We all have our routines. We read from the same sources, see the same commercials, and we go to the same kind of websites. We hang around the same circle of friends. We tend to gravitate to people in our own industry to have as friends.
We are told to be successful; we need to live, breath, and eat the sign business. Unfortunately, if the majority of your information, ideas, and concept about the sign industry – come from the sign industry: you will get stuck with a HUGE mental block.
If you grab any Yellow Pages and look at the “Sign” section and look at your ad, does it look very similar to all the other sign shop ads? There may be a logo, listing of products, a “Call For A FREE Quote”, and the phone number of course.
Can it be possible you are just following the herd? Are you beige distinctive, innovative, or even memorable? Is there ANY good reason to choose you over all the others?
Dan Kennedy calls this “Industry Incest”. It is where people are looking at what each other is doing and keeping up with the “Joneses”. You copy what looks like a successful ad campaign. Everyone copies off of each other and soon there is not much to differentiate between each company.
This type of effect is ultimately useless to the consumer. The consumer needs viable information to make a decision on which sign company to choose. They open the Yellow Pages and see a lot of ads all saying pretty much the same thing.
Some may be bigger, yet say the same thing. They have no idea who provides the best customer service, who guarantee are better in reality, or if they can rely on them to produce what they advertise. Since none standout, they pick at random and hope for the best.
As a sign company, you look at other ads and figure the best tactic is to go bigger. This approach can be effective; but, at a great cost. The ad itself will be costly and if you use extra colors it goes up even more. It is not uncommon to spend thousands of dollars per month on a large Yellow Pages ad.
Another problem is, if you ask the sign company if the advertising is effective; they have NO idea. They have no idea if it is working, how effective it is, or if they even got a customer from the ad. The phone book reps will tell them it works since they get to take all their money to the bank either way.
“Industry Incest” can cost you a lot of money in the long run.
What if you took a different approach?
What if you went smaller, less colors, and focused on what actually makes you a “different” sign company? What if you tried to pre-qualify customers with a free planning guide? Would this decrease your bill and potentially increase your profits?
I encourage you to take look at what you are doing. Try some radical ideas, step outside the industry, think “outside the box” so to speak. Figure out ways to get a better response from your ads. Figure out how to track the change and plot results. Innovate and change things up.
Remember to look at it as fun, a game if you will. You started a sign company to make a life for yourself and your family, not to BE your life and take it over.
Good Luck and start doing.