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Nicole's example of being where her clients eyes areVisit any store with a child.
I was sitting in my local Barnes & Nobles trying to think about the next marketing topic I could write about, that would be relevant to a small business owner, when I saw a kid all of ten wander across the comic book rack as his mother perused the magazines next to it.  I watch as this kid, wide-eyed and giddy, scanned the rack of brightly colored superheroes overwhelmed with choices.  He looked back to his mom, beaming with excitement, and asked if he could have one.

“You can only choose one. Which one do you want,” she asked.

The boy chose the one that directly in front of him. The one he could easily reach out to and take without any fear. He was eager to tear open the pages of whatever adventure awaited beneath the cover.

“That one?  Are you sure?”

He nodded and they were off. I don’t know if he ever enjoyed the comic, but I saw, for that moment, he was completely confident and excited about his choice.

Right then and there, I had my topic.

The rush hour of small business marketing.
With so many people reaching out for your prospective clients’ attention, it’s getting harder and harder to see yourself as the clear choice.  It is easy to get overwhelmed with choosing where to advertise, how to cast the widest net, and what your message will be to get their attention.  It can be frustrating with every niche item salesman suggesting what bit of swag will be sure to lure in that potential client, the local print shop touting the latest sale on brochures and postcards, networking events crowded with the same people over and over again, and yet have you noticed what you want…seems to be right where you need it?

I’m not advocating you ditch any of the tools above, but simply recognize them for what they are. They are tools and avenues to get you to the next prospective client.  But if these avenues are backed up with rush hour like traffic fighting for attention, why would you take them? Because they are safe bets? Because everyone is doing it? Because you are a bit afraid to feel like you wasted your all ready limited resources on an unproven tactic?

But what if you take these choices and you end up with a closet full of key chains, boxes of never seen brochures, and networking events where you end up collecting the same business cards from the same people just on different days?  Isn’t THAT a waste of your valuable all ready limited resource?

Be where you’ll get the most eyes.
Instead of trying to create tactics and plans that brings them to you, try getting out and going to them.  Seriously, go where your future long term customers will be. It could feel awkward at first, but if you’re the first person to tap the well of uninterrupted visibility then you’ve got nothing to loose.

The best example I’ve seen of this was just yesterday at an office where I am doing some contracting.  In their kitchen, right on the refrigerator door, was an advertisement for a Babysitter.  The design was clean, clear, and simple.  There was a pocket, made of folded paper, stapled to it with business cards sticking out. The business cards were even clearer than the flyer. They simply read, in a welcoming font,

“Nicole.
Babysitter.”

And below that were her phone number and email.

This wasn’t done in an off the shelf font, but it was neatly presented and easy to read. No fluff designs or overly wordy content. The business card laden flyer was close to eye level with anyone going to get their lunch.

Nicole tapped a market of an office made up of probably 60% of her chosen clients. She went right to where she would get the most eyes on her services.

Needless to say, I’ve seen Nicole’s simple business card holder refilled at least twice since the advertisement went up.

Be brave with your limited resources.
Don’t be afraid to take chances once in a while. Get out there and go after your prospective clients with the same excitement you started your business.  After all, they are your clients after all, right?  Instead of the next tried and true moderately successful “everyone’s seen it, done it, and got the t-shirt from it” tactic, get a little creative with your limited resources.

If you’re an auto detailing company, offer to wash cars in the parking lot of your local office building for free in exchange for letting people know about your services.  If you’re a business coach, give away coupons for a free session at a networking event for small business owners.  If you’re an author with a new book to peddle, go to where your reader will be and give out free sample chapters of your book with info on where to get the rest of the great, amazing best seller to be. What ever it is that you do, be bold, be creative and be fearless in whatever your marketing endeavor will be.  Failures will happen, but successes will as well.  Be more focused on the later and conscious of what caused the former.

If you’re wondering, yes, I’ve seen the aforementioned suggestions done, but those business owners wanted the clients and weren’t afraid to take a calculated risk to reap a little long term reward.

But the real question is…are you?

As all ways…stay wicked.

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    • http://www.thewordslingers.com/ Mary Crotty

      This is excellent advice. The reason being is that its proactive. I believe that small business owners are so ready to jump on the last marketing bandwagon because they can't figure out how to bring in customers. But you are right that tend to forget that things like social networking sites, brochures, etc, are just the tools. They aren't the message and just jumping on each one and doing them half way won't help pull in customers at all. All it will do is waste time and possibly money. Developing a focused, proactive approach that reaches your target market has a far better chance for success.

    • http://www.thewordslingers.com/ Mary Crotty

      This is excellent advice. The reason being is that its proactive. I believe that small business owners are so ready to jump on the last marketing bandwagon because they can't figure out how to bring in customers. But you are right that tend to forget that things like social networking sites, brochures, etc, are just the tools. They aren't the message and just jumping on each one and doing them half way won't help pull in customers at all. All it will do is waste time and possibly money. Developing a focused, proactive approach that reaches your target market has a far better chance for success.