Over the past few weeks, I’ve been reaching out to business owners in the Indianapolis area to offer my copywriting services for their websites, blogs and social media accounts. I started with sending out targeted mailers, followed by email and phone call follow-ups. I’ve made a few observations which I thought I’d share on the topic of marketing your small business, and on communication in general:
Make sure your company address and phone is updated on your website and online:
I don’t know how many letters I got returned to me where I’d double-checked the information from my database to the website, and yet still, the mail was returned. There are few things more frustrating than taking the time to mail someone a letter and having it returned to you in a few days. Another frustrating one is returned emails.
- Have a pleasant person answering your phone: We all have jobs. The person answering the phone reflects your company, and should be courteous to those calling your place of business. While I may be a solicitor, I could also be a potential customer, so treat me with respect. If you can’t help me, then say so. On that note, your receptionist should be well-informed about the business in order to answer the caller’s question or direct them to the appropriate person. The funniest response I got was when I called a local firm and the voice mail stated, “If you are a customer, press 1. If you are a vendor, press 2. If you are a vendor trying to sell something new, please email me and we’ll respond if we’re interested.” Are you serious?
- Don’t assume you know why the person is calling: A vendor who is calling could be a good fit for you as a business partner or even a customer. Rather than brush the person off because they are offering a product or service, take a few seconds to listen before deciding and making a judgment. After calling on a business and determining they were not a good fit as a customer at this time, I am still meeting for coffee with this person on a new publication that the business owner is producing on the side. So you never know unless you give someone a chance.
- You might learn something: By giving the caller your attention, you might learn that you need a product or service that you originally didn’t think you needed. Or perhaps the caller has a referral that could benefit your business. Hearing them out is the only way you’ll find out.
- You might go out of business: I heard many business owners say that they were too busy with clients to spend the time to worry about marketing their business. I only hope that they don’t learn the hard way that they should have stopped to take the time to do so, in order to ensure they had business in the future. For some businesses that I called on, I discovered the unfortunate reality that they had closed their doors and were out of business. I have to attribute this in part to a lack of awareness from marketing and sales efforts. Maybe you should have listened to that caller who was offering to market your business for you…