My name is Anthony Sakovich, and I didn’t invent the Five Drivers of Business Marketing Online… but I did discover them. I wasn’t the first to discover them, either. My goal, however, is to be the best at explaining them, so that you can use these five basic internet marketing functions to grow your own “brick and mortar” business using the power of the web. Why should you listen to me, as opposed to the thousands of web gurus, advice blogs and technology forums? I think that question answers itself, really. There isn’t one place for you to turn where you can get a “whole course” in online business marketing. You would have to do as I did: spend three years, and over a hundred thousand dollars, analyzing all the data and coming up with your own solution. I hope this book is a little easier to get through than that, but is just as valuable.
I started my professional career as a marketing consultant before I had even left college.
My first client was a little “mom and pop” store in a local strip plaza. They ran a business called “Allied Services”, which was a forerunner to Mailboxes, Etc, which has now become the UPS Store. Unfortunately, they were way ahead of their time. It was 1984, and they needed people to come into their store so they could explain their great services: packing, shipping and mailbox rentals. It doesn’t take an MBA in marketing to realize their business name was a major handicap. “Allied Services” means absolutely nothing, but it was the franchise name, and so they were stuck with it. But I liked these people, as they embodied one of my key business philosophies:
When life gives you lemons, start the Tropicana Corporation
They made a strategic decision to utilize their retail storefront to their advantage. In 1984, video rentals were just taking off. Local VHS rental stores had huge annual membership fees (some in excess of $750 a year), plus it was $4.00 per night to rent a movie. In today’s dollars, that’s like paying $2000 to join and $10 a night for rentals. But we all did it, because at that time, a new VHS copy of Star Wars was $129.00. Just six movie purchases paid for your annual membership, and that is how those early video stores positioned themselves.
Allied Services, however, was not exclusively a video store. Their other shipping business just barely paid the bills, so aside from the cost of the movies, they could rent them for whatever they chose. And they chose very well. Their rental rate was $2.00 per night. And they had NO membership fee. Period. Zero. Nada. Zip.
And their shelves sat full of movies, night after night, week after week. That’s where I came in.
I first noticed the tiny ad the owners placed in the campus newspaper every Thursday. Of course, you will immediately see the classic mistake all business owners make, as I reproduce their regular ad for you here:
Besides the obvious mistake of leading with a name that says absolutely nothing about their product line, the ad simply lacked the kick it needed. This ad, however, with just a few improvements, could deliver the “search” results the owners wanted. Here’s what I did with the ad.
The ad appeared on a Thursday morning. I stopped by the store after classes late that afternoon. The first thing I noticed was that there was really nobody in the store. My heart sunk. Then, on opening the door, I noticed something else.
Not only were there no customers in the store… but there were no MOVIES in the store.
The shelves were almost completely empty, there were only a handful of movies left, spread across four 16-foot shelves, but for all intents and purposes, they were empty. Bare. Picked clean.
And the owner looked up from the counter, saw it was me, and ran around the counter to shake my hand. He then told me that when he had arrived to open the store at 10:00 that morning, there was a line down the sidewalk. People were carrying the newspaper, opened to the page his ad was on. When he let them in, people were pointing to the ad, as if it were a coupon, and saying, “I want this deal!” From the consumers perspective, the deal bordered on incredulity. People could barely believe it. They thought it must be a one day sale, or that it had caveats and limitations as to which movies, and by God they were going to get their pound of flesh because those limits weren’t expressed in the ad and so they didn’t apply to people carrying the ad. His shelves were bare, his floor traffic increased geometrically, and eventually his mailbox rentals and shipping business took off, just as he had hoped.
The bottom line is simple: Clarify you message, and make sure you shout the benefit to your customers in really big letters. If your offer is good enough, they’ll read the fine print to find you.