Advertising, when a deal really isn't a deal.

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As you most likely already know, starting a business often means being bombarded daily by those lovely guys and girls who *know* they have something amazing to offer you. I've heard it all " I can bring you over 100 new customers a week", " this is a special one day deal you won't be able to get this again", " you have been selected from thousands because we think you're the best person for this deal" It's all a con and sales patter to hook you in. Most of the time these people are commission based and unless they get the sale they don't get paid.

I once took a call from a guy from Yell, I swear these guys are trained assassins! From the second he spoke I could not get away, I even tried telling him I was far too busy as it was and couldn't possibly take on more work. His reply was " What if i gave you so much work you could open a chain of shops and become rich"  Yes I thought the same as you , he must have been over dosing on the icing sugar. It took over 25 minutes of insisting that I really didn't need his all singing all dancing £300 deal as much as he thought I did. Finally though he gave in and his parting comment said it all " I'll give you a call in a few months to see if you've reconsidered" Oh dear I was due that joy all over again in just a few months.

I'm sure you will be able to relate to these types of calls, they are large well known firms so if you do decide to work with them at least you know who you are dealing with. There are other types of sales hounds though who come from obscure sources and if you arent quick enough to hear them fly through who they are and why they are calling, which is almost always said at the speed of light so you have no chance, then you are often duped into thinking these people are great. 

I once took a call from a lovely lady who said she was working on a diary to be given out in local churches , she named one in my area which is well known so at the time it sounded genuine. They were producing the diaries to raise money for the local fire brigade and a donation would be given to the church too. I declined at as the time I didn't have any funding for advertising. However 4 weeks later I received a copy of this diary through the post with an invoice attached. They had ignored me declining and added me anyway. I obviously refused to pay, but the worst was to come. I called the church that they had mentioned to enquire about the diary. They had no knowledge of the scheme, I called again several times over the course of 6 months only to find it never surfaced. I also called the local fire brigade to see if they had any donations made from the diary producers. You can guess the answer to that one. It turns out the company was a con they produce a very small number of diaries to send out for invoicing and nothing more, then pocket the cash they make from advertising.

It's incredibly hard to know which of these people to trust and who will actually make your money work for you. As a rule I would say avoid anyone who contacts you. After all if you haven't heard of them there is a good chance your customer base won't have either.

One thing I will highlight is Google adwords. You will all see the adverts alongside your search results when you are trawling pages for the thing you need. Those are paid for adverts by google, The more you pay the higher you get up the list basically. There are a few ways you can set these up. One is genuine and what I would advise if this is the type of advertising you want. Use the link for Google Adwords (click here) direct and you will get the best deal and you will be able to track how well your advert is actually performing. There are companies who will call you and offer you excellent start up offers for Google adwords and I have been told by so many cake makers that this is no where near as good as going direct. They have sign up times so you are tied in and whilst they guarantee you will be ranking at the top you never really do. They will often be the only people with access to the performance reports too so you have no idea of how many hits your advert actually got. I would avoid this method at all costs, after all the direct google adwords site has so many help topics and it is step by step that there isn't much that you can do wrong.

So that ends my first half of this blog. If you would like to know the advertising which I have found fruitful and what things you can actually do for free too please come back for the next installment.


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  1. Linda Christie

    I too like Janet have learnt lessons the hard and very expensive way. My advice to anyone considering a website is never put on a phone number only ever use an email address. I never ever answer my phone now if I dont recognise the number or it is witheld. I have an answer machine and if it is important they will leave a message. If you do get cold calls about advertising always ask for their full details ie. name company etc and always log calls down on paper with full info. A good tip is when they start, they will tell you calls are recorded, and your answer to that is, oh good mine are also recorded for legal reasons. You will soon get rid of them.

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  2. Janet Khambata

    I know exactly where you are coming from, we own a small village shop and get bombarded by these calls. I am afraid we have got to the point of just being rude and putting the phone down. I would just like to add that you should be very aware of visiting reps. Dont let them talk you into signing anything until you have had time to read ALL the small print. Unfortunately we have learnt this the hard and very expensive way. Love your blogs by the way.

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