Do you need a business license to run ads? The rules and regulations for advertising can seem confusing, at first.
In an era dominated by online marketing and e-commerce, is it still possible to run a newspaper ad?
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Watch: Do You Need a Business License to Run Ads?
Hey there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer. You can find this and 400 other answered questions in this series on our YouTube channel.
Do I Need a Business License to Run Ads?
Do I need a business license to run ads? We have a house cleaner that starting a house cleaning business, who asked this question.
“Do you have to have a license to have an ad in the newspapers for your cleaning business?”
It Depends on the Newspaper Sometimes
The answer to that question pure and simple is it depends on the newspaper. Now in the past, that was not the case. You did not need a business license, but every advertising opportunity has its own set of rules and regulations. And they are starting to crack down on what people call business owners or a business that they run or an opportunity out of their house.
So, there are a lot of verification programs that a lot of advertisers are going to now to provide the best user experience. I know for example when my company signed up with Google Business, they sent us something in the mail and we had to take the code off of the information that came in the mail.
We had to go back online, open up our account and plug in that code. That verified that we had an actual address and that we were a real-life person.
We Live in an Era of Online Marketing
I know in this era of online marketing and e-commerce, which has exploded since the COVID pandemic, a lot of startup businesses are running multiple businesses and some of them are actually scams.
So lots of industries are taking extra precautionary measures to make sure that you are not a scam artist and that you are a real person and you have something for sale and that it’s on the up and up and it’s what you promise.
Facebook Ads Has its Own Verification
For example, I know running Facebook ads has its own verification process. Now Savvy Cleaner, which is the company that I own has never run Facebook ads. We’ve never run ads up to this point, until last week.
Last week, we ran our very first Facebook ad for the t-shirt and our business. We have a leg of our business called Funny Cleaning Shirts. You can check it out at FunnyCleaningShirts.com. However, the purpose of running the ads was as we moved through Q4, which is the fourth quarter of the year, this is the big time where all the homeowners want to buy gifts for their house cleaners.
And so, where do they go? We have lots of gifts and lots of t-shirts that are for sale, and lots of people don’t know about this leg of our business yet. So, we decided to run some Facebook ads.
How to Run Facebook Ads
Now, to run the Facebook ads, I contacted Facebook and I said, “I’d like to run these ads.” And they said, “We have to take you on a pre-interview first to see if you are a good fit for our advertising program.” So, this would be akin to having a business license, to verify that you are in fact, an actual business owner. So, they said, “Is it okay if we call you?” And they set an appointment.
Then a person called me on the phone, and they said, “We’d like to ask you a couple of questions. This call is being recorded. Is that okay?” I was like, Whoa, I just wanted to boost a couple of posts. They’re putting me through the wringer here.
Then they asked me this series of questions. And the questions were, “How long have you been in business? Do you have a website? Do you have a landing page? What exactly are you trying to sell? Or what are you trying to do in your ad? Are your ads political or religious in nature? Basically, are they mean to other people or do you have the best of all mankind in your ads?”
Facebook Looks Through Everything
They took a look at my website, my landing page and my FAQs. And they said, “Okay, you pass our test. Now we’re going to send you to another person that’s going to actually help you compile your ads.” And I was like, “Whoa, someone’s going to help me.”
They want to make sure that you get the best use from your experience with them because they make their money if you are successful in running ads. So, if you’re going to run an ad in the newspaper, here’s a question you have to ask yourself, “What exactly am I trying to accomplish?” And lots of newspapers now have online services.
So, are you running an ad in the physical newspaper? Is it the online version as well? Is that going to link back to your website and what is on your website that it’s going to link back to?
Marketing vs. Advertising
There are two forms of marketing. One is marketing, which is created with your creativity and time. The other one is advertising, which is where you pay the dollars, and it links back to your marketing.
So, you don’t want to do the advertising until the marketing is actually already done. And here’s the reason why.
If you have an ad and you’re driving a lot of traffic to your ad, if the only object is for them to call you and pick up the phone and say, “Hey, come hire me for cleaning,” there’s going to be a vetting process. So why are you different from someone else? They’re going to go online.
People Go Online to Search a Company First Now
97% of people now go online to search for a company before they hire them. They’re looking for ratings and reviews. They’re looking for social media proof.
What they’re looking for is a variety of things that you offer that’s going to affirm their decision is correct in calling you to hire you. So, whether you’re running a newspaper ad, a Facebook ad, or a post in like a neighborhood post like NextDoor.com, there are ways that you can market your business and they all come down to the social proof that you have created in your marketing
Don’t Run Any Ads Until You Do Your Marketing
So, don’t run any ads whatsoever until you do your marketing first. Once you have your marketing, your website and your landing page in place, only then does it make sense to pay for the ads.
Once you start running an ad, whether it’s in the newspaper or Facebook or Google or whatever, you have to track and measure the ads to see if they work.
You Have to Track and Measure Your Ads
And if you track and measure the ads and it says, “Oh, it’s not doing very good and you have to go back here and tweak it.” You have to know exactly what part of your marketing you have to tweak. For us, for example, with Facebook ads, we realized that we were running ads on people’s desktop computers.
Then we discovered that many people now, like 78% of people are using their smartphones for all things. So, we switched the ad to mobile phones only. What’s weird about it is this. When we went to our mobile phone and we looked up the ad, it looked different on mobile phones.
So, what you have to do is not track and measure the result of your ad, but you have to make tweaks as you go for the best user experience. If what we’re asking you is to do XYZ when you go to the website and you click that link, that better be the first thing that pops up.
It’s Easier to Tweak Once You Get Your Marketing Going
Sometimes if you get your marketing in place first, and you have to tweak something, instead of you sending out a request and having a web or an administrative team, go to task and try to create this for you, you can go in with a couple of small adjustments to your website and you can make those tweaks yourself.
So, learn your website. Learn how to make adjustments to your own website if need be, so that you’re not waiting on an admin team or a web team. Because wherever you fall in the lineup on their priorities, you might be 21 on the list.
You have to wait 21 days, for example, to get those updates. Whereas you can go in and make a couple of adjustments and move one column from here over to here and it makes all the difference, you need to know how to do that.
You May Need a Business License for Newspaper Ads
So yes, it is possible you need a business license to run a newspaper ad. It would depend on the newspaper and its rules and regulations. But before you run ads anywhere, you want to make sure that your license has been bonded and insured.
If you have to be licensed in your area, ensure that you have your social media in place, that you have your social proof in place. Make sure you have your services in place, your landing page looks amazing, you have frequently asked questions, and you have hours of operation.
Now we do have a new course that just came out, and it is on a walkthrough called How to ACE a Walkthrough. It’s at SavvyCleaner.com And we have three different segments of questions. And one of those is a pre-walkthrough question that before people even call you, you go through and you answer these questions on your frequently asked questions page so that it saves you from asking 60 questions when you get to the customer’s house. So, you can check that out at SavvyCleaner.com
Spend Some Time and Focus on Marketing
Spending some time focusing on the marketing end of your business, because only after your marketing is in place and you know how it works, is it sensible to run ads. Once you start dropping money, you want to get the most bang for your buck and you want to get the best results.
But, to do that, you have to tweak your marketing a little bit and you have to measure every step of the way. And if you don’t know what all these facets are, or if they’re not in place when you go here and you try to measure the results, it’s going to fall through the cracks and you’re going to get frustrated and you’re going to spend a boatload of money.
Unless you know this end of it, you won’t even be able to ask them the right questions and you won’t be able to monitor what they’re doing. So, learn enough that even if you do outsource it, and one day you will, but then you will know exactly what you’re asking for, paying for, and exactly what the results look like when they return to you.
These good karma links connect you to Amazon.com and affiliated sites that offer products or services that relate to today’s show.
Why Your Marketing Is Killing Your Business: And What to Do About It – https://amzn.to/2wXfPSo
Radical Value: How to Take Your Company to the Next Level Through Radical Customer Centricity – https://amzn.to/2IUn4wR
Online Marketing Boot Camp – https://amzn.to/38YJeZO
Google Ads (AdWords) Workbook: Advertising on Google Ads, YouTube, & the Display Network – https://amzn.to/38UoJNH
Social Media Marketing Strategy 2020 – https://amzn.to/33ifJRm
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