How many of your clients have a LinkedIn page for their business?
That's how many of your clients just received a compelling email from LinkedIn, offering $50 free advertising...no strings attached.
Quick test, are you reacting with any of the following thoughts(?):
- Pfft...my newspaper owns the local market.
- We've seen competitors come and go, clients always come back to us.
- This market is not Internet savvy, that offer won't work here.
- We don't give away anything, never have, never will.
- Free offers never work. Clients will take the freebie, then run.
If your brain tempted you to go down any of those roads of thought, your brain is living in 1995!
The good old days came and went. Newspaper publishers historically have not acted like marketers when competing for local advertising. They didn't have to.
Now we are flat out under attack by smart national marketers who lead with a free lunch as a path to eating ours.
LinkedIn is only the latest. Facebook made headlines with a similar offer a few years ago, and they seem to have done pretty well, siphoning big ad bucks from every local market in the country.
Google led with free advertising offers almost from the start of the Google Adwords programs, with free offers of up to $150 for a local business. Google has diverted even more local digital dollars than Facebook.
Admit that these guys are smarter than you (digitally speaking), and they have more clout. If that weren't true, they would not have stolen a big share of "your" local digital ad spending. And they have. If you have been living in denial on that one, just stop. If you can't stop, call Gordon Borrell, who will ruin your day by telling you to the penny how much has been lost in your market to Facebook and Google.
You have two choices:
1. Fight fire with fire. Start aggressively competing for digital ad dollars with a marketing discipline.
2. Take solace in the fact that you own your local market, and clients don't understand or care about Google, Facebook, and now LinkedIn. And plan what you will do in your early retirement, because it you will be here before you know it.
If you are going to fight, understand that the approach of the national competitors is not just about giving stuff away. As we gained experience with placing ad campaigns on Google and later Facebook, we were struck by these common elements:
- They use both traditional channels and Web/email marketing to systematically attack ALL the businesses in your local market.
- Their offers are simple, and come with no strings or commitments.
- The whole process is simple. You can typically launch a campaign in minutes, with no technical knowledge. No credit app or similar hurdles. Your ads are live in minutes.
- You get great analytics from day one. No pestering or waiting. In fact, in case you don't log into your reports, they send them to you periodically. They are easy to read, and provide meaningful data to help you make decisions - such as increasing your spending!
- The expectation is that you only pay for the service if you are satisfied with results. No minimums. No annual contracts. No short rates.
Is this overwhelming to you? Then go schedule a tee time, and send for information about that Clean Rite Laundromat franchise in your town. You'll need something else to do soon.
Or you can schedule a meeting of your key managers for first thing tomorrow morning. Start that meeting by talking about digital market share, active clients, and new revenue...where you are today, and where you want to be in one, two and three years. Then work backward to do what it takes to make it happen. Startle the market along the way with offers and strategies that will make Google, Facebook and LinkedIn look like beginners.
You are at war, and you can win.
If you want extra fire power, schedule a second meeting, and conference us in. We are experts at The Art of War.