Five Dollars Down And
Seventy Five Cents A Week
by Bruce Wiseman
When my father was a young man, he stowed away on a tramp steamer to Hawaii.
He was a tough little guy who had boxed in his youth and had the nose to prove it. But he also had the gift of the pitch. And once in the land of many Alohas, he traveled door-to-door selling the hot, new vacuum-tube Philco radios to the islanders. It was the beginning of broadcasting’s Golden Age, and he did well.
When he returned stateside he opened an appliance store in Berkeley and the rest, as they say….
Well…perhaps not quite history, but the store in Berkeley was the first of what became an extremely successful chain of home furnishing stores throughout the San Francisco East Bay Area in the 40s, 50s,and 60s.
The key to his success was advertising – lots of it.
No pay-per-click budgets to monitor, no social media to maintain, no websites to optimize. “Traffic” was driven into the store by traditional media where you could engage the prospects in conversation and sell them.
In the early days, he used print exclusively; later, he added radio and a bit of television.
He was a master at negotiating great pricing from the manufacturers, which he passed along to his customers, but if there was a single key to his success, it was heavy promotion.
He was the Cal Worthington of the Bay Area Home Furnishing world. It may not have been the most sophisticated position, but it worked.
My dad and the WISEMAN’S brand are long gone. So imagine my surprise when my youngest daughter, in a self-motivated journey into our family’s genealogy, stumbled across her grandfather’s earliest ads promoting the opening of his first store, and sent them to me.
Here is an historically interesting look at one of the San Francisco Bay Area’s more successful merchandisers (he was Northern California’s most successful Frigidiare dealer in the mid twentieth century.)
The ads themselves aren’t particularly unique, but note the financing terms! Even in 1940, $.75 a week had to attract interest. Selling “terms” was another of his successful actions.
But put a bib on before scrolling much further so you when you drool at the prices, it doesn’t get on your shirt or blouse.
There is more about one of the most successful new marketing actions below the pictures, but take a scroll through the advertising of 70 years ago and then pick up the narrative below.
Some things have changed.
Yes, merchants still advertise in newspapers, but traditional advertising revenue has been falling like the President’s poll numbers. Ad revenue has fallen 48% since 2006. Some of the country’s most preeminent newspapers have gone under, while even the venerable New York Times recently announced staff reductions due to “a deteriorating advertising climate”.
Meanwhile, online advertising continues to soar because that is where the public shops today. E-commerce is projected to have reached $680 billion in 2011, an increase of 18.9% over 2010. No surprise then that Internet advertising amounted to $26.04 billion in 2010 making it the second largest advertising channel behind television at $28 billion, but surpassing newspapers at $22 billion.
If you’re in business, if you sell a product or service, you had better have a website.
But, of course, a website isn’t enough. You have to get the shoppers to your site. You can promote your website address, of course, and should. But consider the following information from www.slumdogmarketer.com:
97 % of American Internet users use the Internet to shop (NPD Group).
And, 63% of consumers turn to the Internet first for information about local companies.
But here is the critical fact: according to a study by Webvisible.com and Nielson Online, 82% use search engines to find what they are looking for (Google has 64% of the search engine traffic, Yahoo has 18% and Microsoft’s Bing has 12%).
Which raises the question: are your ad dollars properly allocated?
The Webvisible/Nielson study also found that the top sources for local information by shoppers were:
Search Engines = 82%
Yellow Pages = 57%
Local Newspapers = 53%
Internet Yellow Pages = 49%
Television = 49%
Direct Mail = 38%
White Pages = 32%
All of which has given rise to the creation of an entire new niche in the world of marketing. It’s called Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Likely you’ve heard of it. And likely you’ve been solicited by SEO companies from the four corners of the globe, promising high search engine placement.
The competition for SEO business is so intense that I even received an unsolicited call from an SEO company, in Mubai the other day.
These companies specialize in increasing the search engine ranking of your website.
The story is told in some detail by an inadvertent leak of a massive amount of keyword search data by AOL (AOL uses Google search). The leak involved 20 million key-words searched by 650,000 users over a period of three months. The leak was in 2006, but remains revealing.
If you want to know how important the ranking of your website is on a search engine page take a look:
If your are in the #1 position on the page you get 42.1% of the clicks.
#2 position, 11.9% of the clicks — 3.5x less than #1
#3 position, 8.5% of the clicks — 4.9x less than #1
#4 position, 6.1% of the clicks — 6.9x less than #1
#5 position, 4.9% of the clicks — 8.5x less than #1
#6 position, 4.1% of the clicks — 10.4x less than #1
#7 position, 3.4% of the clicks — 12.3x less than #1
#8 position, 3% of the clicks — 14x less than #1
#9 position, 2.85% of the clicks — 14.8x less than #1
(The leaked data is widely available on the Internet. This math courtesy of Netmark.com.)
So, simple basics:
1- To survive in today’s business world, you must have a website.
2- The website must be responsive to search engine queries about the product or service you sell.
3- The higher you are ranked on the search engine, the better your chance of attracting business. Too far into the bowels of the search engine, you are out of communication with your public.
As you can see, your search engine ranking is critical to your marketing.
Which in turn leads me to share a success with you that will blow you mind.
A friend of mine in New York named Tom Jacoby, does search engine optimization. But he has developed a unique methodology that drives your website up the search engine pages like a heat-seeking missile.
I know, this sounds like a commercial, but bear with me, this is startling.
He ties your product or service to a location:
Pawn Shop, Las Vegas
Vegan Market, Berkeley
Organic Dog Food, Santa Monica
Cosmetic Surgery, Beverly Hills
You get seven zip codes or cities and seven key words. So, for example, a beauty saloon in Burbank could have
Beauty Saloon Burbank
Hair Coloring Burbank
Hair and Make-Up Burbank
Hair Extentions Burbank
Highlights and Coloring Burbank
Hair Pieces and Wigs Burbank
Then, in addition, they would get these same seven key-words in six other jurisdictions, say, for example: Toluca Lake, Universal City, Sunland, Glendale, Hollywood, North Hollywood. Seven cities, seven key-words.
And boy does it work.
An On Target client, to whom we referred Tom earlier in the year, has had a handsome affluence running for months, attributable in part to this service.
But let me get personal. One might think that this would only work for a local business. Not so. I engaged the service for On Target Research some months ago. We aren’t local; our clients are all over the United States. So I picked 7 key cities and 7 key words and turned Tom loose.
One of the survey services that large corporate clients often seek is Customer Loyalty Surveys. This was one of the key words I used in seven major cities across the country.
If you put “Customer Loyalty Surveys Los Angeles” into Google, you will see that we are number one on the list. We are also number one for “Customer Loyalty Surveys New York”. Number two on the list for Chicago.
Did this help our sales? On Target has just had its best year in over a decade.
Tom’s SEO works, and is embarrassingly affordable.
His company is www.numberoneonthelist.com. You can reach him at [email protected] or 917-338-9586.
Tell him I sent you. He gives a discount and an added key word to my clients and friends.
I hope this helps you to have an outrageously prosperous 2012!
And let me know when you need to have surveys done.
President & CEO
On Target Research
The Midtown Dentist
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Preferred Dental Care
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Need It Now Courier
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J.H. Finch Inc.
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Dr. Bernard Fialkoff DDS Periodontist
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Jessica Rockwell Oil Portraits
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AC Pianocraft, Inc
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