The phrase "local advertising" often conjures up images of hyperbolic car dealers and furniture salesman imploring customers to come to their store. The Internet and social media, however, have changed all that. With sophisticated marketing campaigns aimed at specific audiences, businesses can now afford local marketing campaigns that have big impacts.
Mark Forrester, president of Norwell, Mass.-based Marcus Myles Advertising, specializes in this approach, called "Yoularoid." It's a division of his company that helps small, local businesses create short, high-impact video advertisements to tell their story. In the videos, business owners explain what their company does in their own words and in a way consumers can understand.
"I always say, the only thing missing from your website is you," Forrester said. "I am trying to bring you, the literal you, the 'cocktail party' you, the 'at-the-beach' you, the 'I-kind-of-like-this-guy' you to your website so that people can unconsciously form a connection with you."
That connection, however, is not achieved through traditional advertising, but rather by what Forrester describes as a "personality snapshot" of the business owner. By embedding these personality snapshots on the homepage of a website, the hope is that the business story becomes the focal point of the website.
"It is not a speech, it is not a sales pitch and it is not everything you want to know about my company," said Forrester, who charges $3,650 for this service. "It is my attempt to get to the root of the emotional connection between a business owner and the person on the other end of the screen who, hopefully, after a minute and a half, unconsciously thinks, 'I like him or her,' I think I'll go there."
While Forrester describes the idea for Yoularoid as being unsophisticated and un-technical, the truth is that this form of advertising solves one of the biggest challenges faced by small-businesses owners: getting their name out there in a way that yields a tangible return for the business owner. Meeting that demand was the main motivation for Forrester to start Yoularoid.
"Clients said these companies would go and promise to increase visitors and click-throughs, but their business didn’t increase, because at the end of the day they needed people to come physically to their store," Forrester said. He wanted to find a way to bring them in using the website with more than just using fonts and colors and photographs, he said.
The goal of Yoularoid's videos is simple: introduce potential customers to a new business. With this guiding principle, Forrester has been able to create localized advertising that aims to reach a local audience that will remember them.
"We look at it not as you have had 10,000 views in the past week baloney," Forrester said. "Rather, 84 people have just been introduced to you in the last three days that have not made it to the store yet but they stayed and watched the full two-minute video."
Advertising that isn’t advertising
These videos yield results because they are an advertisement that doesn't have all the trademarks of what people are used to looking for in an advertisement, Forrester said.
"Traditional advertising is supposed to sound like advertising and it is supposed to look like advertising," Forrester said. "Let's face it, the new generation is not going to respond to that. If you have a story to tell, get to the business of telling it in a believable fashion so that someone can connect with you and not think that you are just another attempt to separate them from their money."
According to Forrester, it is that connection that makes Yoularoid work. The key in this equation, however, is getting potential customers to see the business owner as a person they like first and foremost.
"I think it is sort of the same reason why people go to mixers and cocktail parties and those things," Forrester said. "I always tell the client that I can't guarantee that I can move the trust timeline, but I believe that I can move the know-and-like timeline to under two minutes. The only influence at play here is human nature, and if you emotionally buy in, we just broke down a barrier and that person is one step closer to either going on your site or walking through your door."
Two minutes or less
Although every Yoularoid tells a unique story, Forrester has found that several common characteristics are necessary to create a successful advertisement.
"When it is flowing best, it is just a conversation and clients don’t know which direction the conversation in going to go in," Forrester said. "I have some set standard questions that I know open doors and allow natural and interesting conversation to hopefully occur."
Each video is filmed in a two-hour interview session and then edited to the desired two-minute length. The client doesn’t see the video until the product is completed.
"That wasn’t a blueprint at the outset, but it is something we have come to time and time again that right around two minutes seems to be the right time," Forrester said. "I try to be realistic about how they use the Web and why under two minutes is actually the best position to be. You have the opportunity for the viewer to view it all the way through, as opposed to them just watching the first 15 seconds and bailing on it."