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The LUNACY of Small Business Marketing

I was recently asked to help a fellow business owner beef up his marketing, which I agreed to do… and I started where any good marketer might start – by understanding his demographic and competition.  For all intents and purposes this business had NO competition, and an incredible demographic – he was sitting on the proverbial goldmine.  I couldn’t wait to get started… and so I began.

But I forgot something – before you start to push people in the door, it would help if the door were open to begin with.

What, you might ask, am I talking about?

Well – with all marketing that I do, I track results.  This includes tracking and recording telephone calls, so that I can know whether or not the money being paid to bring the people in is bringing people in AND I would like to know that the staff are doing a great job of answering the questions that the potential customers have, then bringing them in the door.

What I discovered on the generated calls was shocking – the calls weren’t being answered.  So we sent the customers to the business, but for all intents and purposes, that business was closed.  What do you think when you pick up the phone to buy something and get voicemail on the far side?  I would imagine that you probably assume that the business is closed for business… that the doors are closed.

Now – I have struggled with this very thing – we have a small staff, and if there are customers lined up at the counter, we don’t answer the phone as policy – the customer in front of you is always more important than the one on the phone unfortunately, and we have to make choices.  But this fellow’s phone wasn’t answered once that I counted – which is tragic.  I have no idea what the folks who showed up the door experienced – possibly a sign saying that they were short staffed, who knows?

The irony here is that this business owner has decided that he wasn’t getting results from his marketing, and has subsequently decided not to pay his bills – he doesn’t feel that he should pay for something that doesn’t work.  Uhuh.

Now understand this – this fellow has a business located in an enviable market, one where he should be doing two to three times the business that he is doing (my best guess) at a minimum.  He’s can’t keep staff for some reason, and the people that probably do show up to buy show up to a closed door – figuratively or literally.  This is money pouring all over the ground.

It’s sad – and it’s one of the many reasons that you see small business close their doors – first reason is that they don’t do the marketing to bring the people in , and the second would be that when the people that they do bring in show up, they show up to closed doors.

I am learning as I go – I didn’t know all that I know today yesterday, and tomorrow I will learn that I have been doing something wrong myself.  Our constant course corrections help lead us in the “right” direction, but as with all things, including sailing at sea, the right direction may only be momentary – then we course correct again.

Business, just like life, is a learning process.  If you aren’t learning, you are probably losing… that’s my lesson for today :

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