We have many ways of promoting our business and our services. Some of them are direct, like advertising, and some of them are indirect, like word of mouth referrals. Some are passive, like advertising, social media, and websites. Some are intentional, like personal contact.
We have choices in how we conduct our marketing – depending on our budget, who we want to reach, and what types of services we are promoting. We can invest very little to almost nothing on social media and business cards. We can spend a little bit more on flyers and trifold brochures. We can use pay-per-click (PPC). We can use direct mail. We can have a website with fantastic copy. We can show videos. We can have a series of approaches.
Nevertheless, imagine for a moment that we had to connect to our marketplace using only a billboard. Billboards may not be appropriate for what we are providing – assessments or consulting, for instance. On the other hand, with renovations or assistive products, billboards might be something we would consider.
However, this is not about whether we should have a billboard but about being succinct in our message.
We’ve all seen billboards. Likely, we’ve seen many of them that we cannot read quickly as we are zooming past in our cars. They may read just fine with plenty of useful information if we are stopped in traffic and get a chance to actually read them, but at speed, they cannot be read. Too bad for the advertiser.
An effective billboard has under ten words of copy on it – total. This counts email, websites, and phone numbers – everything. So, what would we say about ourselves that would connect with our intended audience? What do they want to hear or know that would cause them to contact us? Should it be serious or a little lighter? Do we dare be humorous?
Most of us are not going to purchase a billboard and rely on it as our major or sole piece of advertising. But, what if we were to do this? Is one billboard sufficient to tell the marketplace what we want to convey, or would we try to get a second or third one? If we did, would all of the messages be the same, or would we vary them? Would we want them to be related or connected?
This is the essence of coming up with a direction for our company. What basic thing do we offer or represent to the public? What do we want to be known for in our market? What could we say that isn’t being said by our competition – because they haven’t thought of it, or it doesn’t really describe what they stand for or offer?
So, we start with several descriptive words or a sentence of what we want people to know. Then we begin chopping. We have to end up with less than ten words – not because this is a rule and not because we really are going to be getting a billboard. We are doing this so that we are sure of our core message – the handful of words that describe what we offer. Then we can build upon this in other messages on other forums.
A slogan is brief, as is a tagline, and perhaps this expresses what we do or encapsulates it for the public so that they are intrigued to contact us from this short phrase. We don’t have to set out to create a tagline. We just need a brief descriptive, call-to-action phrase that lets people know in a very few words why we want to help them. Then, they can be the judge of whether they are interested in speaking with us.
A billboard won’t be what most of us use for our marketing, but if we can be so clear and concise of what we are all about that we could express it in a billboard appropriate length, we will be conveying our true essence to the public. This is marketing at its finest – sharing what we believe with the public in such a way that they will want to know more or that they will want us to help them.
When we connect with the public in a very simple, basic way, they can see us for who and what we are. We are believing they will like and appreciate this and that they will want us to work with them to address their aging in place needs and concerns.