Thursday, February 16, 2017

"Avoiding Some Common Marketing Mistakes For Better Results"

Marketing is how we let the world - and more specifically people who might be able to use what we offer - know about us and the solutions we provide. Marketing is frequently paired with sales, as in salt and paper or shoes and socks, but it has its own distinct function.

Marketing and sales are often confused. Put simply, marketing is what creates the interest and attracts the sales lead. Then, the sales function takes over to begin working with that lead to create a paid transaction. Sales cannot happen without some form of marketing - even though it might be indirect - to create that lead.

To build our aging in place businesses, we need marketing. Fortunately, there are many different types of marketing that we can use, and the majority or it is free to use. It takes time, creativity, and effort, but marketing does not need to be expensive. In fact, on an out-of-pocket dollar expenditure basis (not counting our time), marketing can be largely free. We can place ads, print business cards and brochures, purchase leave-behind items, have a booth at a show, or use a marketing firm or advertising agency, but most of these aren't required.

Three of the most common forms of marketing - the business card, brochure or trifold, and the website - are where many of us are going to be directing our marketing dollars. Again, this does not need to be a huge expenditure. Nevertheless, there are a couple of common pitfalls that we need to be aware of and avoid.

Remember that the main reason we are investing in marketing - with out time or our dollars, or both - is to let the potential consumers in marketplace know that we exist, inform them of what solutions we offer through our products or services, and to invite them to connect with us to discuss how we may help them.

This is where the largest disconnect happens. While rare, it still is far more prevalent that it should be. It shouldn't happen at all, but it does. We tend to assume that when people pick up our business card at an event or because we placed one in their hand that they will remember where they met us and under what circumstances. Therefore, it doesn't matter if we put the name of our town on the card or our area code - until later when our card gets shuffled in among others and the person who has it who wants to contact us isn't sure if we are local to them or not.

If all of our work is done within a very finite, well-defined area and there is no possibility that our card, brochure, or website would ever be seen by someone outside our market area, omitting the area code from the phone number or the town name might be justified - but can we be sure that this is the case? Why take the chance that someone who might want to reach out to us is not sure how to do so because a vital piece of information is missing from our contact information?

With the internet, we usually can find the correct area code to use, but why make someone go to the extra effort? What if someone from outside our immediate market area wanted to contact us?

Let's give our marketing a chance by making sure that phone numbers are complete with area codes, that street addresses are complete with zip codes (if we have a physical presence where people can come), and that at least our town and state are shown so that people will know where we are.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, CEAC, SHSS, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist-Instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555.