision lies in picking that one with the most eyes watching! This may mean paying a little more per ad but let’s face it you can fish in a pond for free that has no fish in it all day long and you are guaranteed not to catch anything. I’d much rather invest my money in a pond that has actual fish in it!
PATIENCE, TIME AND ENDURANCE: How many times in your life have you gone fishing and come back empty handed? If you are a dedicated, truthful fisherman you will admit there has been many and probably too many depending on how you look at it… With advertising it is the same. Don’t expect to receive ten calls the first time your ad airs, or even one! The truth is, the consumer has to build confidence that you are a real business before they will trust you enough to take the bait. That confidence generally happens in the first 3 months. And then you have to keep the bait fresh to keep them biting. That means running the same commercial for years at a time would be the same as using the same worm over and over again after it is dried on the hook. Not a good idea. Neither is putting a worm in the water just to reel it back in and head home. But, keeping a freshly baited hook out there is the best way to keep your freezer full and your business growing!