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Return to Articles about Small Businesses

I Don't Want to be Different

by: Brian Grinonneau
I Donít Want to be Different


To succeed in todayís crowded marketplace where most of the products and advertising look exactly the same, a small business owner must stand out, shouting above the din with a message so clear and compelling that prospects stop and take notice. Itís a matter of business survival. Unfortunately, most entrepreneurs quickly retreat to the supposed security of sameness, soon to be lost in a sea of anonymity and a tidal wave of frustration. In effect, albeit at a subconscious level, they are saying , ďI donít want to be differentĒ.

In back room offices and store fronts everywhere, salespeople are telling business owners they should do this or that kind of ad because it worked so great for their competitor. The owners nod and sign on. Itís already proven to be a winner, right? WRONG! Change the name, background color and a font style and youíve got sameness. Put those ads in the yellow pages, a coupon magazine or a TV commercial cluster and youíve got advertising death. Want proof? Ask a small business owner how well their advertising is working. Donít stand too close waiting for the answer.

To make your advertising work, follow the principle if your competition is doing it, donít. Go where they arenít and win the battle without a fight. Resist the urge to get a listing in the phone book because thatís where everyone else is. A coupon direct mailer that features 6 or 7 of your competitors is a poor choice too. Look for new opportunities in direct mail and email campaigns. Look at direct response ideas. In short, try to find the biggest number of clients you can find in one spot. Fish in a barrel, not the ocean.

When youíve chosen different channels to attract your customers, make sure you overcome the ďso-whatĒ factor in your copywriting. An ad for a heating and air conditioning company that says it has certified technicians that will fix your problem quickly is a so-what line. No one is looking for uncertified slackers that will get around to the problem whenever. A moving company that mentions superior insurance coverage makes you think theyíll probably break something. Be creative and write copy that will compel prospects to take action.

Consumers are bombarded by thousands of ad messages every day. There is so much overload they tune everything out. To get their attention, look within your business and find all that you do differently and decide which of those elements your customers most want. Decide how to word it best. and where to position it. Decide you really do want to be different. You have to. Your business depends on it.

About the author:
Brian Grinonneau is the general manager of McMann and Tate Advertising, an agency that works with the small business owner helping them stand out from the crowd.


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