Everybody wants your money. Once you start advertising your services to the world that you are in business, sales reps from advertising companies will take notice and fast. Their sole purpose is to get you to sign up for their advertising, even though they cannot prove that their advertising will work for you. This is true even for those big-ticket advertising companies like the old Service Tragic (I meant Service Magic now Home Advisor) Houzz, Thumbtack, and Angie’s List, and others and, boy, are they relentless. They don’t care if you are not interested, they don’t care if you are one-person operation, they don’t care if your dog just died, they have one single purpose: to sign you up. That said, I am not saying they do not work. I have tried many and have paid the price to find which ones have worked for me (sorry, not telling) and which ones don’t.
The most important thing to understand is that they sell exposure, not promise. They cannot promise you will get more business. They can only promise exposure. Remember this when you sign a term agreement with any of these companies. Learn how they will expose your business and what is required. Negotiate the terms. They want your business and you have a say in what you want to do. An example would be that instead of a one-year agreement, you want a six-month no penalty opt out if things aren’t working out. Again, their job is to provide exposure to the agreed upon market and as long as they are doing that, you are in it until the end regardless of whether you make any sales.
Now if you have used an advertising company and you have gained sales above and beyond the breakeven point of the campaign expense, then by all means keep advertising. If you want to test the waters in other markets and other advertising companies do so at your own risk, but don’t stop using the campaign that has worked and has gained you and your business the most.
Best of luck!