Are Your New Customers Really Just a Stone's Throw Away?
Dig around the web and you'll find hundreds of free services and applications designed to help you market your products and gain new customers. Many, in fact, are just a stone's throw away. Fail to research, though, and you may find certain services and software could hurt your business; or, at the least, not bring as good a response as respected.
A few weeks ago, as I walked my sister-in-law out to her car, I noticed "something" at the end of my driveway. It was dark out, and I approached with caution. It was a plastic baggie filled with some rocks and a flyer.
"Oh, it must be a landscaper's business card," she said, explaining that she'd received similar types of advertising on her porch. I was a bit irked it would be left at the end of the driveway, but still took it inside to read the material.
It was a menu for a newly-opened Italian restaurant. My husband said the delivery method was brilliant, but I saw it differently and wrote a letter to the restaurant's owner. It goes like this...
As a local consumer wanting to support local businesses, I'm actually bothered that you used the method of tossing a baggie full of rocks at the end of my driveway. Not only could they be a hazard to my tires, but I brought these dusty stones into my house in order to read your advertising (which is still a little dusty as I write this).
Worse, this method sends me a few, key messages, of which I'm certain weren't your intent:
You don't respect me enough to follow suit and simply attach the menu to my door handle. That act also bothers me, but it is a far better way of telling me about your product.
You either don't have the money to advertise, or don't want to invest in gaining customers. You didn't use the Postal Service, nor did an employee or contractor get paid enough to actually come to doors.
This advertising was obviously tossed out of a moving car, likely in an effort to hit as many driveways as possible in a short amount of time. While I can respect that it costs money to make money, there should never be a compromise when it comes to respecting potential customers.
For now, your menu is in my recycling bin, and the rocks already have a new home in the flower bed. I hope in the future you will take a more personal approach, or at least a less hazardous one, when trying to gain my attention.
Call me harsh, but I made a very clear (and personal) point--and I hope the owner realizes why I even took the time to write him a letter. The method used wasn't much different than spamming my email account with misleading subject lines, in hopes I'll at least take the time to open the email.
Would this business have gotten a better response from me if the flyer was rubber-banded to my front door handle? While I don't like people fiddling with the handle, I do still take time to look at the information. What about a postal mailing? I would have at least scanned the first few words on the flyer.
One could argue which method is better, and it's possible the restaurant got a decent response from the delivery of menus. I am not, however, a firm believer that everything in business is solely about the money. Loyalty, rather than quick-shot, impersonal campaigns, will build a business. And, I might add, the prices in the menu for this restaurant weren't the best prices around - not by far.
When seeking new methods to attract (or re-attract) customers, consider more than cost. Consider personalization, how your efforts will be perceived, and key social media outlets to get them following you. And never, ever lose sight of word-of-mouth power. Loyalty is a beautiful thing--but you've got to get me in the door first.
Hi Pamela! You shared very interesting stuff here. I would like to thank you for disclosing this important topic. Any way really inspirational letter addressed to owner.