Have you ever dropped a rock in a pond and watched the waves ripple out into the water? The ripples closest to where the rock lands are the most pronounced, and they fade out the further away they get from the center.
This is how you should think about your marketing. When you come up with a marketing plan, you want to put the most effort into marketing to those who already know you, and spend less effort marketing to those you don’t.
You might think this sounds counter intuitive. After all, if you want to grow your business, don’t you want to reach new customers?
Yes, of course everyone wants to reach new customers, but in today’s crowded marketplace, it’s highly unlikely that your message will get through to someone who has never heard of you. But if those who are closest to you love your company or your service, they will tell other people, who will fall in love with your service and will tell someone else, so creating extremely connected, satisfied customers is the best way to reach new people. These days, developing loyal, loud fans is key.
If you’re just starting a marketing campaign and are trying to decide where to spend the most money, ask yourself, how can I make the biggest impact on those around me? Here are a couple ideas to get you started:
1. Tell your personal friends: Do all of your personal friends and family members know about your business? Don’t be shy about telling your friends what you do. Offer them discounts if they refer new business, and make sure to talk about it on your personal Facebook page. Also, set up a business Facebook page and invite all of the people you know to like it.
2. Set up an email newsletter: Sending out email newsletters is a great way of staying connected and engaged with your current and former customers. The more they see your name in your inbox, the more you will be at the top of their mind when they are talking to their friends.
3. Thank your customers: One way to be the kind of business that your customers rave about is by doing small things that make your customers feel special, such as thanking them with a note or gift at the end of a project or sending them a card when it’s their birthday. Also consider offering them incentives for referring new business.
4. Get involved in your community: People are more likely to buy from companies that are near them rather than ones that are further away. The more that you are involved in your local chamber of commerce, attend networking events in your area, or volunteer with community organizations, the more visible you will be in your community, and the more leads you will generate.
5. Get local publicity first: If you’re looking to get publicity for your business, remember to start with the newspapers, magazines and blogs that are closest to where your company is located. Journalists always care more about things that are local, and the more local clips you get, the more legitimate you will seem when the larger news outlets come calling.
Once you’ve done everything you can do locally, then, and only then, should you start trying to market to people outside of your core circle by buying ads in newspapers, magazines, or on the Internet. Trust us, the return on investment you’ll see from marketing to those you know first will be much higher than marketing to those you don’t.
Sharp Pencil Marketing