Once, while trying to solicit some business, a Copywriter/Creative Director looked at my portfolio and said, "You're not a poet." While I understood his meaning, I've always tried to emphasize performance over poetry in my work. (Plus, you rarely see Maya Angelou schlepping Hefty Trash Bags.) Thus, "You're not a poet" became both a badge of honor and a rallying cry. So, what follows are random thoughts on advertising, alarming alliteration, a plethora of punditry, and absolutely no poetry!
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
What Do You Do When Your Garage Is Empty?
(OK, so the title sounds like self-help/motivational drivel, but in this case, there's an actual point, so play along!)
A couple weeks back, I was stopped at a traffic light and, as I waited for it to turn green, I glanced over at the quick-lube/oil change place situated on the other side of the intersection. What caught my eye was the sight of a manager and employee walking out to the corner in front of their shop, each with signs advertising $10 off an oil change to the next ten customers who came through. When my light turned green and I drove past the shop, every stall was empty, though I figured they wouldn't be empty for long.
Later that same day, I was perusing my Twitter account when I came across a re-tweet from a busy local hair salon noting they had appointments available that afternoon. Though I can't be sure, it's a safe bet their quick little advertising Tweet filled their chairs just as quickly as the oil change signs filled the garage.
See a pattern? Both of the above businesses took matters into their own hands and, when things got slow, they advertised! They didn't wait to see a pattern, they didn't wait until their cash flow was low and, most importantly, they didn't have to spend money to promote their businesses!
While the oil change shop's method was definitely old school, it was executed perfectly. By waving an oil change offer at people in their cars, they appealed directly to their target audience, offered instant gratification (no waiting!) and, by offering nice savings to a limited number of customers (along with the urgency of an empty garage stall), they finished with a nice call to action.
The hair salon effectively did the same thing electronically. Though not offering savings, by advertising available appointments, they broadcast directly to their target audience (their Twitter followers), they instilled urgency, and encouraged potential new customers who may not have come in otherwise.
Now, ask yourself, what do you do to drive business when your (insert business facility) is empty or the phone or cash register aren't ringing? While the goal of a yearly ad plan is to keep your business steady all year long, the two examples above show that, on a micro scale, you can make an immediate difference every time you have the opportunity. While many businesses don't lend themselves to standing on the corner with a sign, the Internet makes getting a message out to your customers a snap!
Seeing new trends in your business? Write a blog about it. Got in a new product line? Put the word out on your Twitter and/or Facebook account. Got a new project that will showcase you or your company's skills? Put out a press release. Are your production lines quiet? Update your website so your customers can see what you can do for them.
While micro-advertising may not be a long range strategy, it's a fast, easy way for you and your business to keep the doors swinging and the phone ringing. Just remember to make sure your message stresses to your customer how your product or service can benefit them. It can be a 140 character tweet or a 140 word blog, but (self-help/motivational message alert), if the goal is to fill an empty garage, just remember that you can make it happen on your own.
And, if you want a long range strategy that will fill your garage, or you simply need help with a quick blog or press release, drop us a line. We can keep your doors swinging and your business rolling, all year long!
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