Zee2A's Marketing Edge Blog

May 15, 2008

Cancel your advertising and throw away your leaflets

“Cancel your advertising and throw away your leaflets”

By Karen Skidmore

When people decide to give up on their business and go back to corporate life it’s not because they prefer PAYE world. It’s usually because they have just run out money.  They aren’t able to make enough income to cover their day-to-day costs, let alone make a profit.

But these businesses don’t go out of business because of bad service or poor quality products.  These businesses are usually run by people who are passionate about what they do and genuinely care about their customers. 

So why is it that many home based businesses come and go? 

Is it because they had a bad business idea? 

Sometimes, yes but more often the real reason is that they have no idea on how marketing works and what are the easiest and simplest ways of attracting customers. 

Let me give you an example. 

Jane is an ex-accountant who got fed up with the commute in to work every day and because of her passion for colours and interiors, she decided to re-train and start up an interiors business.  She now offers a range of services from one-off consultations and personal home styling to project managing big decorating jobs. 

Jane is based in a fairly affluent area.  The credit crunch is not yet affecting the local spending patterns but the high housing prices has meant that more people are extending and modifying their property to get more space rather than move.  There is a market place for Jane’s service, especially when Jane has worked out that she only needs to be working with a maximum of 10 clients at any given time. 

She has sensibly got a 6 month financial buffer, but four months in and Jane is finding it difficult attracting enough clients to her business.  She rarely has more than the odd appointment in her diary each week.  

She advertises once a month in her local newspaper because she felt she ought to have a presence and get her name out there.  And she has also just signed up for one year advertising in her parish magazine as well with a local online business directory.  She has even gone round and put a leaflet in every door in her local neighbourhood offering a free consultation, but not one person has called her about the offer. 

Selling her business is becoming hard work.  It is demoralising and the passion is starting to dwindle.  If it carries on like this, Jane will be forced to give up on her dreams and return to her accountancy career to pay the bills. 

It’s not fair is it?  Especially when Jane is offering a quality and professional service which is backed up by study and training.  There is a local market for what she offers and she knows that her knowledge can help increase the value of people’s homes and save them endless of hours of research.   

But what she doesn’t know is how to market herself.  All her money is going in to advertising that obviously is not working for her and on leaflets that are obviously aren’t compelling enough to make people call. 

Jane needs to stop and take the time out to really get to know her target customers. 

Targeting the right customers with the right messages is really the secret to great marketing.  The better you know the people you want to attract, the more likely it is that you will know where to find them, how to communicate with them and how to make yourself attractive enough for these people to call you. 

Jane needs to stop her advertising and go back to basics. 

Who are her target customers?  What are their worries and concerns?  When it comes to home decorating and creating more space, what are their real problems and challenges? 

By focusing on some simple questions such as these, Jane’s answers will help her work out what her special uniqueness could be to make her marketing activities and offers compelling and attractive.   

So, for those of you out there who feeling like Jane, take a long hard look at how you are telling people about your business.  If your advertising isn’t working, cancel it.  If those leaflets cluttering up your office aren’t working, get rid of them. 

Cleanse your business of stuff that you are doing because you think it is the right thing to do.   

Stop second guessing and start understanding your customers.

© Karen Skidmore   CanDoCanBe
   Marketing and Business Inspiration for Women 



How do you tell people about your business?  What do you tell your prospects when they ask what you do?

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1 Comment »

  1. I do agree that most businesses fail because people do not know how to market themselves. You have to know how to market yourself amd know what the market is in need of. If you create or try to sell a product that many other people are producing, your chances are very slim to being successful. The example that you gave was a good example and I believe that you give your audience a good view of looking at things.
    This reminds me of an old friend of my family. She had a passion for making baskets (for some reason)so she decided to focus on that. She made baskets of all kinds, childrens baskets, household baskets, you name it she would design it. I think she believed that it would be a success because of there were a few people who purchased those baskets around the same time. She assumed that she could make alot of money, but in the end she didn’t. This goes back to knowing what the consumers want and what the market needs.

    Comment by britt04 — May 15, 2008 @ 4:26 pm | Reply

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