Advertising And Being Before The People
( Originally Published 1898 )
It is no doubt true that keeping your name continuously before the people will pay if you do it long enough, and nobody else does any better advertising than that.
I do not believe in generalities. "All kinds of staple and fancy groceries"—"A full line of dry goods and notions"—Such things were said fifty years ago and some business men persist in the folly even now.
All that a general ad ever does is to "keep your name and business before the people." Now, isn't your name and business kept before people just the same or a little better when you advertise some special thing or things ? It surely is, and, besides that you have the benefit of a direct demand for the thing advertised. That is, of course, provided that the thing is a good thing, and at a low enough price to make it strongly desirable.
The way to stir up trade is to take some item that there is naturally a demand for and put a deep cut price on it. That will bring people to the store, and they'll buy other things—at least. you won't lose anything, for many of them would not have come without the extra inducement.
The idea of drawing people with special offerings is perfectly legitimate, even when the only object is to get them into the store, for in that way they get acquainted with the store and the stock. If these are all right they will come again.
There are plenty of times when special bargains are offered, the object being merely to sell the goods quickly, no thought being taken of the value of the sale from the point of advertising advantage. It is well to explain why the prices are made lower than usual. Give a good, honest reason for it. The honester you can be in your ads the better people will like it. Not only be honest, but let the ads show and prove that you are. People like to know the how and who of everything nowadays.
The advertisement of the future will be one that will leave out any idea of being funny or "catchy." It will tell store news plainly, clearly, honestly. When it talks about goods it will tell something about them. If they are good, the ad will not only say so, but will say why.
If they are best—the same.