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?