When I first started Exceptional Thinking, just about everybody told me that I should do some advertising and to be honest, that’s what I thought I should do too. After all, that’s what businesses do to promote their products and services don’t they?
So, dutifully I advertised. First in a business magazine that resulted in nothing, then in a local community magazine – again nothing and then finally (I was learning my lesson at this point) in the local paper. Nothing there either.
By this point, I was getting a little frustrated with marketing. Wasn’t advertising supposed to bring in results? All I’d done so far is to spend our money and got nothing back.
After reading tons of marketing books and about 6 months later, I finally realized that advertising was simply not going to work for my business. But, the funny thing was that when I spoke to other businesses too, exactly the same thing had happened to them!
Why was this?
Well, here’s my theory on advertising. Advertising is extremely good for making people AWARE of your business, but not too good at actually getting you customers. Think about it this way.
You advertise in your local paper. Your potential customers might see your advert, be interested, and mean to do something, but the paper gets thrown away and they forget all about it. Next week, you advertise again. The same person sees your advert for a second time and thinks they really must do something, but forgets all about it as soon as they close the paper. And so it goes on.
Someone might do something the third or fourth time they see your advert, but by this point, you’ve spent a fortune and although for this person, it’s the third or fourth time they’ve seen it, for someone else, it might be the first time they’ve seen your advert.
And then, consider this scenario…people flick through the local paper, but bypass the adverts section because they think there won’t be anything in there that might interest them.
Or even see your advert, but it’s not clear enough on what you do or who to call so they don’t bother!
You can see why adverts don’t work as well as they used to, can’t you? These days, we’re just bombarded with them and the web adverts really don’t have the effect that they once did.
OK – so if adverts don’t work then, what can you do to promote your business particularly if you don’t have a great deal of money?
The good news is that there are actually loads you can do to promote your business, without spending, well pretty much anything at all. The secret to getting ideas to promote your business is to really think about who you’re trying to reach and where they might go.
To give you an example, I was chatting to someone yesterday who told me she was trying to reach builders. Just thinking about what builders naturally do on a day to day, sometimes without even being consciously aware of it, we came up with builder’s merchants, greasy spoons, bookies, and pubs where she could promote her services. We also came up with using text messaging as I don’t know a single builder who doesn’t use their mobile.
So, if you’re stuck for how to promote your business, start by researching where your target customers go.
The other thing you can do is download my guide “50 ideas to promote your business” which is available by visiting our website (details in the bio).