Tuesday, March 29, 2005

To Brand Or Not To Brand - That Is The Question

Today a lot businesses think they should be concerned with their "brand" or image in the marketplace. That's a valid concern, but not the most important one for most small-to-medium sized businesses.

Why? Because they're trying to advertise like a Fortune 500 company, and smaller businesses simply don't have the cashflow to justify this high-dollar, high-repetition marketing that's hard to measure the results. Another reason is you're competing with so many other brands, images and ads people see on a daily basis; it's difficult to have yours stand out from everyone else's.

Quick Quiz: Name 3 ads that you've seen or heard on TV, radio, in the newspapers or online in the past day or two. Kinda tough to remember, isn't it? Again, that's because of the information overload in the marketplace. If branding isn't the way to go, what is?

Direct-response marketing that you can measure, monitor, adjust and control (in my opinion) is a better and smarter way to market yourself or your business. Why? First of all, people are skeptical about advertising claims and promises more than ever.

By explaining your product, service and company, you show prospects why you're unique from your competitors, and can provide all-important proof to back up your claims and provide credibility.

Second, when people read your e-mail, print ad, sales letter or Web copy, you've captured the most important assets in the marketplace today - a reader's time and attention. American's attention spans have never been real long to begin with, and seem to have gotten shorter over the past few years.

With an attention-getting (and keeping) letter with the right words, you've captured a person's attention. With image-type ads on TV, people may or may not be paying attention...or, they may use their Tivo and completely blow them off.

My next few posts, I'll go over the different parts of a good sales letter, and keys to making them work effectively for you and your business.