Over the last 35 plus years as an entrepreneur and business owner, I have seen so many organizations come and too many go because they fail to adapt. To succeed, a manager or owner must always be looking outside the box and observe what the competition is doing and what the trends are among successful companies. You do not have to be like everyone else, but it sure is a good idea to see what others are doing in the areas of marketing and branding practices.
About three years ago, I started service business. When I decided to do this, I immediately looked at the competition and saw a lot of opportunities to excel where they were not. To start with, I looked at how the business were establishing their identity (brand). This included looking at their locations, reviewing their websites, and their advertising methods and messages. The first thing I noticed was most of their websites to be no better than what my seven old year grandson could do. Their advertising was very traditional. Advertising included thousand dollar a month ads in the phone book, expensive television and radio ads.
The first thing I did was setup a website with a creative URL (web address). I did a lot of work with SEO (search engine optimization )so that we could easily be found on Google, Yahoo and Bing(among 100’s of other search sites). Customer testimonials and quoting online I felt was important, so I added them as well. Our rankings quickly shot up to number one and have stayed that way for four years now.
I knew that advertising was necessary for a start up, so I immediately attacked this task by committing to a ninety day blitz on TV, Radio and the phone books (just like our competition). Note: We started the business in 2008 right about the time the economy started going bust. Guess what happened .. my expenses where greater than my income for at least the first 6 months of business. It just about sunk us! To top everything else, the cheapest and most effective advertising was my website that I did my self for almost nothing. The traditional advertising methods of TV, Radio and phone book proved to ineffective and expensive to boot.
The cell phone ah the cell phone. I kept reading and hearing about how people are going to start using cell phones to find products and services. Even the laptop or home computer is becoming less of a tool for managing day-to-day activities. So, what I did next was to get a mobi URL (Mobile or smart phone compatible version of our website). The project cost me a whole $10 to setup. Guess what, it is now our number one source of hits on our website. I gave the customers a scaled down, no frills bit of information like our phone number, map of our location and email address. This is all they need to find us. If they want more information, they simply go to our primary site on their home computer or laptop.
In summation, our business has grown 40% per year since I started my marketing through the web. My advertising cost is approximately 1.5% of my gross profit. How is that for growing on a dime?
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