Products and services are a mixed bag. Some are downright necessities. If my toilet explodes, I need a plumber. If your child wakes up with a high fever, you need a doctor. Raging termites, aching teeth, and lawsuits also require services that are necessities.
But most products and services are more luxury than necessity. I often hire a young man to mow my lawn. But if he's on vacation one week, I'll get my out-of-shape self out there and push the mower myself.
Businesses buy out of necessity 90 percent of the time. Consumers feel a purchase is a necessity more like 30 percent of the time. In many cases consumers could do the job themselves or make the product. More often they simply want to buy to save time and trouble.
It's important to think about how your product or service is considered by customers. Do some consider you a necessity while others figure you provide a luxury?
This can figure in how you promote your business and write your advertising. Necessities should be promoted as an affordable solution to a pressing problem. Stress your competence and caring.
Promote luxuries by pointing out how much better the customer's life will be after she buys. Stress how your product or service saves time, money, and hassle. There is an old saying among advertising professionals: When your ad stresses everything, you stress nothing.
Let me give you an example. Lots of web sites list every single benefit their product or service can give you. You're faced with a long, long list of bulleted points.
Kudos to these sites for putting their features and benefits in easy-to-browse bullets. But they would do far better to focus their sales copy on just a few key advantages.
People tend to skip over copy that tries to stress every feature and aspect of a product. Even worse, many people simply skip over copy that tries to cram in too much.
Make a list of the top three things about your product or service that seem to impress customers most.
Create a headline for your copy that extols the virtues of one of your advantages. Then have your copy introduce the other two points. This keeps your sales copy from becoming overburdening with too much for busy customers to think about.
Of course, many serious prospects want all the information they can get. Save your complete list of features and benefits for a second all-you-can-read page.
Stressing the main points and advantages of your product works well on your web page, but it's a great way to structure a radio or television commercial, too.
Radio and television are excellent buys for many small businesses. It's pretty affordable to advertise through these mass media outlets, not to mention they also allow you to advertise to a very specific audience.
Radio stations format their programming for certain age groups and life styles. Whether you want to reach blue-collar men between the ages of 25 and 35, or white-collar women over 50; there is a radio station for you.
Cable TV systems are dramatically increasing the number of channels they offer. New low- power TV stations are popping up everywhere. Soon, thanks to new digital technology, regular broadcast stations may be able to split their single channel into several. All these new channels need advertising to survive.
Many are offering very affordable rates easily in reach for small business people.
Start by calling the sales departments of radio and TV stations. Ask about rates for advertising at different times of day. Also ask about package deals, where you get a price break for buying a number of spots over time. Keep in mind the kinds of audiences you'll be reaching.
After you have all of this information, you can look at the demographics of your audience and decide if it would be better to push your product or service as a necessity or a luxury. Remember to stress the most important points for a better response.