6 Musts for Small-Business Advertising

The Small Business Administration says that a small business should devote 5% of its gross sales to advertising. Using the SBA formula, a business that grosses $500,000 yearly — which many a growing company does not — should plow $25,000 a year into promoting sales. That is chump change compared with the $2.4 million the average 30-second Superbowl television commercial cost for time alone. Yet many small businesses have to scratch hard to come up with $25,000 to pay for the advertising that fuels their growth. All the more reason they need bang for their bucks. Here, from consultant Darrell Zahorsky, are six ways to make your advertising explosive:

Stress a single message

Your advertising must get your point across simply and quickly. Mark Joyner, in his landmark book “The Irresistible Offer,” writes that an advertiser has exactly three seconds — out of 86,400 seconds in a day — to lodge a selling idea in the minds of a prospective customer.

Make believable promises

The more people are exposed to advertising, the less they trust it. Marketing expert Roy H. Williams says: “Any claim made in your advertising which your customer does not perceive as the truth is a horrible waste of ad dollars.”


It takes deep pockets to fly by the seat of your pants. Use coupons, codes, and specials — not instinct or wishful thinking — to measure your headlines ... timing ... copy and graphics ... media. Change only one variable at a time. Otherwise, you will wind up with an unreadable test.

Clarify all available contact paths

Surprisingly many advertisers forget to include complete information that tells people all the ways — U.S.-mail, Web site, and e-mail addresses ... phone and fax numbers ... branch-office locations — they can use to reach you.

Match your messages to specific target markets

For example, Zahorsky advises, NordicTrack exercise equipment promotes cardiovascular benefits in medical journals and weight-loss advantages in women’s magazines.

Satisfy curiosity

“Successful business advertising does not sell a product or service,” Zahorsky says. For instance, NordicTrack offered information in a free video. Result: millions of dollars of sales.

See also:

Advertising Copy Home Page

Marketing Tactics Home Page

Marketing Home Page

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