I picked up the Yellow Pages the other day looking for auto insurance and was amazed at how many advertisers considered themselves “#1 in customer service”, how they had “integrity”, were “honest”, “the best”, were “experienced”, etc., etc., etc., and when I saw this my eyes glazed over in boredom and moved on. Because it is words and phrases like these that are considered marketing poison. They are so overused and unbelievable to a prospect that by using them in your marketing pieces and business cards, you come off as just another salesperson and just another company. No more, no less.
- John Smith Real Estate: Your one stop shop for all your real estate needs
- Maggie and Tom Arnold Real Estate: Spouses Selling Houses
- ABC Insurance: Integrity, Honesty, Service…we have it all
- Bradford Mortgage Inc. #1 in Customer Service 6 years in a row!
How many ads do you see like this every day in EVERY INDUSTRY? The Yellow pages, newspaper, magazines, Internet… this crappy, ineffective garbage is everywhere and the said fact is, is that the entrepreneurs who put this out there think that they are putting in the effort, and that it is a numbers game and someone will eventually call. Well HELL, even a broken clock is right twice a day, but it is not as expensive as this. ALL YOUR MARKETING PIECES ARE MEANT TO DO ONE THING… CREATES LEADS… THAT’S IT! They are not meant to sell, but to bring in leads so you can pick and choose who you want to do business with (more on that later).
Now, back to my auto insurance story.
So I decided I need to obtain auto insurance at a good rate because the rate I was getting at that point was outrageous. Lots of speeding tickets (no OUI’s) will do that to you. So needless to say, I was a SERIOUS BUYER! I had made my mind up to buy insurance ASAP and my radio station was adequately tuned into WIFM.
Well, like any red blooded American I was going to start with the Yellow pages then go check out the Internet. I wanted to deal with some live people first, get some feedback on my options (and some opinions on my driving record) then take it from there.
As I flipped through the Yellow pages I was looking for something or someone to help me make a BUYING DECISION. Give me some advice, get me excited… MAKE ME WANT TO CALL YOU… and nothing. Nada. I mean, take a look at a few of the ads that were prominently displayed and ask yourself; “Why would I call them?”
I am a SERIOUS PROSPECT READY TO BUY AUTO INSURANCE and come across this? Pictures of 12 of their agents? A cute slogan? This ad must be costing them at least $3,000 a month in the phone book and this is all they have to say to me?
- Where is the magnet to draw me in?
- Where is the emotion builder?
- WHERE is the call to action?!!
I looked at this ad for a maximum of 5 seconds and turned the page. Me, a serious buyer, a serious prospect… THEIR PRIME TARGET! I turned the page and moved on. Their goal, the SOLE reason they get up in the morning is to SELL INSURANCE and all they did was attempt to sell me their %$&*$ picture! And people wonder why their sales are down.
OK, so now I come to these ads:
They got the pictures of themselves, got their logo, a cutesy slogan, what they sell…yada, yada, yada… yet NO WHERE in there is there a compelling reason for me to do business with them. Again, you’re looking at $2,000+ per month in the Yellow pages for marketing pieces like this and for what? I ask people all the time “how is the Yellow pages working for you” and their typical comeback is “not a lot, but hey, I’m building my brand.”
Brand? What brand? You’re a small business or sole proprietor not Pepsi or Coke with millions and millions at your disposal to spend on advertising and your “brand”. Trust me, NO ONE IS GOING TO REMEMBER YOU! Prospects are no loyal. Never have been, never will be. Spending thousands and thousands of dollars of your hard working money on promoting your brand or logo is a losing proposition, and there are tens of thousands of small (and even massive companies) in the graveyard to prove it.
Bottom line, it is about creating a solid, magnetic Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and then backing that up with a powerful marketing foundation in which to support it. Millionaire wealth is created this way and quite honestly the ONLY WAY TO CREATE MILLIONAIRE WEALTH… in any industry. And until you separate from the pack with a clearly defined USP and a clearly defined marketing system, massive wealth and long term success will always be out of reach.