If you have a business that lends itself to directory advertising, try and start your company name with the letter "A" if possible. Directories list companies in alphabetical order and that means you will be at the front of the list if your company name starts with an "A". Readership studies show that consumers go to the category heading and usually end up calling the companies at the front of the directory. Naming your company with a name starting with an X, Y or Z with get you at the back of the Yellow Pages or trade show directories and will decrease your exposure. DECREASED exposure means less sales!
Too many small companies have several versions of their company name that they have made on their own, each one has different colours, sizes, fonts and styles. One ad in one paper has the one representation, another paper has another version. It is not an accident that major companies have one logo that is a consistent colour, style and shape. When consumers see a consistent logo for your business, they are more likely to become familiar and comfortable with it. Familiarity breeds confidence, confidence breeds sales.
This should be common sense but it amazes me how many small companies that I have gone to visit that were dirty? Dirty bathrooms, dirty reception areas & old newspapers laying around to name just a few marketing offences! When customers visit a business, they expect clean bathrooms, reception areas and staff. I went to see a client that owns a muffler shop. While I was waiting to see the owner, a lady that needed a muffler came in and quickly left. The staff behind the counter greeting people was un-shaven, had his shirt open exposing a rather large gut and he had black rings around his eyes. Gee, Why did that lady, who was a potential sale, leave? Because the place was a mess and the staff greeting her looked like an unmade bed. Your labour is a fixed cost usually, have them keep the bathrooms, reception and waiting area's clean as part of their duties. Your office and staff are the window to the world, make sure they are neat and tidy at all times.
If you are a lawn service and you want to grow your company, should you start a tree cutting service? I know a customer that did, year one, he increased his sales by 3% by adding that service. Instead of doing that, he would have been better served by forming an alliance with tree cutting companies, tell them about your company and tell them you will pay a commission to anyone they refer to your company and that you will do the same. Forming alliances means you now have extra feet on the street selling for you and you can concentrate on the business you're best at. Economies of scale can be realized by adding extra customers to your core business.
If you have a problem with your plumbing, you call a plumber. If you have an electrical issue, you call an electrician. If many business owners followed the same logic when they start their business and got some marketing advice in the outset, we would have way fewer bankruptcies. About 50% of new businesses fail, many because they had a poor marketing strategy. I know of a gym that just went bankrupt. The owner was given 6 months free rent by the landlord but did not offer any free work outs or exceptional specials to stimulate trial of the gym. He priced his gym services at exactly what the competition was at and offered no real incentives to join. A competitor was close by and had a 15 year head start on his gym. It's hard to fight that competitor without an effective strategy. Marketers know that half the battle is getting people to try your product or service, if it's a good product or service, people with come back. This is why you see people giving away free tasting of food items at your local grocery store. An ongoing "TWO WEEK FREE TRIAL MEMBERSHIP" promotion would have made the phone ring, stimulated word of mouth and could have saved the gym. Marketing advice in the beginning would increase the odds of success for small business startups and seriously help our economy.| | | | Written by Paul Cookson, Creative Director, www.adarmygroup.com