Meet Steve. He loves working on cars. It is his true passion. That’s why he started Steve’s Auto Repair five years ago. Steve started out small and built up a loyal following of clients over the years. He prides himself in the service and value that he offers his clients. Steve’s business is running pretty well, but the fourth quarter of the year his business consistently drops due to the holiday season. It’s becoming a big problem and something needs to change. Advertising is on his to-do list, but the thought of putting together a plan and then forking over the money for the advertising campaign sounds about as pleasurable as doing his taxes.
The month of October rolls around and Steve realizes that he really needs to do something to help bring in customers during his upcoming slow season. He keeps saying he will start advertising soon, but just doesn’t have the time to follow through. Coincidentally, the local newspaper advertising rep walks into his shop and talks to Steve about a new advertising program that the paper has to offer. Normally Steve wouldn’t entertain this offer, but since he does need to advertise he listens to her pitch and decides to give it a shot for one-month to “try it out”.
His month of advertising in the newspaper runs its course and Steve realizes that he got nothing out of the campaign. No one even mentioned they saw the ads. He begrudgingly writes the check to the newspaper to pay for his campaign, and proclaims “Newspaper advertising does not work for me!”
Fast forward to the first of December. Steve’s shop is slower than ever. Most people are spending their disposable income on Christmas gifts, not auto repair. He bumps into a radio ad rep at a chamber of commerce holiday event who proceeds to tell Steve about this year end special rate for radio advertising, and offers Steve an amazing deal to advertise. Steve thinks it over a couple days. He doesn’t want to waste money on advertising again, but business is slow. He needs momentum, just a few new clients! Maybe the radio will work. Steve calls up the radio rep and tells him he will try it out for 30-days hoping for results.
30-days go by. In those 30-days, Steve’s aunt and second cousin were the only ones to mention that they heard the radio ads. Frustrated, Steve once again proclaims “Radio does not work!”
Steve was not happy about spending $2,000 on advertising over the winter that gave him zero return on his investment. Thankfully, it is March and Steve’s business starts to pick up, because it always picks up in March. Steve hopes that next winter will be different.
But it wasn’t. Steve repeated the same cycle the following year. Another $2,000 down the drain.
Like most entrepreneurs, Steve started his business because he has a passion for what he does. If it were up to him, his days would be dedicated to fixing cars. But let’s face it – that is not reality. As a small business owner, you are tasked to wear multiple hats throughout the day – some more enjoyable than others. You might start your day as the bookkeeper, close an important sale over lunch, and by close of business you are the head of HR dealing with a disgruntled employee. You are busy.
When it comes to marketing, you know you have to do it. Who has the time to do marketing though? There are bigger fires to put out throughout the day, right? The problem is not that marketing takes up too much time, the problem is that marketing has the perception of taking up too much time because marketing seems overwhelming. Think for a minute: How many advertising representatives have contacted you in the last year claiming that they have the “best advertising program” in your area? I’m willing to guess that it has been at least a handful of them. Maybe you tried a few of their programs. Did you get results? If you are reading this post, chances are that your advertising expenditure did not garner the results that were promised.
Full disclosure: I’m not picking on advertising representatives – mainly because I am one of those advertising “vulchers”, I mean representatives.
Maybe you just started your own business? Perhaps you have owned your business for many years, but are searching for some fresh ideas to help promote your business? Whatever brought you here, I am glad you found this blog. I chose the phrase “get marketing muscle” very intentionally. Getting the marketing side of your business strong is similar to getting your body ripped. There are no short cuts – but the formula is a simple 5-step program. Luckily for all you foodies out there (myself included)…Throughout this guide we are talking about marketing muscle, not true muscle on your body – so, feel free to eat/workout as you chooseJ Stay tuned for Step 1 in the marketing process — Goal Assesment.