Business mistakes 101: Assuming everybody knows you

This is the first in a series of  posts that I will dedicate to the mistakes people make in business, no matter if they’re seasoned veterans or completely new. The veterans might see it as a little wake-up call, and I hope the “newbies” will learn from these posts.

We don’t need a website. Everybody already knows us.

It’s a quote we often hear when we approach businesses without a website. But it’s not limited to websites. A lot of small business owners don’t advertise at all, or surf the wave of “word of mouth”.

Why this is a mistake.

Not everybody knows you, period. How about the people that just moved to town? How about the people that are just visiting and need a quick gift for the people they’re meeting up with? Do they know you?

Then, there are the people that heard of you. This is different than knowing you. Unless you’re the only business in town that sells what you sell, you’ll have competition. That competition has clientele that’s not spending money with you. Why won’t those people switch to your business? Because they don’t have a reason to. They don’t know why your company is better. They don’t know you do the same work for less, they don’t know about the bonuses you give, and they sure don’t know you.

Why is it that giants like Coca Cola, Nike or Volkswagen are always advertising? Because they will be forgotten if they don’t. If they would stop advertising, people will simply switch to Pepsi, Adidas and Toyota, simply because those brands are still advertising.

Do these brands ever stop advertising?

The same goes for websites. In this day and age, people rely more and more on location based searches online. When they’re in a certain city, and they just broke a heel on their shoe, they want to find the closest shoe repair man. If you’re not advertising or have an online presence, they’ll go to the competition who does.

If people are shopping for Christmas gifts, they search online. If you don’t showcase what you sell, people will find your competition.

What you can do

We know advertising can be pricy. Traditional advertising like newspaper ads or radio commercials can empty your bank account in a heartbeat with little to no control over tracking the return of your investment, but, there are alternatives. I’m not throwing traditional advertising out the window. It has its place and can be very effective in some industries.
Here are some cost effective, measurable ways to advertise your business.

  • Advertise via Google Adwords, for example. A very cost effective way to be found in searches. You can set a daily budget and you have a pretty free range over what you want your message to be.
  • Make sure your website is found in search engines (Google and Bing). If people don’t click the ads in a search, they’ll go with the links on the first page of their search results.
  • Have a referral system (through your website/social media). Give people a discount when they refer business to you.

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

Make yourself heard. Keep advertising.

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