Steering to 'First Position in the Mind'Posted 08/13/2004
By Raymond Kane
What is meant by the term "first position in the mind?" In its simplest form, when someone needs a service or product, they need to think of you - first. When you want oil, tires, parts or tools, what company or brand name first pops into your mind? Was it Craftsman or Snap-on? Whichever it was, the company has gained first position in your mind. This positioning in your mind is what this article is about.
For instance, say your car has a broken windshield. Who do you call to get it fixed? First name on my mind is Cindy Rowe. She has established herself as "first position" locally and statewide. Why does her name jump into my mind first? Was it because she was the first with something unique and she told us about it? I don't think so. But she was the first to establish herself as the person to call when you need windshields replaced. Others are now trying to penetrate this market, but she has "first position in the mind." She offered a service that was convenient, fast, dependable and hassle free. Others offer the same service, but she took the position of being the expert by focusing on the fact she was there and that was all she did.
Marketing on a Budget
How can you advertise if you have little or no budget? First, you must be willing to commit a percentage of every future dollar that is generated within your business to marketing. A minimum of 3 percent to 5 percent should be allocated to a continuous marketing program.
Most startup ventures require 10 percent to 20 percent of your available money just to establish even a minimum awareness within a consumer's mind. Advertising is something that is all but impossible to measure with single impact. No one knows which ad or promotion created a response by your customers.
People will only respond when they have an "itch." If they don't need brakes or a muffler, all the ads in the world won't entice them to buy. But as soon as they have the "itch," the question becomes, "Who will they think of first for that service?" Keeping your name out there all the time will help you gain "first position in the mind."
Building a Business
There are three ways to build your business. To remember them, I use an acronym: RED.
"R" stands for "raise your prices." You raise your prices because your services are in demand, and you only have so much time to sell; your time becomes more valuable. Determine what is necessary to increase your traffic flow and then increase your service rates.
"E" stands for "earn more dollars per customer." This is accomplished by offering current customers services or parts they are not currently getting from you.
"D" stands for "do more customers." Never advertise when business is slow. Advertise when people have the "itch." Check your records, and determine which time during the year you are busy - that's the time to advertise.
Types of Marketing
There are several different types of marketing. Following are some of the most popular and effective:
If you decide to do any untargeted marketing (those other than your clients), you may want to do "direct mail shared marketing." This involves four to 10 merchants in your immediate area getting together to market to one another's customers. The second advantage to this type of mailing is that your cost per exposure is reduced.
Don't underestimate the power of door-to-door marketing, which is commonly referred to as "door hangers." You can be selective about the areas you canvass, choosing ones closer to your shop.
Newspaper Inserts by Local Deliverers
In some areas of the country, daily papers are still delivered by local deliverers. Approach the owner of the route and inquire if and how much he charges for "inserts" in the paper.
This would include coupons and special promotion ads. Whenever you run any type of advertising, it is essential that you are able to monitor the effectiveness of your ads. Keep your ads as simple as possible. For an ad to be successful, it must run seven to 14 times.
Radio advertising works if your budget can handle the requirement necessary to make it work. If you're going to run radio ads, be prepared to run at least 26 if they are to become effective. Remember: Advertising only works when someone has an "itch."
Creating Your Advertising Piece
When creating your written ads, sell only one idea at a time. Use lots of white space in your ad, and don't be tempted to fill every inch of space. Headlines in your ad should be comprised of three to five words.
Direct mail is probably the most effective marketing tool any business can use. You are marketing to people who have been to your shop at least once. They don't have to be sold through the marketing piece. Your current list of clients should all receive your direct mail.
With so much direct mail flooding mailboxes these days, how do you even get people to open their mail? Here are seven techniques that work:
When Do You Advertise?
There is really no science to determining which ads really created business for you, but without constant marketing, there will be no business. Here are some rules to remember when advertising:
Additional Marketing Tools
Marketing is a multifaceted system. Yes, some ads you can run will command an immediate response. Others, you won't be able to measure the results. You must learn to market with direction and purpose. Realize that marketing is a constant, ongoing operation of any successful business. Think long term and not just for today.
Would it help if you had hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend on your marketing plan? Yes. But if you can't spend thousands, at least be consistent with whatever you are doing. Each week, find a way of getting your name out to the consumer. Be there all the time. Every type of marketing works, and no single type will make your business a success. All marketing works if you work it. The true secret of marketing and successful advertising is consistency. Never stop advertising.
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