Tell it to me straight.

Have you ever been in a hurry and someone stops you to tell a story? You want to be polite, but you really want the person to get to the point. You want to know if what the person is telling you is worth stopping for. If it’s valuable or worthwhile, you’ll gladly listen. If not, then you’ll hurry on your way.

I’ve just described advertising, folks. You, or your potential customer, is doing something — watching TV, listening to the radio as they drive to work, or maybe surfing the internet after a long day. Whatever it is they’re doing, they are not looking for advertising. No one thinks to themselves, “I got a few minutes, I think I’ll find out what this guy wants to sell me.”

Every ad you place essentially says, “Excuse me, please allow me to tell you about _____.” That’s true even for opt-in or permission based marketing. When that person stops to hear what you’ve got to say, it had better be good. It had better be relevant. If not, they’re moving on to something else.

What does this mean to a small business? Well, it means that no one cares that you’ve been in business for so-many years, that you’re family-owned and operated, or that you’re an integral part of the community*. They want to know what you can do for them. Once they see that your product/service is relevant to their needs and desires, you’ll have their attention.

*Okay, actually people do care about these things, but only after you’ve established relevance. They may add credibility, but they are no substitute for a relevant message.

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