Yes, we can advertise. There is almost a limitless number of places where we can spend our money to publish our message and publicize the fact that we are available to be hired or engaged, that we offer a particular service, product , or solution, and that we invite their business.
There are print sources such as traditional newspapers. periodicals, and direct mail. There also is a print dimension available through various types signage (including vehicle signs and wraps and billboards), job site or location inflatables, business cards, flyers, brochures, and promotional items. There is electronic media such as radio and TV - including infomercials, spots, and interviews. There is the virtual media that includes internet marketing, websites, blogs, and social media ads and posts. And there is more!
Again, it's a big pond with lots of opportunities to be noticed. That's the real issue, however - being and getting noticed. If the people we are targeting as someone we want to do business with or someone who might need or want what we offer, and they never see our messages or learn about who and what we are, we have achieved nothing through our expenditures and efforts.
Determining where our potential clients and partners that we might want to reach are looking for information or services such as we offer is the first major hurdle to overcome. If we can't learn specifically where people might be looking to find information about products, services, or solutions such as we offer, we will just be spending money with probably very little to show for it. We can advertise in a particular newspaper or social site, but if the people we want to reach never look there or don't subscribe to that service or publication, our messages go unnoticed. It's the same as never running them at all.
So how do we reach the people we want to educate and influence about doing business with us if advertising may not be the answer because there are so many unknown aspects to it - where to advertise, what to invest, where to run the messages, how often, target market, shotgun marketing, online only or primarily, traditional marketing, a combination? The answer is simply to take our case to the people we want to reach, one-on-one and one-at-a-time.
How do we know who to contact? Good question. The answer is to start with almost anyone. Isn't this time consuming? It is to a point, but when it is managed along with daily activities and when it is viewed as a very reliable - and essentially free - way of attracting people who have been waiting to meet us but didn't know who we were or even that we were, it is actually fun and rewarding to do.
So, we make a commitment to ourselves and our business - and in a larger sense to the people we want to serve - to begin meeting people. Talk with people everywhere, whether they need or want what we have or not. How we know that without a conversation? We must begin talking with almost everyone that we see. It doesn't have to be more than a friendly greeting. Sometimes that's all it will be. Sometimes, we will get to deliver our elevator speech. Occasionally, we will meet someone who wants to learn more about what we do and how we might be able to help them or someone that they know and care about.
There is a lot more to lead development and cultivation, but the first step is to meet people and have a conversation. The rest will come.