I know a good number of local freelancers and small agencies (handful of people) that manage advertising/marketing campaigns for clients, yet they don't run campaigns for themselves.
What about you? Do you run marketing campaigns for yourself?
If so, how do you go about it?
If you don't, why not?
Really interested in seeing where this discussion goes... 😄
I have never run a marketing campaign for my business, and have never needed to. I have been very lucky that everything comes to me by referral. It helps that I prefer to work only with local clients. I live in a city of 220,000 people (more or less) and many clients know each other. It seems like a big town but you can easily be visible via community involvement, volunteer work, etc.
I answered another post yesterday about strategic early freebie work that got me visibility.
Now having said that, I think you are probably asking about more traditional marketing, such as paying for ads or print collateral. I have not done that, but.. I would say that some of my local activities work just like marketing. For example...
Tomorrow I am speaking at the local Rotary Club meeting (predominantly on a topic from my book), where there will be about 100 people. Some are my clients, I will know many others in the room. I fully expect to sell books, and also expect to have several people approach me about doing website work for them. For a 2-hour investment (and I get lunch out of it), that's inexpensive advertising
I also speak at local career days (elementary, high school, community college).
I was on the steering committee for our city's 50-year anniversary celebration.
I'm in the chamber of commerce.
And so on.
None of these are what I would call advertising in the traditional sense, but I seem to get a lot of work as a byproduct of my involvement.
I happen to be one of those people that ENJOY these activities, I realize it's not for everyone. They don't cost me any money, and it's time I'd spend anyway since it's fun.
I have friends in similar businesses who do a lot of local "free" 1-hour presentations on topics such as social media or SEO. They fully expect to get business from it -- and if they get one client, that would be worth it.
The challenge will be that for many of our faithful readers, they do work across the country (or beyond), whereas I chose to stick to local clients. In that case, my strategies won't help much (if at all).
If others are doing more traditional marketing (ads, etc.) I'd be interested in knowing WHERE they are advertising. For example, is web design a business where Google Adwords would be helpful? Are you advertising in the newspaper or magazines, or online?
There is no real need to run a marketing campaign because we probably couldn't handle the new business that came in. I like that we are at the place where we can choose the people and clients we would like to work with rather than having to accept any client. In a certain sense our limited availability is our marketing. I left a corporate job where I was "forced" to work with people and within situations where I wasn't thrilled. Starting my business meant that I could choose my client and that has worked perfectly so far. I could have more sales but sales aren't everything. I learned early on that huge sales were a lot more trouble than they were worth.
Like @webdiva we are a fan of more covert marketing. I am a member of several business organizations in my area, I participate in and host meetups, incubators, seminars... I rarely start with sales. I like the "I guess maybe if you want us to do your website we maybe can schedule a meeting." kind of approach. Our goal is to be productive, sincere and involved, sales falls below that after about ten other things.
For us the proven marketing campaign has been a well satisfied customer. I vaguely remember hearing somewhere that companies have to reach customers three times before they pay attention? (Or something like that) I think that is fine if you are a company who can advertise with a 3X on your budget but I don't have the budget to reach one potential customer three different times. The effective frequency may be lower than three, it also may be more than fourteen depending on your method. I do know that in a marketing campaign repetition is important.
In a marketing campaign repetition is important because usually the first time the message is ignored. Thomas Smith, in his 1885 book Successful Advertising, makes the following reflection on effective frequency:
The first time people look at any given ad, they don't even see it.
The second time, they don't notice it.
The third time, they are aware that it is there.
The fourth time, they have a fleeting sense that they've seen it somewhere before.
The fifth time, they actually read the ad.
The sixth time they thumb their nose at it.
The seventh time, they start to get a little irritated with it.
The eighth time, they start to think, "Here's that confounded ad again."
The ninth time, they start to wonder if they're missing out on something.
The tenth time, they ask their friends and neighbors if they've tried it.
The eleventh time, they wonder how the company is paying for all these ads.
The twelfth time, they start to think that it must be a good product.
The thirteenth time, they start to feel the product has value.
The fourteenth time, they start to remember wanting a product exactly like this for a long time.
The fifteenth time, they start to yearn for it because they can't afford to buy it.
The sixteenth time, they accept the fact that they will buy it sometime in the future.
The seventeenth time, they make a note to buy the product.
The eighteenth time, they curse their poverty for not allowing them to buy this terrific product.
The nineteenth time, they count their money very carefully.
The twentieth time prospects see the ad, they buy what is offering.
I don't know how much of that is true 130+ years later AND I don't know if our digital age provides for longer or shorter attention spans but we sincerely don't have the marketing budget to reach out that much. Our method is to have our customer reach out to potential clients as to speak over the noise of other in our field that have greater advertising power.
roy darling *my posts seem a lot shorter in my head