The best forms of advertising for businesses includes but is not limited to word of mouth. Word of mouth marketing doesn’t cost anything so you might as well do it. Just don’t be the person who annoys everyone. There is a right way and a wrong way.
It is strange to hear people say that they don’t have time to do social media. What is easier, talking to 1000 people at once or typing a short tweet to your following? Yes, there is more to it than this but you get the idea. You might not be on social media but your competitors are. Something to think about.
The ability to network, communicate effectively, influence, and sell are all critical elements to your ability to succeed in a saturated market. If you you are through with learning, you’re through. You cannot avoid the belly to belly, face to face, or phone interactions if you ever hope to become successful in business. Don’t like it? Get a new attitude. Did that offend you? Get a new attitude. Hopefully you are o.k. with taking some criticism.
Why is it important to meet people? Think of the last 10 people you’ve emailed. Chances are high that you’ve met most of them in person at least once. You’ve probably heard the saying that “people do business with people they know, like, and trust.” When you are starting out in business you don’t have the luxury of waiting for people to call you. You need results and you need them fast. Don’t let a single day pass where you aren’t meeting at least 5 new people.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve helped someone out who was not my ideal customer. To my surprise, just a few months later those people referred people to me, some of which became my biggest clients. A good rule of thumb is to always treat people with respect regardless of how they might appear or act at that moment in time. If being right all of the time is more important to you than being in business than you’d better get used to struggling.
Briefly, you will get fast results by talking to people. Sending out emails and cold calling will work but only when done in a way that offers more value than you are asking for in return. I’ve known many people who were too afraid of calling a complete stranger for fear of being rejected. A general rule of thumb is that if it takes you 10 phone calls to get 1 deal worth for example $100 then you can think of each ‘no’ as $10. Those who view rejection and failure as a learning experience always go onto becoming successful. Think about it, the people who are the most successful have been rejected more times than anyone else. But of course there is obviously more to it than that.
So, for paid advertising to work effectively you need a system in place to monitor the results. This includes but is not limited to your website’s analytics tracking.
If you were to talk to an online marketer they would give you a long lecture about the importance of sales funnels. I won’t go into details on how those work but here is a video. It is the first thing that came up. Optimize your website because 8 out of 10 people will check to see if you are online. If you are a contractor they will most likely check to see if you have any bad reviews. Learn to say ‘no’ to low-ballers and tire-kickers.
Paid advertising is largely used for branding purposes. I hear people say all the time how they got no response. I’ve even asked to see what they designed and had sent out. In one case the person had a photo of someone elses project with no website, no offer, no value proposition, and poor spelling. Trying to run a successful business without advertising is like trying to save time by stopping a clock.
There was a time when people fixed things that were broken. If something goes wrong, admit that maybe you should ask for help or learn how to do something better in order to get the results you want. You don’t get what you deserve but what you put in.
Today most people have the attention span of a gold fish and want fast results. Something that has helped me is to seek out failure and make mistakes so that I can know what to do in the future. I learned that perfectionism can be a bad thing as it often leads to procrastination.
Paid advertising works but you just need to set a goal to mastering it. It is strange to me how everybody thinks that they are experts or know how it works yet don’t do it. Spend as much time as you can allow yourself to teach yourself how to do it the right way. Youtube and Google are your friend. Don’t spend 80% of your time focusing on the $10/hr tasks. Delegate those and focus on the tasks that generate 80% of your income instead.
“Your network is your net worth”
Here are a few sources of paid advertising. Different industries get different results with each. Do some research on what your competitors are doing. There is no need to re-invent the wheel or try to change the buying habits of consumers.
Traditional newspaper advertising targets anyone and everyone. You will have different results with different newspapers. Find out what the demographics is for your readers. Many larger companies use it as a branding tool to build familiarity and trust with customers. If people don’t trust a brand, they won’t invest. If you decide to advertise in the newspaper, you should have a way to measure your results so that you can run split tests. Including a website with Google Analytics (important anyways) is essential to successfully tracking the traffic that comes in. I recommend at least a 6 month commitment minimum with this medium for repeated exposure.
Firstly, type ‘Home Depot’ to see what a good PPC ad looks like. Many people who have used PPC advertising (SEM search engine marketing) feel they’ve been burned. I usually tell clients that the first couple hundred dollars that you spend is simply to buy the data. I am also assuming that you have a PPC expert handling your account who understands that QS+CTR>CPC. If you are new to PPC and trying to do it on your own you will fail as 95% of people do. If you are using PPC thinking that you can put a few keywords up with a cost per bid then you are just playing on a slot machine. 80-90% of your money will most likely be wasted. I’ve helped one client go from having a target market of 16 million down to 6000 which is their Real Market. Interestingly enough the bounce rate on their site went down, the time spent went up, the average pages viewed went up and their sales increased.
I’m personally using word-of-mouth advertising and referrals for the waterfall business because we don’t want to handle a huge workload anyways. We only spend $50 per month on PPC because we are busy most of the time as is. Plus the best clients that we’ve worked with were referred to us by a previous client. We have a smaller crew to ensure that the quality of our projects can be maintained which ensures that the clients custom project is being well looked after. This website which I finally got around to putting content on half a year ago brings in between 50-200 targeted unique visitors per day from clients in the Metro Vancouver region. I’m sure I could create a website on celebrity topics that brings in a million visitors a month but for our market in particular 50-200 is about right – at least for now.
Many people get lured in by the idea of PPC thinking that it is a get-rich-quick scheme. Think about this, there are 100000’s of other companies out there that are trying to do the same thing. You aren’t just competing with your local market but somtimes with companies from other continents! That said, you need a very good PPC expert that is working daily to analyze the data and fine-tune the overall campaign. That does not however mean that it is a set it and forget it type of deal.
Consider investing in a long-tail keyword program or PPC program such as WordStream that does not give you the exact same keywords that everyone else is using from the Google Keyword Tool (that would be sheer madness). Add sitelinks as they don’t cost anything extra. Add links to reviews if you have them. Don’t use thousands upon thousands of keywords. Have ad groups targeting specific keywords. Target locations where your ideal client is located. You need to know your ideal client and cater to their needs. Display Ads work well for visual businesses and cost less. Use the remarketing function which follows your customer around and appears on sites they visit. Creepy isn’t it? But guess what? It’s effective.
Direct Mail Campaign
This is one that I have not done in a while but I know that it works. Before you say blasphemy and think back to the last time you tried it just consider the fact that maybe, just maybe, you didn’t do it right. Personally, the only problem I found was that it worked too well the last time I tried it. Here is a list of 99 tips for direct mail success. The company that you advertise with is 90% of the battle. Don’t advertise with the cheapest source! That is the biggest mistake that almost all businesses make.
- Make it easy to read
- Have enticing ad copy
- Make good use of images
- Have a clear value proposition
- Why is yours better?
- Include credibility sources (are you with the BBB, chamber of commerce, BNI, trade organization)
- Tell a story
- Be engaging without coming off as salesy
- Provide value to the consumer
- Convey trust
- Include a promotion or coupon for likes to your social media pages
- Add a QR code and have a mobile ready website
- Finally, like all print mediums, Be Consistent! Repetition is key.
This is one is straightforward. Go with an a radio station that your ideal client listens to. Repetition is key. Radio advertising typically gives immediate results. Fans loyal to that radio station know that you are supporting that station and will in turn support you by giving you business!
Signs and Banners
Back when we were landscaping we used signs and vehicle advertising to the extreme. In fact, it was lawn signs and door hangers. Done right you can build a loyal client based and a million dollar a year landscaping company. Don’t add too much information. Your logo is not that important. What’s important is the problem you solve, the solution you offer, a unique value proposition, your contact information. The bare necessities.
This is one we had fun with a few years back and will probably do it again. Do a search for color palates that make the contact information easy to read. Blue or black text on a white background for example is easy to read from far away. Consider doing something just a bit crazy and remarkable to get people’s attention. But be careful, you don’t want to drive around causing accidents because of how distracting your marketing is.
I’m SOOO going to do this… Then again maybe not
This is straightforward. Hopefully you’ve seen a TV commercial before. People are often in awe when they see your ad on TV for some weird reason. It works. Go get em you mini celebrity you….
Best free advertising for 2014
Consider adding a blog section to your website and posting relevant information on it. Don’t know where to begin? Here is the best tip you will ever receive. If you want a video tutorial type your question into YouTube’s search box. If you want a text tutorial type your question into Google. I should send you an invoice just for sharing that great tip. When you have a more established business you can then hire someone to provide those services and you will have some working knowledge to show them what you want done.
Small philosophy tips that have helped me (you don’t have to agree). These were just a few key points and I could go on about each. Don’t wait for things to be perfect otherwise you will never get started. The most successful people have also failed both more times and harder than those who gave up after one weak attempt. However, they had the right mindset going in and went back to the drawing board each time. Really learn from your mistakes. It isn’t about how much you spend or how little you spend on marketing and advertising but I know that without either, your business will not grow at the rate at which you want it to. Make a commitment to discovering the best form of advertising for your particular business and invest.
Delay gratification. Are you a startup? Rather than going on a vacation consider buckling down and really working at building your business first. Those who have the pay now rather than pay later with interest mentality tend to survive with their business intact past their 5th year.