Have you ever noticed how when you ask people how they landed a big client, they’ll often say it was just luck that they were in the right place, at the right time. OK, so sometimes luck plays a part… but you can be a whole lot luckier if you know where the right place is, and when you should be there. It’s called marketing.
It’s absolutely true that it is very often the case that your letter, phone call, blog article, or simply bumping into someone at a networking event appears to conveniently collide with when they are looking for the very thing you offer. It can certainly seem like serendipity as the person on the end of the phone says, “Well I never, what perfect timing, we were just starting to look for someone to do xyz.” But of course, your timing gets a whole lot more perfect if you’re always there, in readiness for when they happen to notice you.
There’s a phenomenon that you will no doubt have experienced yourself, that is vital to understand if you’re to master effective marketing for your small business. It is selective attention.
Imagine, you learn a new word… suddenly people seem to be saying it everywhere – on the news, on the radio, in a document you’re reading. The word was always there, but because it hadn’t entered your consciousness, you didn’t notice it. Or perhaps, you’re thinking of buying a new car and you have your eye on a particular model – you’ll suddenly find yourself parked next to one, seeing them on every corner, spotting ads for them everywhere – again, they were always there, you’ve just become hyper aware and you’re spotting them.
The same is true for your potential buyers. Only when they are in the market for what you do might they prick their ears up and notice you. Which could, of course, happen at any time. So, you need to always be there.
When I worked as marketing executive at Mason Zimbler nearly a decade ago, we would send out a set of case study postcards every six weeks without fail. They would go out to our database of marketing professionals in technology companies. It could be up to two years later, when someone had been receiving these every six weeks for that whole time, that they might pick up the phone, or request a follow-up. We had always been there… they just noticed us when they were in a buying mood.
You need to create a lighthouse effect for your small business. Showing up at regular intervals to make sure that people know you’re there. The interval at which you send something, or drop people a line, depends on your market and your budget. Having a think about the average length of a buying decision can be a useful place to start. If it typically takes someone six months, six weeks or six days to work through their decision to buy – you need to show up at least that often. But, that’s a bare minimum – because they could start that buying journey at any time. We advocate a “little and often” approach to marketing – so that you’re always there rather than occasionally very loud and then forgotten.
Go on, give it a go. You will get a whole lot luckier if you do a whole lot more marketing, a whole lot more often.