Sunday, October 3, 2010

Marketing doesn't work like that!

The inspiration for this article is a conversation I had this week from a business cancelling their Happy Customers Program on WOMOW. Their reason? They had "tried it for a month and it hasn't worked" - that's right, they said one month! (And in fact, it was slightly less than that.)

I'm sorry Mr Premature Evaluator, but Marketing just doesn't work like that!

As much as we'd all like a magic tap that we could turn on and off as our business needs changed, I've been looking and I haven't found one yet! Yes, there are a lot of campaign formats that can be turned on and off easily, but the effect that they have on people is almost always cumulative. Occasionally, it happens that someone sees an ad for the first time and places an order, but that scenario is rare.

Most of the time, marketing tools work in conjunction with each other, and involve some repetition and time. For example, a prospect might;
  • hear about you through one medium, but promptly forget the name of your business
  • later, when they have a specific need, they search online, come across your business and click as it sounds familiar
  • then they do some more searching to see what kind of a business you really are
  • and finally decide to call after finding some information that convinces them you're a great business
Another prospect might;
  • search online for your service because they have a specific need
  • come across your business and be impressed by your stellar reputation and professional website
  • promptly get distracted (ie check Facebook / read an email / attend to children / answer the phone)
  • later hear about your business through another medium, remember how impressed they were when they found you, and decide to call (and then it still might take a meeting, proposal and several emails and phone conversations before they actually purchase!)
The paths customers can take are rarely straight forward or linear so the key is to choose several key marketing tools and get them working together. This is combination of tools is your marketing strategy. Yes, you should definitely track and measure your marketing, but you definitely can't do this over one month!

Using WOMOW to promote your business is all about using word-of-mouth to;
  1. Make sure that when people search for your business or, more importantly, for a service that your business provides, that they find you
  2. Present your business in the best light possible - with great reviews from your customers (the most trusted form of marketing there is)
And it should be noted that the more reviews a business has, the more traffic they get and the better this works (the Happy Customers Program also helps businesses get customer reviews).

So, Mr Premature Evaluator, with just one review and a 1 month trial, is a loss to WOMOW but sadly, his loss is far greater. I'm sure that word-of-mouth on the web would have been a fantastic way for this business to get more prospects and earn their trust (incredibly important in his industry), but unfortunately, he will probably never know and will probably continue to waste time and money trying various different things, without really trying anything at all.

There are plenty of businesses successfully using WOMOW as their only form of marketing, but they've built their profile and reviews up over a few months. Here's one we heard from this week...
"We get 90% of our work from WOMOW and we're growing fast! We don't have a shopfront, any signage on our vehicles, or even a website, but with WOMOW heaps of people are finding us online every week. On average we sign up 3 new customers a week and now have over 200 clients with regular cleans. WOMOW has been the best thing we've done for our business!"
Sandy K from Let Us Do It 4 U Cleaning
WOMOW is not a gimmick. It is part of a long-term marketing strategy to build a place on the web that shouts your praises and helps people find you. It will not (necessarily) work overnight, but with some time and some reviews, it will almost certainly help any business that provides good service where trust and word-of-mouth are important.