“It was a small ad, but it worked.”

The pictures are breathtaking and they capture an important time in history.  Photographer Gregg Brown talked with the NY Times recently about his aerial photos of the Ground Zero devastation immediately after the twin towers went down in 2001.  Turns out the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) hired him based on a small quarter page ad he had in the local yellow pages.

Brown believes the agency was frantically looking to find someone to take daily pictures of ground zero site to document recovery and removal efforts. While Brown’s photographic background was more along the lines of weddings, quirky portraits, and legal work, he was still confident that he could shoot from above, even if in reality he had never done any aerial work.

His key observation:  “…It was a small ad, but it worked…”

He further talked about the results he got from the ad and why he thinks he got the job:

“We started getting different calls from that ad.  Not just weddings, but head shots and other stuff. Eventually, I split with my partner and took over the business…… Usually, when people are looking through the Yellow Pages for a photographer, they’re at the point that they really need a photographer….I think what did it was the phrase we had: 24-hour rush jobs welcome.”

Now in 2011, has much changed??

  • A small business needs to advertise to reach potential customers.  They can’t find you if they don’t know you are there, and what you provide.  Osmosis isn’t real effective.
  • Yellow Pages, print or digital, are the go to source when you need to find a specific product or service, NOW, a local one, and in a heading in which you probably don’t know a lot about.
  • To attract those potential customers, advertisers need to include all of the RASCIL factors in their ad, or buyers will look past them (see this recent article for more).

This is not rocket science.  It’s about getting ready to buy shoppers hooked up with sellers of those products and services.  Are you helping your clients do that??

 

 

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