In sitting down to write a short article describing the methods I use to market my business I noticed that it’s begun to rain. I always hated rain. When I was a kid we weren’t allowed to go outside when it rained. Doing so would be risking a cold due to the moisture that might settle in our lungs which might cause us to catch our “death-of-pneumonia” (that was the line anyway).
On rainy days my mom would always think of ways to entertain us (obviously a ploy to allay the guilt brought on by the lie). She’d pull out scrabble or have us do the memory game with a deck of cards, sometimes it was a puzzle, anything to keep us occupied otherwise we might drive her crazy. She had a knack for puzzles and crosswords.
Most weekend days mom had a puzzle going in the front room and my little brother and I would always mess them up. While running in and out (which was frowned-upon), we’d stop our play to try our hand at shoving oddly shaped pieces, that looked like they’d fit, into spaces that really didn’t work. But she didn’t care, she’d patiently wait until we left the room and fix what we’d done. Prying the paper peeled cardboard pieces from each spot and carefully replacing them, she’d begin again, so that the magnificent waterfall or stately horse farm would start to take form.
But I’ve gotten off track. Let’s see… Ok. Of course piecing together a successful marketing plan is much more difficult than putting together a puzzle made up of 10,000 parts. Now I’m all grown up and the stakes are much higher but like many, my ADHD has me running in and out sending me in 5 different directions at the same time.
Every day my mind gets cluttered with too many distractions, from customers and employees to truck repairs and politics, there’s barely any time to take care of the most important part of business, growing it.
And when there is time to investigate my options, I’m hit with a glut of misinformation from everywhere I turn. From every angle there’s ad men, all-but promising huge returns from their ideas about how to advertise my business. There’s the Yellow Pages guy who says it costs me more if I decrease my monthly budget (what?), the Radio guy who wants me to advertise during baseball games, and the local TV ad lady who says I can be on the list for the place I really want. They all believe in their medium. They think that it’s their channel or book that builds will build my business by the mere fact that I’m in it. But what about the message?
- They say “you need to get your name out there”
- They say “constant exposure on television and radio is the trick”
- The say “if your ad’s not working let’s make it bigger”
- Run it more often, louder, more impressions
- BUILD YOUR BRAND!!!
Or maybe you don’t worry about marketing your business, maybe you’re one of those guys who believes in: “Most Toys Wins”.
These folks believe that, to win, all they have to do is buy the biggest and best toys to do the job.
I used to believe that, hell I spent over a million dollars in one year because I believed that, and I’m here to tell you it didn’t work. You can have the latest equipment with a 75 ton rotator as your flagship, you can be TRAA Level III certified and Wreckmaster 12/13 trained but none of that stuff matters if you don’t have customers.
Maybe you depend upon your relationships with friends in high places, you’re a political “BIG DEAL”.
Yeah, that’s it; You’re in real-tight with the Mayor or you’ve got friends at the State Highway Patrol… Hell, you might even play golf with the Governor.
That’s great if it’s working for you but if that’s what you’re depending upon for retirement you’re going to be disappointed. Winds of influence inevitably change and those who were your trusted friends because you did them a favor awhile back will just as easily become someone else’s friend- If the price is right.
It’s great to know people and I’m not suggesting otherwise but to balance your entire business on one or two relationships is foolish.
Now I know I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know but maybe what you don’t know is what pieces of the puzzle you need to get and keep a whole lot of good customers instead.
Simply put- you need: The Market, The Message, and The Media to be successful selling your services. You gotta have all three right and you gotta have ‘em in the right order or you’ll just flounder along with your big beautiful toys paying the bills and not reaping the benefits of a properly executed marketing plan.
You see you’ve gotta know what market you’re shooting for first (that’s the people you want to buy your services). When you know who they are you can begin to develop a message (obviously, that’s what you say to them). The message should be aimed at educating your market as to what they should be looking for and what to avoid (the horrors of the competition). Next you’ll want to deliver your message through some sort of media (this can be online, Google, offline Radio and Television). But it doesn’t just end there.
You can have the greatest message placed perfectly so that your exact target market sees it but if they don’t take some sort of action then your efforts will have been wasted.
That’s not to say that if they don’t buy what you’re selling immediately within the 30 minutes after seeing your material your efforts were fruitless. Not at all, the type of marketing I’m talking about is intended to educate your customer so that they become an informed purchaser. If done right your marketing should transform price-shoppers into informed consumers and do-it-your-selfers into convenience driven lifetime customers.
The type of action this marketing aims to achieve is to simply get them to like you on Facebook page or maybe give you an email address.
But you may be asking what good is all this going to do me? I’m glad you’re still participating in the conversation.
Ok here we go…towing customers either need you or they don’t. And although sometimes a properly placed box of spilled nails strewn-about downtown traffic may be the temporary shot in the arm you need- it’s not a long-term marketing strategy (especially if someone sees you doing it) 🙂
When they do need a tow truck they- need it RIGHT NOW – and they’ll call the first towing company that comes to mind. If none comes to mind they’ll search on Google .
But lets look at what happens if you’ve got their email address or they like you on Facebook? Let’s say you send them a non-intrusive weekly or monthly newsletter for a while or periodically on Facebook. Now, even if, they completely ignore it and delete it every time without reading it, odds are, they’ll still remember your name when they need you. And instead of Googling “Tow Truck” they’ll Google you’re name. Sounds a lot like “get your name out there” doesn’t it? (Costs a lot less.)
So now that you’ve got a few ideas you want to start building your business right? Good. First you need to narrow your focus. I know that sounds opposite of everything you’ve heard about advertising. But to be successful with your marketing messages they must be directed to a particular group of folks, one group at a time. Not to worry, just because your message is directed to a small group doesn’t mean you’ll have less customers, in fact because you can focus in on a small group your message will be more personal and much more effective. Check out Honing In On The Right Prospects