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LOW CUSTOMER RESPONSE TO START-UP BUSINESS

February 1, 2011

QUESTION:
This is my fourth week in business and I seem to have hit a wall. I have used various advertising strategies (flyers, local newspapers, mailings to physicians and health centers) and yet the response is still extremely slow. Help!!!!

ANSWER:
It is so very hard to give a reply without knowing the nature of your business, but there are some basic facts you will want to consider. When developing promotional strategies for your business, you apply the basic process of defining your product. That means:

  • Who you are going to sell it to?

  • Where you are going to sell it?

  • What price you will sell your product and/or service for?

While researching these issues, you need to keep a keen eye on the competition.

  • Who else sells what you sell?

  • Do they sell other products or services that compliment the product or service in question?

  • Look at the most successful of your competitors - are they selling the same, or better quality than you?

  • To whom are the successful competitors selling?

  • Is there a group of potential clients who are being underserved?

  • Where are you selling?

  • Could there not be a geographic area, accessible to you and what you sell, that could be better served by your presence?

  • Are your prices competitive with similar products or services of like quality and performance?

Now let's consider your promotional/advertising strategy. Do flyers really convey the image you want for your company and what you sell? I have always been very hard to convince that flyers are the route to take in establishing an image of permanence and professionalism. As for the newspapers, are your ads being placed in the right section? Lawn and garden shops are advertised in the Home & Garden section. Sporting goods are advertised in the Sports section. Do not always assume your ads will be placed where your potential customers will see them. As for mailings, we all get advertising in the mail everyday. I sometimes think this is what keeps the Canadian and U.S. Postal service in business. I encourage you to personalize any mailings.

Where and how often do your most successful competitors advertise? In the end, you must remember that you are asking someone to stop buying from a competitor. And if that competitor is good, then you have to give the potential client a good reason for changing.

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