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  1. #1
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    Getting yourself noticed, in a good way!

    A wise man once told me, "People won't pay for your services unless they know you exist".

    This is my approach...
    1. I walk to business and give them a presentational pack letting them know I am a web designer in their local area.
    2. I try to meet the decision makers of the business, if the decision maker is occupied I leave a presentation pack there.
    3. I do not include any pricing information as I believe this deviates a little. Once people have the price they would simply check prices elsewhere and begin to compete on price, which is not the goal. There is a clear difference between value of money, and cheap prices for the cheapest possible denominator.

    The goal is to make the most effective active advertising campaign.
    I would really be interested to know if this approach could be corrected, or if I could add or remove any steps. I would be interested it know if anybody has any exprience in this getting the word out.
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  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard johntabita's Avatar
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    Since we've entered the so-called "inbound marketing" era, I've heard many people knock this approach. But cold-canvassing can be very effective. My cousin built his entire business with this approach, and he's been doing it for 15 years. It's also the primary way the company I work for prospects for new business, and we sell a mix of both print and Internet advertising.

    The downside is, it can be brutal and you can burn out easily if you don't have a thick skin. If you have the personality that isn't bothered by rejection, you will do better than if you don't.

    I'd suggest that you add one or two more marketing methods into the mix. (One might be joining a networking or lead sharing group.) If you think of your entire marketing as a team that's working together, you can accomplish a lot more than a single member trying to win the game on his own.

    Hope that helps.

  3. #3
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    Since we've entered the so-called "inbound marketing" era, I've heard many people knock this approach. But cold-canvassing can be very effective. My cousin built his entire business with this approach, and he's been doing it for 15 years. It's also the primary way the company I work for prospects for new business, and we sell a mix of both print and Internet advertising.
    I've not had any bad experience to be truthful. I have a mark of 5 businesses per day, was a little embarrassing today were I went to a business twice :P but I suppose I'd learn from my mistakes. Two people today told me that they will seriously considering it, which is always good. Sometimes I think it's good for people to just know who you are and what you do. If nobody knows you then you'd be sure not to get any businesses.

    Now I got the family giving out advertising material. Not only that but we're using return-custom. Here businesses feed businesses, and when you have a big deal with somebody the person feels obliged to repay the favor. From experience I did have (as you know) some bad experiences with client(s), but those were the early stages, now I have a bullet-proof formula that is a winner.

    I am not only depending on this, but also network marketing. I am going to two group events next week were I will bring along my business cards. Both events are free so it will only cost me the travelling expenses to get there.

    I honestly, truthfully feel, advertising is WAY over-rated, and it's return on investment is very slim, if any. Other forms seam to be more effective and much cheaper, particularly for somebody getting into the market.

    @johntabita ;
    I try to meet decision makers, but they always seam to be away or in a business meeting. I am 1000% confident that if I meet them it would make a whole lot of difference. I really don't want to have an appointment or waste their time so I leave my advertising leaflet and basically go. Do you have any suggestions on what I can do to improve my approach and make this a sure winner. The printing material I am giving out is fairly pricey and I don't want to give it all away without any return business. I want to be sure to have businesses coming in, and from this be able to re-invest me in company.
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  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard johntabita's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sega View Post
    I honestly, truthfully feel, advertising is WAY over-rated, and it's return on investment is very slim, if any. Other forms seam to be more effective and much cheaper, particularly for somebody getting into the market.
    Advertising in general isn't over-rated and can get a great ROI. I just don't think it's necessarily the best tool for a web design firm to use.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sega View Post
    I try to meet decision makers, but they always seam to be away or in a business meeting. I am 1000% confident that if I meet them it would make a whole lot of difference. I really don't want to have an appointment or waste their time so I leave my advertising leaflet and basically go. Do you have any suggestions on what I can do to improve my approach and make this a sure winner. The printing material I am giving out is fairly pricey and I don't want to give it all away without any return business. I want to be sure to have businesses coming in, and from this be able to re-invest me in company.
    If you're leaving printed collateral with a receptionist or gatekeeper without at least getting the decision-maker's name, you're probably wasting your time as well as the cost of the printed piece. The gatekeeper may be polite, and even tell you she'll pass it along to the boss, but 9 times out of 10, your information winds up in the trash.

    You need to get access to the decision-maker. If he or she is unavailable, try to get the name so you can follow up with a phone call. Befriending the gatekeeper is also a great idea, because you can get some information about their marketing.

    When you do call back, don't even ask "did you get the information I left?" because that's just awkward. If the gatekeeper revealed anything useful, say something like, "I stopped by on Tuesday and spoke to your receptionist, Susan. She mentioned that you weren't happy with the quality of leads you're getting from your website. If you're open to exploring other options, I'd like to show you how we've helped other local companies improve the quality of their online leads and increase their conversion rate. Do you have time to meet one day this week?"

    Of course, you can come up with a script that fits your offering. But the point is, you need to talk to the decision-maker, clearly communicate the value you provide, and ask a very direct question like, "Is that something you want?" or "Can we meet sometime next week?"

    In reality, you're going to wind up speaking to decision-makers about 10% of the time, and (if you're good) close only about 20% of those. And that's only if you're persistent.

    For those that turn you down, figure out how you can drip market to them. Send them a newsletter about web marketing, refer someone to their business, things like that. If you stay on their radar, you'll be the first they'll call or refer someone to.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Mentor silver trophybronze trophy

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    @johntabita ;

    I live in a fairly small country. Most companies and businesses here are small family owned businesses. The big companies are much trickier to get to the decision maker. I will try out some new stuff today and see if I can get any close to real decision makers. You are completely right, maybe because it's a smaller community I'd be able to get closer much easier.

    We don't have many businesses here, so I really don't want to ruin things. In the beginning I felt odd, so far I have had two positive outcomes, as the gate-keeper was the owner and they seemed interested. I have already got a phone call from about 3-weeks ago, and I just want to keep doing this and make the business profitable and successful.

    So I have this procedure:

    1. Go to the business
    2. Talk to the receptionist and ask to speak to a decision maker / boss
    3. If boss person is not there ask to either arrange and appointment with them or come back a later time, without dropping anything off.

    Would this make sense to you? I really don't want to appear a nuisance to anybody, it would be far easier if the decision maker was always there, but I guess that would be too easy.

    Do you have any more tips on maybe making this more efficient?

    Everybody seams to be related to everybody else here, so it's vital that I don't get a bad name but doing something that causes this.
    just don't think it's necessarily the best tool for a web design firm to use.
    Agreed! Tried and tested and it did not get any leads.
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  6. #6
    SitePoint Wizard johntabita's Avatar
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    I can't really suggest how to make what you're doing more efficient, other than leaving behind something that's less expensive to print.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sega View Post
    Everybody seams to be related to everybody else here ...
    If that's the case, I'd focus on building relationships with as many local business owners as possible. Someone is bound to be related to the owner of one of those larger businesses you're having trouble getting in the door.

    Sound to me like you're on the right track. Keep doing what your doing and see what type of results you get.

  7. #7
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    @johntabita ;

    You're completely right. I think relationships are a good thing and I need to start building stronger relationships. I am not a sociable person thought, quite the contrary. Today I went to 2 business and 1 was very interested to the point where I know he would use me in his future services and is likely to pass the message on.

    Here we have international exhibitions, which in my opinion is a big risk. They charge something on the lines of 3K and you'd be lucky to see that in return. Many many business owners pass, so it might be a good investment, or it might not. So I think it would be save to avoid this. Door to door seams to be the best approach.

    In terms of cold calling, I was advised this by a friend of mine who's head of business development for an international company. He told me that it would be a better value of my time. I really don't have much experience with this, and I don't feel comfortable cold calling businesses.

    I need to get in the door of big companies and get to know the people who own them. I am thinking of offering a FREE service to them and maybe this would make me noticed for future work. I'd let you how I get on.

    Thanks again John.
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  8. #8
    SitePoint Wizard johntabita's Avatar
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    Couple of final thoughts:

    Quote Originally Posted by Sega View Post
    Here we have international exhibitions, which in my opinion is a big risk. They charge something on the lines of 3K and you'd be lucky to see that in return. Many many business owners pass, so it might be a good investment, or it might not.
    Can you attend, rather than participate? If so, you could walk the exhibition floor and meet business owners.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sega View Post
    In terms of cold calling, I was advised this by a friend of mine who's head of business development for an international company. He told me that it would be a better value of my time. I really don't have much experience with this, and I don't feel comfortable cold calling businesses.
    Your friend's right, but I'd suggest combining cold-calling with what you've been doing. I run a telemarketing department, so I know a thing or two about it. If you decide to go that route, I can recommend a good training course, one I've used in-house to train my staff.

    Best of luck.

  9. #9
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    @johntabita ;

    Can you attend, rather than participate? If so, you could walk the exhibition floor and meet business owners.
    You can freely walk around during this exhibition. It would look a little odd walking up to people and giving things out. It would be a good way to start, I will have to ask about this. The owners might not be happy me doing this. I remember a couple of years back a company had a small store and several staff members walking around the floor to give our information regarding what they are offering. Personally I don't feel this would be the best place to meet business owners, they would be many owners, I like the idea of spotting the businesses and giving them an advertising leaflet by hand, as it makes a better impression. Would certainly give me an edge.

    Your friend's right, but I'd suggest combining cold-calling with what you've been doing. I run a telemarketing department, so I know a thing or two about it. If you decide to go that route, I can recommend a good training course, one I've used in-house to train my staff.
    I completely agree. I am not sure on the ethical implications of sending cold emails, would there be an issue with this? I am thinking of something quite big, in fact very big. It's a way to promote myself by giving something free to business owners, and placing my ads on the website. After all, the costs of running your own website are really quite minimal, as time is the main issue. What do you think about this? Do you have any experience in doing this.

    Thanks for your luck wishes, I will certainly keep plowing ahead, this is the way I want to promote myself. In the early days I use to think I might be disturbing others, but now it's a case of getting business and letting people know I exist.
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  10. #10
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    Definitely agree with the OP about not including a price with the initial material. Best to avoid getting into a pricing competition because there's always someone who will do it cheaper than you.

  11. #11
    SitePoint Wizard johntabita's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sega View Post
    You can freely walk around during this exhibition. It would look a little odd walking up to people and giving things out. It would be a good way to start, I will have to ask about this. The owners might not be happy me doing this.
    I'm not suggesting you walk around handing out flyers. Business owners who paid for a booth will definitely not take kindly to that. I'm saying that it would be a good way to simply meet some business owners, ask about their business, and begin establishing some relationships. After all, how often do you have hundreds of business owners all under the same roof?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sega View Post
    I am not sure on the ethical implications of sending cold emails, would there be an issue with this?
    I'm not in favor of this; nor do I think it's very effective.

  12. #12
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    @johntabita ;

    I go to conferences and let people know what I do. In fact, I think just talking about your job gives people the best form of advertising there is. Just yesterday somebody came to my house and asked me if I work, I told him I work from home designing web pages. This was all he needed to hear. Now I have an appointment with them on Thursday morning. My family help me a lot, my dad and mum and brothers as well. They all chip in to get my connected which works amazingly.

    It's not only getting the initial contact that's important, but closing the deal and giving potential clients what they want and for the price they are willing to part with.. just to illustrate.

    I had another appointment today, which I am a little unsure of. They somehow wanted the cheapest deal, but unfortunately they were asking for 1st page ranking on medium search results on Google, which might be a little tricky to guarantee. The only issue is that they did not want to spend major bucks which made things even trickier. I want the client, it's just a little confusing how somebody would deal with such a situation where you don't want to disappoint them and get their custom which is the most important thing.

    Cold Emails don't work, I know this from experience. Highly ineffective!

    Meeting business owners is a good thing, and any opportunity I get I will take it. Next month I have an exhibition planned for small businesses which I will be attended. Even Google is going to be there, which should be awesome. They will be highlighted SEO techniques as well.
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