The other day, as I was driving through my neighborhood on the way to drop my daughter at preschool, I saw a taxi cab coasting the streets of suburbia. It was an unusual enough site in that area to make me take notice. Now, I’m assuming he wasn’t actively looking for fare, but a bizarre thought sprang to mind: what if he was? What if this taxi cab driver WAS driving through neighborhood streets, on a weekday early afternoon, looking to pick up riders?
NOT the best use of his time and resources (a.k.a. gasoline), is it?
Simply because his chances of finding customers in that time and place – a nearly empty neighborhood, in which most inhabitants are either gone at work or home by choice, in either case not needing a taxi – is slim to none.
Nope, he’d have much better luck hanging out at an airport or other highly-populated area where parking is scarce or people otherwise don’t have ready access to a vehicle. Someplace he can pick up folks who are needing to go somewhere fast and willing to pay to do so.
And while this made-up scenario might be a bit of a silly one, and kind of a no-brainer…it struck me that so many biz owners who work from home and market themselves mostly online operate in this manner.
They hang out in the wrong places, at the wrong times, and often say the “wrong” things in their efforts to get noticed. (Not wrong as in offensive, in most cases, but wrong as in not effective enough to actually attract the right people, eager to buy your products and services.)
If you find yourself in this boat, you can potentially waste a LOT of time and resources trying to drum up some business (and finding yourself getting nowhere fast!). But the reality is that this method of marketing is much too scattered to deliver any real results to your business. Trust me, I speak from experience here, having been there and done that!
Here are 3 steps to avoid wasting time and resources on scattered marketing – so you can drastically increase the chances of connecting with those who need you.
Step 1: Know what your people are hungry for. For instance, in the taxi cab example, those people are “hungry” for transportation. I should say, quick transportation. They need to get from point A to point B and favor a taxi ride over other available methods of transportation (like walking, running, riding a bus, etc.). In this instance, their need overcomes any potential objections to taking a taxi – like rude drivers, dirty cars, etc. And if you REALLY want to stand out from the crowd, fix those common objections. In the case of our taxi cabs, one company could put themselves head and shoulders above the competition by making themselves known as the cabs that are scrubbed down between riders (for example), promising a clean ride, and that only use courteous drivers with impeccable driving records (not any Joe Blow off the street). Bottom line is that if you know what people are hungry for, you’ll know how best to serve them.
Step 2: Make it easy for people to do business with you. In our taxi cab example, let’s say that he not only is in the wrong place at the wrong time, but he is not using technology to make things easy for his customers. Like being unreachable by phone (for those who want to call and request a pick-up) and/or not accepting multiple forms of payment (cash, charge, etc.). It’s the equivalent of virtual business owners who have no clear path for interested prospects to travel if they want to start working with you. There should be only 3 steps in this process: 1) Get their attention, 2) Give them enough information to make their decision, and 3) Invite them to take a specific action to learn more/get started.
Step 3: Go where your clients are. Now, this doesn’t have to mean physically go where your clients are, in the case of the taxi cab, although it never hurts to meet prospects face to face (definitely boosts the know, like and trust factor!). But, with that being said, this can also mean rubbing elbows with them in other, not-so-face-to-face ways: Connect with them on Facebook. Join memberships they belong to. Call them on the phone. Etc. etc.
What do YOU think? Are you hanging out where your clients hang out? Have you found yourself cruising the wrong place/wrong time circuit and coming up empty-handed? What did you do to fix it (if anything)? Your thoughts and comments are always welcomed and encouraged! Please leave your comments in the “Leave a reply” box below this post. Can’t wait to hear from you!