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Small Business Ideas Forum

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Old 12th January 2014, 05:10 PM   #1
Joshcam8395's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Galva, IL
Posts: 3
Question Please HELP: Is My Local Ad Board Business Idea A Flop?

I've started building a unique, local, offline advertising business, and I would really appreciate any advice you would like to offer me at this moment.

I need to start earning money quickly, if it's possible, because I have very little cash coming in right now.

I have enough money for a "shoestring budget," though, and here's what I've done with it:

I've built a colorful 2' x 4' advertising board (like a bulletin board, only bigger, neater, and I am in complete control of what is posted to it). It will be suspended by wires, hanging inside the window space of a local shopping mall's antique store, facing out to the foot traffic. I've put 9 different local business categories on the board, with spaces for 44 business ads 3" x 5" in size. Due to the high-traffic location, I've priced the ads at the rate of $50/mo. per card, and lower...all the way down to $500/yr. as a discount, to encourage long-term commitment.

At this particular shopping mall location, it's possible for clients to have their ads seen 25,000 times/mo. or more.

I don't have any experience in direct sales, although I have sold used machinery multiple times through local classifieds/trading publications and websites. I'm reading some good ebooks on selling advertising, and have watched some good videos by real (good & experienced) salesmen.

So far, I have approached over 24 local businesses--some are qualified advertisers, some are not--and only one owner was possibly interested in buying $50 worth of advertising.

Compared to similar local media rates (i.e. newspaper ads), my rates are VERY low, and nobody I've talked to has objected to the price. They support what I'm doing, and cheerfully wish me luck--but they won't buy!

Meanwhile, I actually did get my ad board up in the store window; but after a few hours, the mall's ceiling anchor gave way, my board fell to the floor. Luckily, no merchandise was damaged when that happened. But, the mall management informed me that I need business liability insurance, in case it falls again, and any antiques are damaged.

So, I had to tell my one, possible buyer that the idea was off for awhile, and that I would get back to him as soon as I can get the board displayed again.

I'm working on raising cash to register my business and buy insurance.

And, I really believe in the value of this new advertising venue, and I want to put boards up in malls all over northern Illinois!

But now, I'm wondering: should I pursue this idea?

I confess, I did not do any market research, because I made an assumption that virtually ALL business owners wanted more exposure any way they can get it; I assumed virtually ALL business owners want more customers!

But, it seems that I was wrong.

If possible, I would much rather offer people what they already want, rather than having to convince them they want it and need it. But, I HATE to give up the tremendous, leveraged income-potential of this business idea!

Is the profit-pulling potential for this ad board idea just not there?

Or, is the problem with me/my experience level/my mindset?

What do you think?

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Old 14th February 2014, 06:29 PM   #2
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Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Lombard Illinois
Posts: 18


To be honest, I don't think your idea will profit much. And if you do have some sales, they won't be recurring.

Mainly because I can go out and post my own 10"x12" ad on multiple boards at starbucks, pot belly, grocery stores, etc. and it's 100% free.

I understand your boards are limited in the amount of advertisers you let use it, but that's not what business owners are seeing.

People develop a blindness to this type of advertising. It also happens in website advertising, people develop banner blindness which means they just scan right over the banners and go to the website content.

But this could just be because of where I live. I'm right outside of Chicago and it's much more fast paced out here than where you're at (If you're still in Galva). I don't know many people who have told me about an ad that they saw on a board.

I've actually tried doing this a long time ago, but not the unique way you're doing it. I put up fliers at a bunch of starbucks and pot bellys that I attended frequently each month. I had the flyers with the pull tabs on the bottom with my email and phone number. A bunch of the tabs got pulled each week from every location but I never got a single email or phone call.

You posted this thread about a month ago so I'm curios to see what you've done since then.

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Old 20th December 2015, 05:55 PM   #3
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Location: Melbourne Australia
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Sorry I missed this post. It's now almost January 2016 and I'm assuming — since we've seen nothing more from you — that things haven't worked out for you. Sadly, this could all have been avoided with some very basic marketing know-how.

Everything you've done appears to be based on some seriously flawed or out-of-date assumptions.

This is pretty old-school advertising that's less likely to work without multiple points of exposure, especially in the mobile marketing era, where you have to compete against bluetooth proximity beacons that send offers to passing smartphone owners, as well as group buying scheme apps, local business directories with their own databases of consumers and more.

Any advertising medium has to be much more pro-active to survive in today's marketing place.

If you're still interested in helping independent, local offline businesses to survive and thrive in today's digital/mobile world, register your interest by taking the poll at this topic…
Ideas For Building a Local Online Marketing Agency

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Old 21st December 2015, 09:06 AM   #4
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I think the reason anybody invests in advertising is in its effectiveness. It may help if you find a way to measure your ads' effectiveness and use that in your sales activities. You'd have to show how this is something people can't do on their own and that the investment is worth it. Do you get special foot traffic that sees the ads or are these people looking for something in particular that the exact positioning makes the placement valuable or special?

I think that's what you have to create and promote in order to make your idea a success. Just my two cents.

Good luck!

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