Advertising dollars are hard to come by, so it’s important not to waste them. Yet small and micro businesses often do just that by having inconsistent marketing messages, formats or themes in their advertising.
You need to make sure that your existing and potential clients understand exactly who you are and what you can provide for them.
If your marketing messages are too different, potential customers won’t be able to equate them with your business or brand.
At the risk of focusing on negatives, here are some examples of inconsistency I’ve seen recently:
- A local hairdresser won a prestigious award and took out a (rare) ad in the local newspaper to announce the fact. Although their shop window was well sign-written with their business name and special price offers, the window made no mention of the award at all, and the trophy was displayed on the shelf behind the counter, almost out of sight.
- A small independent store selling beds and mattresses positioned itself as being the ‘little Aussie battler’ in the local market, and ran an advertising campaign involving local newspaper ads and letterbox flyers focusing on this theme. Their store window signage was very busy and covered in prices indicating that they’re clearly able to sell at competitive rates – and yet their radio ads made no mention of price at all.
- A business on busy Parramatta Road in Sydney has not repainted their outside signage for many years. The phone number on the eaves is still the old seven-digit one.
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Run through this checklist and see how consistent your own marketing messages are:
- Is your branding and message consistent? For example – does the signage on your vehicle match what you say on your business card?
- When you advertise, do you use every opportunity to promote your brand as well as this week’s specials? A consistent style helps this enormously.
- Do you have a list of things that need to be updated when things change? Think about it in the same way as you create a checklist of things to do when planning a long holiday, like cancelling the newspaper, forwarding the mail and so forth. For example, if you change your trading hours, location or phone number, you’ll need to update your weekly newspaper ad, your website, your business card and perhaps other media too.
- Have you negotiated with your local newspaper to lock away a regular page position?
Did you uncover any of these issues? You might like to consider taking the time to audit all your marketing and promotional material.
I’ve been guilty of inconsistency myself. I had an outdated corporate logo on my email signature for over a month before someone pointed it out to me. I now have a checklist to go over to ensure this doesn’t happen again.
Have you been guilty of similar inconsistencies in your marketing messages? ‘Fess up below, or dob in a doozie of someone else’s so we can all have a chuckle.