Last Update: Mar 27th, 2013

Advertising and Public Relations

Marketing a business is the most difficult thing that a business owner has to do; it's relatively easy to make a product that people find useful, but getting them to spend their hard-earned money on it is another matter. Many businesses do no marketing at all; many businesses with good products go under because they don't position themselves properly; or because nobody knows about what they are offering.

If you have a good product, people will come. IF, and only IF they know about your offerings. The biggest problem in Fort Lauderdale is getting your message out. The combination of diminishing print media with too large a coverage area, ineffective PR firms, and poorly focused marketing create a black hole for your advertising dollars.

Building Your Business

Marketing should be about building your business and your customer base, not one-time events or loss leader "deals" which bring in people who aren't likely to become regular or even semi-regular customers. Every dollar you spend on such things is a lost opportunity; an opportunity to do something that might actually have a long term effect on your business. Your biggest enemy is time; every month that you spend doing nothing or engaging in an ineffective marketing program is time wasted.

Marketing is a no-brainer, but you need a Plan

So many businesses here in Fort Lauderdale do no marketing at all. The reason that you must market is Hope. If you do no Marketing, then you have no hope. But poorly conceived marketing is like buying a lottery ticket; you have some hope, but you have little chance of a return. A good marketing program should always return more than it costs. You don't need to spend a lot; you just need to spend wisely.

Half Off Coupons Waste your Time

A lot of businesses buy into the "half off" or big deal coupons, rationalizing that they don't cost them anything if they don't sell. But if they do sell, you don't make any money,so what good is it? You're wasting your time; time you could have been investing in getting new customers that might actually return to your business. Coupon seekers only go for the deals. They'll never pay your full price. You're wasting your time with these coupons. They just make you feel that you're doing "something". But it's not real marketing. It's marketing for amateurs.

Regular Customers are your Bread and Butter

Building a regular customer base is the most important thing you can do. Do you wonder how seemingly bad, outdated businesses survive? They have lots of loyal, regular customers. The more regular customers you have, the longer you can weather slow times. When you do effective marketing, you slowly building your customer base. If you own a pizzeria, how much is one regular customer worth? Maybe a few $100 a year? So if you think about it, you only need to get 1 or 2 new regulars every month to make your marketing campaign pay off.

Mass Media Advertising

There was a time when newspapers, magazines and radio were your only choices. Everyone used to read the newspaper, and advertising was prohibitively expensive. Radio was good for some things, but it's always been difficult to get a good bang for your buck on Radio. In order to get an ad in the time slot you want, you have to buy lots of time slots you don't want that are utterly useless, like in the middle of the night.

Today, newspapers have become so diminished in their readership that they're just not good places to advertise. Newspapers are desperate for dollars, and they squeeze too many ads on a page. They write lots of articles about nothing just to generate page hits online and to create more pages to run more ads. This is called "noise". The more noise, the less effective the advertising.

Audience Focus

Advertising is all about the Audience. Who is seeing the ad? Where are they located? Are they likely to become a customer?

One of the big problems with newspaper advertising has always been coverage area. The Sun Sentinel and New Times, for example, have large coverage areas that stretch from West Palm Beach to North Miami. If you're Duffy's or Burger King; you have locations all over South Florida and your target Audience are locals, then Newspapers work well for you. The same goes for Radio. But if you have a single location in Fort Lauderdale or Delray Beach, or even 2 locations; you're paying for a lot of people to see your ad that will never be your customer simply because they live too far away.

Also, because Fort Lauderdale and Delray are Tourist towns, reaching visitors is very important. Do tourists read the local newspapers or listen to local radio? Maybe once they've gotten here, but in today's world, people research their vacations BEFORE they arrive. By the time they get here, they've already put together a list of places to visit by researching from home over the Internet.

More Focused Audience

When you look at some publications, it's easy to figure out why advertising there is ineffective.. Most online publications have no strategy other than to maximize page hits. When an online site has lots of "stories" with women in bikinis or about celebrities or national Brands, they're generating a lot of page hits from all over the country. These are very low quality page hits, because they're not people who are likely to buy your product.

Out editorial strategy is to attract a local audience with quality content. Our content is intended to be of interest to local readers. We don't write articles about Celebrities; we don't comment on articles written in the NY Times. Our content is designed to attract a demographic that has value for advertisers in the Fort Lauderdale to Delray Beach corridor.

For Tourists, Google is King

Fort Lauderdale and Delray Beach are different than other places in the country, because much of the economy is driven by Tourists. Getting tourists into your business is the difference between just surviving and getting that Lamborghini you've had your eye on.

Tourists aren't reading the local blogs and "publications", and they're not listening to local radio. Tourists plan their trips by Googling. Our research shows that most tourists plan their trips before they arrive. They plan their trips using sites like ours.

Hiring a PR Firm

The biggest mistake that businesses with a lot of money make is hiring a PR company to market their business instead of a marketing company. Most PR firms are a bunch of people who throw really good parties but who have no idea how to properly position a business. If you're trying to create a party-type image, PR can help. But in the modern world, PR agencies can do more damage than good. Marketing your business with the wrong message can cost you a lot of money.

The truth is that the old model of PR is broken. Think about it. You pay a bunch of people to get some blogger to print a blurb about your business. Or maybe you get a paragraph in a newspaper that does 800 articles per week. In a few days, your info is buried in a sea of noise. Usually, the only way that they can get someone to print something is with some gimmick; some one-time event that might get attention. You've put a lot of sweat into your business; do you really want it marketed with a gimmick?

Marketing and Public Relations, the Right Way

Maybe you have a PR firm now. What are they actually doing for you? Do they get some obscure blog or publication to print a favorable review?

Do you know that planting fake reviews and testimonials is illegal? Did you know that your business could be liable for False Advertising charges if you or your PR firm posts "shill" reviews on Yelp or UrbanSpoon or OpenTable? Are you willing to possibly pay big fines if the FTC decided to crack down on such practices?

The problem with most PR is that the PR firms don't control the media. They don't have their own audience; maybe they have a bunch of people on their facebook page, but you have no idea who those people are. Most of them are probably other PR firms and journalists. Your customers don't follow PR firms; other PR firms do.

Most PR firms down here don't know anything about marketing; they throw pretty good grand opening parties, and then proceed to position your business in a way that has little chance of being successful. If you have your own marketing department and you're using PR to get your message out, fine. But if you're relying on a PR firm to market your business, in many cases you're making a big mistake.

Unlike PR firms, we control the media. We can get you on the front page. We can drive traffic to your information. We don't write articles just to fill space. We minimize the noise. We can't make people buy what you're selling; but we can make sure people know what you have.

We put your information in a place where people can find it for long periods of time. Not some blurb in a newspaper that's buried the next day. Search Engines know about quality content. And we know how to get your information in places where people using search engines can find it.

Put your Business on our Map

We list all restaurants and major hotels in our coverage area as part of our comprehensive approach to providing information to the public. But if your venue isn't listed, if you advertise we'll add your info to the map. That goes for any retail business, whether it's an auto-repair shop or a shoe store.

A Good Marketing Plan

From a Marketing 101 perspective, there are 3 classes of people.

1) People who have been to your venue before and have their own opinion based on their experience.
2) People who have heard of your business but who have never been there.
3) People who don't know that your business exists.

A good marketing plan addresses all 3 classes above. You want to try to convince people who've been to your business that they should come back. You want to provide as much info as you can about your business so that 2) people can learn about your business, and you want to do branding; random display advertising, so that you can get people who don't know about your business to become curious about it.

Targeted Online Marketing: More bang for your Bucks

The idea behind advertising in a local newspaper has always been that it's a way to get your message to local people. Now that newspapers are online, that is less the case now. You can buy advertising in a particular section of a newspaper, but your "local" area is still very large. Are people from Weston and Lake Worth going to come to your business? If you have multiple locations, perhaps. If you own a business in Fort Lauderdale, you're paying for a LOT of page views by people who are not going to be a customer when you advertise in a newspaper.

The more focused a site is; the more valuable the advertising. If 90% of a site's audience is a potential customer, the advertising is worth 3 times as much as a newspaper where your target may only be 30% of their readership.

Choosing Where to Place your Advertising

Before you buy advertising, closely examine the publication where you'll be advertising. Think about the kind of people who will see or hear your ad, and where they live. Magazines will tell you that 1000s of people get the publication. But how many people really read those magazines you get in your mailbox? How many people read it cover to cover? And how many people do more than just skim through a magazine looking for pictures that catch their eye?

For online advertising, look at a week of content. Try to think about who would be interested in the articles and whether the articles have local focus. Articles about celebrities, national figures, national brands will generate Google hits from all over the country. Another trick is using words like "Porn" or other sexual words, which generate page hits from people looking for porn sites from all over the world. Do they do articles about bikini models, or put up racy pictures? These are common tricks used to get useless "page hits". The problem is, you're paying for those page hits. The more garbage content a publication has, the less value the advertising.

You also have to worry about your business image. Do you want to advertise your business in a publication that has a bloody hand on the front and prostitution ads in the back? Maybe if you have a head shop. Otherwise, probably not.

Leveling the Playing Field

If you wonder why the Big places get all the tourist traffic, it's because they spend a lot of money. They grease concierges and run big ads in travel publications. They partner with Hotels. They hire PR firms and promotional firms to spread "positive" propaganda about their venues. In the old days, there was no way to compete with the big, PR machines.

Get in the Game for $100 per Month

We have a simple, tiered approach to helping you market your business. Would you spend $100 per month to know that tourists planning their trips know about your business? Would you pay $100 a month to know that every day more and more people were finding out about what your business is all about?

If we told you that one program would work for everyone, then we wouldn't be telling you the truth. Depending on your location, your product, your competitors and your goals; different approaches will produce different results.

How we can Help

We have 3 simple plans to get your message out. For details, See the Rate Card.

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