When it comes to reaching customers through advertising a lot has changed in the last ten years. It seems like only yesterday representatives from the yellow pages and various publications would stop into my business and personally ask for my advertising dollars. Oh they had a nice sales pitch and all, something along the lines of “give us all your money and your ad is guaranteed to be seen by the entire Freshman class at the local university.”
We all know that’s not true, not by a long shot. If anything my ad was more likely to be seen by parents using sheets of wadded up newspaper for packing filler. By the time anyone would really get around to viewing my ad whatever special I was running would be long gone. Now, don’t get me wrong, there is value to advertising in as many places as possible to build brand recognition, you simply cannot guarantee that this form of advertising is going to reach your target audience.
Paper or Plastic?
Let’s be honest, when was the last time you purchased a newspaper, let alone picked one up to read it. You’re not alone. Over 425 million people access news and information via the internet each day. A large, significant cross-section of the world’s population has traded in the bulky, messy paper, for the convenience of their laptop, tablet, and smartphone. Meaning if you want to reach your target audience you have to cross their virtual path, the easiest way to do this is with Facebook.
- Yellow Pages are Outdated – A couple of weeks ago my landlord stopped by and asked to borrow my copy of the yellow pages. My boyfriend looked at our landlord like he was crazy, he had no idea what a yellow pages was, let alone why our landlord would need it with such urgency. Being quick to bridge the generation gap, I explained to my man that yellow pages are something old people use when they want to look up the phone number and address of a business. This led to the question of why couldn’t our landlord look it up on Facebook. Not only would our landlord find the contact information for the business he desired, he would also find valuable reviews, updates, and information regarding special offers.
- No One Reads the Newspaper – Although newspaper advertising offers slightly more flexibility than the yellow pages – think weekly and monthly updates compared to annual – you’re still stuck with the fact that hardly anyone reads the newspaper anymore. Most news readers access their favorite parts of the paper online, circumventing most ads completely as they go straight for the sports and stocks updates. Meanwhile, over a billion people check Facebook each day, spending at least 20 minutes browsing updates from friends and family alike. Imagine how many people you can reach, for free, with a simple update of your business’s facebook page. Make pertinent and timely updates daily and watch your business grow!
- No Way to Track Success of Paper Ads – In this age of instant gratification it’s difficult to monitor the successful reach of your paper ads. Sure, some salesman may come at you with a fishing analogy, explaining that if you cast your net wide and deep you’re sure to catch the rainbow trout you’re after, along with a few perch, bass, and salmon as well. But wouldn’t you rather look at some metrics which demonstrate the demographics of your client base, right down to age, sex, and location? Facebook thought so too, that’s why all this handy information easily accessible on your business page, free of, charge.
What This Means for You and Your Business
The time to become web savvy is now. Social media is booming and you owe it to your business to invest in the low-cost, even free, options available to you. The success of your business relies on wise management of your time and money. After all you don’t want to spend all of your capital on advertising with no guarantee of reaching your target customer. You owe it to yourself to look into your various options for time tracking software and other low-cost ways of staying organized, not only in the early stages of building a following for your business, but throughout all stages of growth. Facebook makes it easier than ever to keep up-to-date with your clients, building relationships that lead to lifelong, loyal customers.