On a regular basis I have a scout round in the local free newspapers and magazines looking for ideas, opportunities and getting the low down on who's advertising in my area. I can find new businesses this way and potential opportunities, and I can see what the competition is up to at the same time.
It often surprises me however just how many businesses there are that don't seem to have the first idea about boosting the credibility of themselves; maybe that's a little harsh, after all they're advertising right?
Why not take a look at your own advert, and see if you can answer yes to all of the questions below, score yourself +1 for each yes, and -1 for each no. If you scored 3 or less, it's probably time to review your advertising and online strategy.
- Do people know where you are or how to find you from your advert?
- Is there a contact telephone number? (landline? mobile?)
- Is there a contact name?
- Do you indicate that you're on WhatsApp, Viber or Skype?
- Are prospective customers aware of your trading hours?
- Is there an e-mail address?
- Is that e-mail address professional?
- Do you have a website?
- Have you given your website address?
- Have you indicated 'Find us on Facebook, Google+, Trip Advisor' or similar?
- Did you give the search term for Facebook, etc..
- Is it evident what goods or services you are actually supplying (surprisingly not always apparent or forgotten!)
I've just looked through a recent edition of a local free magazine and there were no fewer than 12 advertisers that did not indicate their location, whether it was a map, address or town.
If someone is looking for a business local to them, they're unlikely to choose one that fails to reveal where it is!
In that same magazine, there were 2 adverts with no contact numbers at all, believe it or not! Maybe there's good reason for that, however, might customers want to ring to book, get directions, ask for a price.
It's worth noting that some people prefer to ring landlines rather than mobile phone numbers.
If mobile is however the best way of contacting you then don't include a landline if it is likely to go unanswered.
Remember to indicate on your advert whether it is a mobile or landline.
If you only have mobile, then let them know they can ring you for free using WhatsApp or Viber.
Plenty of advertisers do not indicate the type of contact phone number - I only saw 4 specifically indicate a mobile number.
Put across a friendly impression; add your name next to the phone number if it's just you, or whomever will be answering the phone.
People like to know who they're dealing with, they like dealing with people not entities!
Do you have a website / page - is it on your advert
If you have a professional e-mail address, then you ought to have at least a page available at that address. Your web page is a year round advert and can be used in conjunction with paper advertising too for people to find out more about you (information that you may not have room for in your advert!).
You don't necessarily have to have a full blown website with call back forms, blog sections, online ordering and quoting at all.
If you have a page or site available, then Google and other search engines can list you, and so, clients can find you that way too.
Remember to always publish your web site / page address on your advert too (extra information not on the paper advert can be found there at no extra cost).
WhatsApp, Viber, Skype and similar
See my note above about only having a mobile number. Allay people's reluctance to ring a mobile by giving them a free alternative. Viber and WhatsApp seem to be the 2 most popular in our area and can be used to ring you for free using your mobile phone number as a contact number. You need to be connected to the Internet and have a smartphone (soon to be available from All Tech Plus) to take advantage of this.
Providing as many ways as possible to contact you, especially if they're free and convenient really are a no-brainer!
There were only 4 advertisers indicating WhatsApp and/or Viber!
OK, so this will depend on the size of your advert and will dictate whether you have room or not and what other information you have already packed into your ad. After all, a small advert with too much information can equally be a waste of time if it looks too busy, whilst a large advert with not enough is also wasteful. It is probably really important if you are a bar, shop or restaurant style business.
If you are a service business, and you offer an emergency 24 hour number, remember to say so!
E-mail address / Professional e-mail address
Nothing says you're not serious about your business more than a 'free' run of the mill e-mail address. Or even just putting an e-mail address and no other ways to contact you! Are you still using a 'free' hotmail, gmail, yahoo, live.com or similar e-mail address to represent your business? Shouldn't you really be trying to boost your business credibility (after all you're reading this article), show that you're serious about who you are and what you have to offer?
Prospective clients will often also try www.quesadahomeservices.com in their web browser to find out more about you.
Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Trip Advisor and other social networks
You should have pages on all major social networks, even if you don't plan on keeping them up to date with content, at least have them to drive traffic to your website/page. If you don't have a website and only use Facebook or similar, remember to keep your content up to date, but be aware some people simply do not like or use Facebook, or other social networks - for example, many people are worried by privacy issues associated with such services.
Google+ is one of those that I would always say you should have since you can achieve better exposure on Google search page results by doing so, providing you keep the content up to date.
Try and encourage current clients to give you reviews on one or more of these sites. Remember if you include one of the social networking logos in your advert, make it easy for people to find you by giving your page name too. For those of you not quite ready for a full blown website just yet but still want to present a professional image, this may be the option you've been looking for.
I hope you've enjoyed this little article, a little food for thought, and now for the sales pitch