Thursday, April 12, 2012

When Should I Market My Business?

A common question amongst new, and established, business owners.
I speak to a lot of small business owners daily, and the differences in advertising perception are often startling. And yes, it's a very personal thing. 

"This is right, that's wrong blah blah blah" 

I love to get in and throw around different ideas/methods of marketing, but within a few moments of striking up a conversation with someone new, it's easy to see how it will go. 
I'm going to try and "label" my favourite three here. 

  1. Number one is the "Too Busy To Talk" owner. He/she is so busy that they can't talk, won't talk, are quite abrupt about it and see my presence as a nuisance. They don't need to advertise, won't hear about it, say all their work comes by word of mouth and are booked up for weeks. Brilliant, I don't need to revisit.
  2. At number two we have "The Happy To Talk" owner. They couldn't be more welcoming! Business is slow, they have plenty of time and are dying to pick anyone's brains on how to get more customers. They take my ideas on board, are willing to spend money to implement them and are well on the way to success. I'm more likely to get a brew here too!
  3. At number three I get a mixture of both. The "happy to talk to too busy to talk" owner!) Initially welcoming, time on their hands and the conversation going well. Great! Then I get onto the tough subject of spending money on advertising to gain more customers. Suddenly, my chance of a brew is gone. Business must have picked up within the last five minutes (not that you could tell) because I'm now being ushered out the door! Bye then...
So how often should I advertise, or market, my business?
The general consensus is - constantly. Whatever means you use, whether it's Facebook, Twitter, the Internet, a newspaper or a brochure, you need to tell people that you're there... regularly. 

Because odd things stick in people's minds. The next time someone needs a plumber, before they even pick up Yellow Pages or go online, their mind is already whirring through the letter P. 
Hmm, P... parking... paving... pet shops... pool fencing... plumbing... plumbers, ah yes that leaflet where is it, on the fridge - Speedy Plumbers R Us. Let's give them a bell.
And that's before picking up a directory, laptop or mobile phone.

It's the first search anyone does, without even realising. 
New carpets? Hmm, that advert on TV the other day - were they local, free fitting?
It goes without saying that if the name of a company is already embedded in someone's subconscious, it'll be the one they trust when they see the name pop up on Google, or in Yellow Pages.
That's how our brains are wired. We might never have used the company, never bought its products or heard anybody else mention them, BUT we read their brochure, saw their advert on TV and heard it on the radio. It's now stored within and we can't delete it.

Familiarity sells before the offer.
The customer's mind is already made up at this point, unless you have an awesome offer ready to blow the competition out of the water! (And that's what it will take to convince them.)
That's why social media is so popular everywhere. Constantly updating, and embedding, your brand in the lives of the people that matter - your customer.

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