I was chatting with a friend last week about promoting our respective businesses. She is a professional speaker and coach. One of her marketing methods is networking. She goes to events hosted by local chambers and other business groups.
She made an interesting observation about these. She said she gets better results when she attends events that charge a fee. The “freebie” events typically yield less leads for her.
I never thought about it but it makes sense.
As a professional or business owner, your prospective customers are people who are interested in what you can do for them AND who are willing and able to pay for your services. So, part of your marketing planning needs to be that you identify the right people.
What my friend found was that people who are willing to pay $30, $40 or more for a business event seem more willing to consider hiring someone in her profession.
When you hear this, it makes sense. But when you’re neck deep in running your business, things like this are not always apparent (at least not to me!).
I remember going to a lot of “freebie” chamber and networking events in my career and leaving with no good leads. And, now that I think about it, the “pay” events I’ve been to have often produced more relationships that have lasted.
So, how can you apply this lesson to other aspects of your marketing?
I’ve seen many business owners take the cheap route with their marketing, only to find the results were not worth the effort. They’d drop a small, quickly produced ad in a local newsletter. Or they’d do a joint mailing with a few other businesses. Or a salesman would persuade them to buy a board at the local ice arena with their logo on it.
The dollars are small enough so these things are doable and relatively painless.
But they don’t work.
The problem is not that they’re cheap (or even free). The problem is they deliver the wrong message. Or they deliver it to the wrong people. Or they don’t deliver it well. Or the business owner is unable or unwilling to measure the real return.
When we jump at a marketing tool because it’s cheap, we often don’t think about how it fits our overall marketing plan. Does it help us tell our story to the right people, in a way they’ll remember it? Do we have a way to measure the results?
If not then think twice about moving forward. You might be wasting your time and money.