Husband and wife, Jan and Mike are very excited; no, it’s not a date night! They are launching their own local business. But do their plans stack up? Their savings exhausted. Family, friends and crowd funding are all behind this very likeable couple’s move from corporate jobs to becoming self-sustained entrepreneurs. Following advice gleaned from self-help business publications and forums. But with very little help from the bank, they are ready to go:
- 48 sheet posters on local major roads and town centres…with the promise of X thousand footfall every day.
- Local radio, newspapers and those glossy ‘local’ magazines; ads place…the promise of sizeable readership; daily, weekly, monthly.
- Social Media? Well Jan and Mike have swamped these, although surprised that there are costs involved. Forgetting that, they know that it is just so important to have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like. The promise being comprehensive socio-economic research…orders? Well not specifically guaranteed.
- Website; up and running, looking good with pictures of the family excited by the launch and ‘testimonials’ from friends wishing luck. The ‘Gallery’ depicts a happy home life.
- 5,000 leaflets printed (initial request was for 2,000, but the printer convinced them that the incremental cost was very, very little…Problem is what to do with the extra boxes!) Already around 200 pushed through letterboxes.
…A perfect marketing plan, certain to produce the first client for their gardening business!
Tailor your business marketing to your finance, projections and winning prospective clients in your relevant field, not a finger in the wind and believing that when a ‘Marketing Guru’ says ‘head in the oven’ that’s what you do!
Elements of Jan and Mike’s plans are appropriate. Social Media without costs, web site and an appropriate leaflet drop, plus perhaps a personal visit to larger establishments (pubs, etc.).
Rather than paying for an ad in the local press why not create a story worthy enough for them to run; they are generally desperate. Offer gardening for free at the local Hospice. If starting a window cleaning business, likewise a free offering. A new café/restaurant; free rather that discounted meals for old people’s homes; not simply a discount. All relatively cheap but whetting the appetites of the PR companies and creating significant goodwill locally.
Of course, this potentially works well for ‘local’ businesses. You may be more ‘regional’; then expand as appropriate, but don’t get sucked into media sales strategies without being fully convinced that it will generate incremental sales over and above the advertising cost (nb: the cost of placing the ad rarely covers producing a mind changing advertisement!). The glossy mag on the table in the doctors/dentists/hair salon’s table probably appeals more to you than your prospective client.
Yes, I am not naïve. National corporations require a different approach; a Unilever mail drop does not quite suffice; or should it?
With technology though, if your business does not require face-to-face interface then do broaden horizons. There is no barrier between a computer in Derbyshire and Somerset (unless the server crashes!). This is where Social Media can be a fantastic mode of communication, along with your up to date website. Providing relevant information designed to getting an order. The website needs to be professionally produced. Off the shelf products look just that, off-the-shelf. The pro’s still need briefing though, so ensure that you cut out any irrelevant personal crap.
So, first client secured, build on it. They used your services for a reason. With the next you have some data. The third and you have a spread sheet! Information for building your business, but don’t take your eye off your loyal clients, those from the outset, even if not great income generators.
The moral of this Blog is exactly that; don’t lose a focus on those who can buy the product you are offering. Avoid those marketeers selling advertising, data collection, etc. that simply further burn a hole in your pocket. Most will generate zilch as far as sales are concerned for you, whilst lining their own. Vanity sells little if nothing. Tightly targeted appropriate strategies can though, be very fruitful.
Here at Verve Communications we thrive when our clients thrive…