I get asked a lot about the effectiveness of advertising and which ones are the most effective.

The buzz for entrepreneurs these days is social media.

It can be powerful.

The Ferrari 812 Superfast is also powerful, but it’s not the right car for bringing your two kids to school in the morning. Sure, it’ll make you look like a boss to all the soccer dads, but little Dylan is going to have to hide in the trunk.

The same goes for social media for many businesses.

Why would you use social media for advertising your business?

Someone will say there are a lot of people there.
But what about the message? Doesn’t that matter?

Someone will say that eyeballs are eyeballs, and the more people who see the ad, the more people will be engaged.

Social media happens fast.
It’s entertainment.
Scrolling kills an ad faster than the eyeballs can catch it.

Ads have to be engaging.

It’s not good enough to buy eyeballs.
We live in an attention economy.
The potential customer won’t give it to us unless we’re new, exciting, or different.

And if you think about it, nothing has really changed.
Except where people are spending their time.

Screen times on phones, tablets, and computers have skyrocketed, while tv screen time continues to hold its own with one slight change.
What, you thought tv screen time was down?
No way. Streaming services are replacing traditional cable, but tv screen time is still doing well.

I drive by 42 billboards to the city.
As a marketer, I might pay more attention than the average person.
But I can’t remember the message from one board.

That’s noise.

It’s amplified on social.
Loud, pounding, useless noise.
Nothing new, exciting, and different.

So please do yourself a favour.
If you plan on opening an Instagram account for your business, think twice about littering your customer’s feed with garbage.
It’s disrespectful and annoying.

Adding irrelevant ads on Facebook or Google is worse than the paid ads on TV.

In fact, it’s way worse.
It’s personal.
Commercials on tv weren’t the advertiser’s fault.
TV networks used the money to make content for the watcher to enjoy.
Facebook doesn’t make content. They organize it.
In mass media, you didn’t know who the customer was.
On social media, you do.
Putting garbage on others’ feeds is like emptying garbage on your neighbor’s lawn.
Don’t be that jerk.

So what media works the best?

All of them work.
Some yield better results than others, depending on who you’re trying to reach.
Most importantly, whether you decide to use mass media, social media, or mobile media, the best way to break through all the noise is to have a compelling message.

The key to unlocking the big giant lock called persuasive advertising is the message.
The media is secondary.

Posting creative, persuasive ads that force your audience to think gives you a fighting chance.

Someone offered to manage my social media. She gave three examples of other businesses that were doing a “great” job of engaging and communicating with their audience.

A tear came to my eye as she fed me a steaming pile of crap.
If this is the garbage social media “experts” are pawning off to unsuspecting clients, we have a bigger problem with recycling than you think.

Reuse, recycle, repeat…

But then again, maybe this is good news.
Too many “marketers” still don’t understand what good marketing is.
Too many are wasting money on ineffective methods that don’t return anything for their marketing investment.

To further illustrate, I’ve been told that billboard advertising was dead.
Nobody pays attention to them, and they are a waste of money.
The 42 I see every day reinforces that.
But what if you saw this ad?

Maybe billboard ads aren’t dead after all, eh?

Again, message first. Media after…

If you want your customer’s attention, be worthy enough to break through the noise.
If you want your customer’s money, give them hope.
Hope is what they strive for.
They hope tomorrow will be better than today.

Are your campaigns giving your customers hope?

If they aren’t, then they’re going to end up in the unwanted pile of garbage stinking up everyone’s social media feeds, the drives to work, and eyes and ears everywhere.

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