Advertising is the fastest way to burn money.

Mail packets don’t work.
Post cards don’t work.
Telemarketing doesn’t work.
TV doesn’t work.
Print Ads don’t work.
Radio Ads don’t work.
Email blitzing doesn’t work.

None of these methods of advertising will produce sales for your business. Not now. They used to work, but they don’t now.

Dangerous myth: If I get my message to thousands of people and only a few buy, it’s worth it. This is dangerous because it sounds so reasonable. And it’s dangerous because most people in business believe it.

Even those who have wasted money advertising still believe it. They rationalize their mistake this way, “I only sent out 500 mailers. That’s not enough. I need to send 500 more.”

Sending 1,000 mailers, even postcards, will cost you around $1,000.00 That’s not bad. Right? It’s worth the risk because if just one person buys…

But they won’t buy. So the same business will send another 1,000 cards. Then another 1,000. Still nothing. Well, maybe you got a couple of calls. That’s good. Send another 1,000 cards out. The  deception lies in thinking your sample is not big enough to produce results. So you send more. The problem is not with the sample size. But it “feels” like that must be the problem. Reach enough people, someone will buy. 

It is probably true if enough people are reached, you’ll get a bite. But the danger is in the numbers. Reaching 1,000 people with your message is not enough. The number is likely much higher. In fact, the number is so high, it is nearly impossible to profit from advertising unless you are reaching many people who want to buy now. And that number is very small. It takes a lot of exposures to find the one who wants to buy now, at this moment. If you send 1,000 mailers and get one call, the return rate is more likely due to chance than a mathematical statistic that 1 in 1,000 will buy. You will not get 3 from 3,000. We are easily deceived by chance.

The lure of lots of exposures will drag you even deeper financially if you waste money on radio or TV ads. A lot deeper.

The numbers deceive you. People in business think of advertising as they would a game of chance. They think buying enough ‘tickets’ insures success in the lottery of advertising. But there is no jackpot to win. It doesn’t exist. Your thinking is seriously flawed if you believe advertising results are proportional to the number of exposures. Results are proportional to the number of exposures only by reaching those who are open to receiving your message and are seriously interested in what you offer at that exact point in time. Even then, most of the those who respond will not be buyers. They will be shoppers. Alternatives to you are just a Google search away.

There is tremendous competition for attention. People have learned to tune out the incoming messages. They even ignore messages about things that interest them unless they are ready, right then, to buy. How many people are ready, right now, at this moment, to buy your product or service? Not many. Seriously consider how many people you would have to reach in a given instant to find someone ready to buy your product or service at that exact moment.

What if you could advertise only to people who wanted, right now, what you offer? Would your return on advertising expense be better than shouting your message into an uncaring crowd one time? You can advertise to people who are looking for what you offer using Google’s advertising program. When people look for widgets, they find your widget company. Then you must build a relationship to obtain permission to proceed. Sorry, there is no other way that works.

Before you waste a lot of money on advertising, think about looking for people who might be looking for you. Advertise only to people who want what you have to offer. That works. And you know what? It’s cheap.

If you’re not using Google AdWords to market your business, you’re wasting your advertising dollars.

Chris Reich, Author of TeachU’s Business Talk Blog.
[email protected]