Thursday, October 16, 2008

Keeping the Faith

I seldom have clients complain to me about work that I have done for them. Either they are genuinely pleased (and I think most are) or they are apprehensive about angering 220 lbs of fully grown adult male Zimbabwean (I hope not)! But every now and then I get clients who very nicely, ask me to tinker with the work I have done for them; they are not getting the results they expected and understandably want to put this right.

Now forgive me for sounding arrogant - I do not mean to - but it usually turns out that the work I have done does work if it is allowed to. A common misapprehension clients have is that an ad or a website is all they need to get instant business rolling in. Wrong! Your website is just one of numerous links in a chain between your customer's wallet and your bank account.

When I create a brochure or a website for you, I see them as tools that enhance the prospects of engaging with a new customer. They cannot work in isolation and they cannot be expected to deliver a sudden and immediate rise in business. Sorry.

To see an increase in business, dramatic or gradual, two things are required: Firstly, you have to drive people to your website or business by letting them know that its there by any and all means possible. Secondly, you have to be patient. In most cases, marketing activity delivers a gradual ramping-up of new business. It is also logical that the more marketing activity you do, the more people will engage with you.

Marketing is like hammering in a nail: If you want a sudden and dramatic impact, you need to be able to afford a nail gun. Small businesses seldom have nail gun-size budgets and so have to make do with a hammer that gradually drives their "nail" into the market.

Successful marketing is not difficult and it need not be expensive. In fact, it can largely be free! I generate a lot of business by placing just four ads a day on a free classifieds website, It takes me just 10 minutes every day to update the ads (I could choose to pay for them to be automatically updated, or even featured on the site, but I'm happy to spend the ten minutes rather than the money). I also advertise on as many free directories as possible - and the results are both on my web stats and trickling into my bank account.

Its taken me a long time to generate the levels of business that I have. To be honest, I have not done nearly enough (which is why I don't own a Porsche). I should be networking. I don't. I should be attending trade shows. Have I? No! I should be writing articles for my trade press. Not a word. And I should have set this blog up ages ago. Lazy bastard. But as I imagine my bank manager says, something is better than nothing.

The other thing to do is to become a forensic marketing detective. Try to discover where, how and why your customers are being lost. There is a lot to consider on this subject, so I will write more about it another time.

So summing up: Tinker with your marketing by all means, but give it a chance to work. If no one's visiting your website, its not because your website is at fault. Its because they do not know that its there. You need to do something about that.

1 comment:

  1. Liking the Gumtree thing. Thanks Paul for the tip. Been there and done it.