Pay It Forward: Don’t Give Up on Advertising

When the economy soured a few years ago, Bill Anderson of LBA Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing did what a lot of small business owners do when they’re looking to reduce costs. He cut back on advertising.

The company had been paying for radio and TV commercials, along with billboards, and Anderson didn’t think it was cost-effective.

While the pullback didn’t cause any immediate problems, “we’ve seen a slow decline in new customers over time,” Anderson said. “I think there were residual customers coming in from the advertisements that we had been doing. We were at the point where we needed to go the other direction.”

Community Service

So LBA hired Manus Advertising last year. With Manus’ help, the company is doing radio and TV spots again, but with an emphasis on community service. Last Christmas, the company helped 10 families by making repairs at their homes; local radio stations helped them find deserving recipients. Those campaigns—along with LBA’s new spokesman, former Chief Will Shields—are getting great results.

Anderson’s advice for other business owners? Don’t give up on advertising. “Things will decline if you do that,” he said.

Different Direction

But do be open to a different strategy or partner. Anderson is very happy to be working with a smaller firm.

“They have the insight into our business,” he said. “They know us, they know us personally and what we’re after.”