It Pays to Advertise
by
Doris Newnam


Some years ago my father frequently told a little story about an overgrown country boy who liked to flirt with the girls at school. One day before class, he boldly wrote on the blackboard, "I can kiss any girl in this room!"

Well, the teacher soon entered the room, and a hush desended as she focused on the bold writing on the blackboard and calmly ask who had written the statement.

Quickly the young man raised his hand and admitted that he had written the daring statement. The teacher admonished him with instructions to stay after class.

When that time arrived, all of the other students left the classroom. His buddies hovered near the door outside and awaited the awesome reprimand that they were sure he would get. However, to their dismay, they heard nothing through the door. But soon the young man opened the door with a big grin on his face. His amazed classmates wanted to know what had happened. He just grinned bigger, waved a smug parting, and said, "Fellows, it pays to advertise!"

While today that could prove to be downright dangerous, or even land you in court, the moral here is, if you want someone to know what you're offering, you need to advertise it.

There are numerous forms, or mediums, of advertising. The first and still a powerful source is "word of mouth", because the spoken word feeds our sense of hearing. Plus, this message is usually being delivered by a friend or family member, and in most cases, lends credibility to the "advertisement".

The printed advertisement became a powerful source as people learned to read the spoken word, thus emphasizing what they'd heard. Added to these two senses, the printed word has endurance; it is visible and you can hold it in your hand and read it again, as many times as you like. While you're not likely to do that very often, you may indeed keep an accompanying story or article. Thus the make up of the printed medium. Something to draw your attention to the page, and while there, the advertiser hopes you will see his/her ad, read it, and respond with some type of positive action - i.e. - with an inquiry or order. The advertiser also knows that your "third eye" will often see things that will not register with you at the moment, but will be instilled in your thinking processes. And if you are exposed to the ad enough times, this lends credibility to the advertisement, and steadily increases your level of awareness and possible curiosity, which will eventually force you to give some type of thought to that advertisement.

Radio followed in the advertising trend and brought the sound of spoken advertisements right into our homes - this time from strangers. A novelty in itself, it attracted listeners who hovered around the various size boxes and were entranced by its every sound. We now had, not only sound, but sound effects, music, and soap operas - so named due to the soap companies' sponsorships of the radio comedy routines, stories, etc.

Advertisers quickly caught on to the power of having their messages reinforced with music and the voice of a popular personality. Of course, films were getting into the act as well and the impact of advertising continued to grow. Then along came television and life has never been the same since! Need I tell you about TV advertising. The powerful medium appeals to the senses of sound, sight, and our inner beings with its background effects. Some are pleasing; some are irritating. But whether we like them or not, they get our attention. And advertisers cherish those 10 second spots so much that they pay thousands, or even millions of dollars to get their message out to you.

Do you rush out and buy what they're selling? Probably not, but after they pound you with it enough, you do think about it, whether you want it, need it, or even hate it. Its called, "The Power of Advertising."

In recent years, Direct Advertising through the US Mail has become a big advertising medium. It has also become a big business in itself. From the one-person small business to the big giants, Direct Mail Advertising has become a dominating force. We tend to call it "junk mail", but what is one person's junk may be someone else's treasure.

Like any other form of advertising, direct mail is a numbers game. You must get your message out to as many prospects as possible. And you must continue to repeat the process. Statistics have shown that the average person does not respond to an ad or sales pitch for the first several times. In fact, the number is much higher. Proof in point, use your own response to both new and familiar products or services as an example. But a big advantage to Direct Mail Advertising is its availability to anyone and everyone. The advertiser can send as little or as much as he or she likes. The medium is frequently used by the small business operations and home businesses, as well as the giants such as the sweepstakes folks. I don't need to tell about them!. But stop and compare the differences here. The small operation mails out a handful to maybe a few hundred pieces of advertising mail. The really aggressive, mail several thousand. The responses dribble in, if at all, and the advertiser wonders what happened. Now compare: The sweepstakes people mail millions. How many people throw those things away? Obviously, some people do order. Obviously, a lot of people do order. But now let's look at percentages. They sent millions - got back probably 1-2 percent. You sent a few hundred - got back 1-2 percent. One percent of 100 is only 1. Of course, even that is no guarantee, these figures are just averages. But my point here is be realistic in your expectations of advertising. Advertising is not a "sure thing". It is a "vehicle" for getting your message out. And the best ingredient you can put into your message is persistence so that eventually that 1 becomes 2 and 2 becomes 4, etc.

To add to the confusion or choices - depending on how you look at it - now there is a new generation of advertising. Believe it or not, it's actually still in its infancy, but like other infants, it will only grow, and grow, until one day it matures and passes with time like all else in this life. However, I doubt any of us will live long enough to see its passing, only possibly to see it take on new forms as it becomes more and more a way of life, just as the TV has. If you haven't guessed, I'm referring to the new wave of technology, the Internet, now making its mark in our society.

This new medium not only offers new ways of communicating and advertising, but it has two very important elements that are missing with TV advertising. TV advertising is dominated by the "big guys", and their big dollars have eliminated the average person from advertising in that medium. Newspapers, radio and magazines are also reaching out more to the big advertiser and leaving the average person behind. Postage costs are eating away at the numbers of home business mail order, as many turn to the Internet instead.

For now, the Internet offers affordable advertising to anyone who wishes to avail themselves of its many services. That is a very important element for the Little Guy, for the Entrepreneur, the MLMer, the Home-Based Business, and the extension of traditional businesses now encouraging employees to work from home, thereby cutting overhead in many areas.

The other extremely important element of this new wave of high tech communication is the "hands on". No other form of advertising gives the recipient of the message the ability to instantly respond with impulse actions quite like E-Mail or the Web Page. True, the telephone is available, and it, too, has played a big part in advertising. But too often the telemarketers risk offending more than gaining acceptance of their product because of the intrusive nature of the call, frequently "demanding" an answer on the spot. Human nature being what it is, most of us resent that and respond accordingly.

However, on the Net, most often, we are surfing on our computer screen without benefit of audience. We find and see and are able to do things and communicate according to our own whims. Thus, we are also free to choose or not to choose the things we find and see on the Internet. So like other forms of advertising, the ads on the Internet must have appeal. And with the Internet, the ads become an interactive medium for the targeted audience. Consequently, your webpage must give the Internet viewer a reason to look at your page, then a reason to read it, a reason to respond, and a reason to come back. Most sales are made after repeated exposure to a product or service. So persistence with your advertising is paramount! You CAN NOT expect people to give credit to your product or service if you are "here today; gone tomorrow"! Sometimes advertising costs can only be justified by giving you credibility in the market place. So, Distributors, Marketers, Home Workers -- whatever you call yourselves -- chin up, smile big, and just simply "hang in there". That's what the "Big Guys" have to do! If you want to succeed, you really must advertise. And you must do it over, and over, and over... It's kind of like prayer... Paul said that we must "Pray without ceasing." We must advertise without ceasing... and throwing in a bit of that prayer won't hurt either.

And to practice what I preach...

"My Business is to Advertise YOUR Business!"
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