Is your current small business marketing strategy effectively reaching NEDICT’s?
The goal of every small business is to grow its business and increase local market share. Reaching NEW people /prospects on a regular basis should be a vital part of their overall plan. Smart business owners should always be open to hearing advice on small business marketing strategy, and they should be on the lookout for practical ways to introduce their brand and business to new people. It is crucial to avoid diluting the overall effectiveness of advertising, so the budget must be realistic if results are going to be forthcoming. Any marketer worth their salt will tell you that the 3 keys to marketing success are CONSISTENCY, FREQUENCY & CREATIVITY, and that is something you should always start with, but of course, there is much more to consider as you start focusing on marketing a single business and it’s unique goals.
A well-known saying is, that in life you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket. We agree, and in this case, we recommend not putting all your marketing budget in just one medium!
Small Business Marketing Strategy Advice.
In my latest small business marketing strategy ‘Miscellaneous Mumblings’, I will share my experiences and explain why, although there are lots of marketing options out there for SMBs, the one that has stood the test of time the most effective, are quality local business directories.
Interesting History of Directories.
Books listing the inhabitants of an entire city were widely published starting in the 18th century, before the invention of the telephone. The first telephone directory, consisting of a single piece of cardboard, was issued on 21 February 1878; it listed 50 individuals, businesses, and other offices in New Haven, Connecticut that had telephones.
Passive, Intrusive and Direct Advertising.
It’s no secret that the paper version of the directory is no longer useful, it is rapidly disappearing from communities. However, the ‘ idea’ itself is still sound and has already been effectively updated locally and internationally to online versions and apps. The reason directories have stood the test of time is simple–they are DIRECT advertising. In other words, when you go to a directory you have a NEED – you are moving through the buying cycle and you WANT something now or pretty soon!
In the past and in many cases still today, the drawback has been the PASSIVE nature of directories. Let’s face it, advertising doesn’t get much more passive than sitting in a drawer waiting for a prospect’s need to arise.
The historically passive nature of directories set them apart from intrusive marketing options, such as TV, radio, magazines etc.
What do I mean by intrusive? Think about it, who drives along a road simply to look at billboards? Do you buy magazines to browse the ads? Do you think consumers tune in just to listen to commercials on the radio?
This is not bashing these medium’s effectiveness, I’m simply being honest; Prospects certainly don’t go out of their way to seek out, or wait to hear/see local companies’ ads BEFORE making their buying decisions. Intrusive ads reach you while you are doing something else, they rely on engaging creativity and frequency of messages to get your attention. The goal is to plant their advertising messages in the Broca part of your brain, where you store long-term, permanent memories. They want to be ‘top of mind’ because being top of mind’ is the holy grail of marketing!
However, there are 2 HUGE drawbacks to intrusive advertising in modern times.
- Firstly, they have never been able to claim to be the place people turn to directly with an unsatisfied and urgent buying need.
- Secondly, ad avoidance is a HUGE issue on the radio and TV. People simply switch stations, skip commercials OR choose to subscribe to options that have a zero-ad policy.
The truth is directories, now along with Adwords (CPC) and content marketing, pretty much OWN these VITAL areas of the overall marketing landscape now!
An expert view on directory advertising.
I started a local online directory business in 2011 in Saskatchewan. The Trusted Online Directories (www.trustedsaskatoon.com and www.trustedregina.com ) have already been visited by well over 500,000 local people. To give you perspective, our province has a total population of just over 1 million, so we are doing good!! In that fairly short time, we have helped many of our amazing clients go from surviving to thriving. I also own www.trustedmarketingservcies.com, a full-service marketing agency, where we currently buy advertising on behalf of 100+ clients. We recommend and purchase everything from transit ads, Adwords, social media, radio, TV and print for ourselves and our clients.
Back in the day ( 25 years ago), I was a successful directory advertising rep for Thomson Directories (The UK’s only Yellow Pages competitor). At the time, the paper version was ruling the directory landscape, and as long as my recommendations were sound and the ads were effective, clients enjoyed a significant ROI (Return On Investment).
Thomson’s were innovative, (the underdog tends to be) and they launched their online directory platform Thomsonlocal.com in 2003. I had more success than most reps selling online, but in all honesty, it was not a priority for the majority of small local business owners. Most of them never imagined themselves ever needing a website.
In my time at Thomson’s, I strongly positioned the directory as being the ONLY marketing option that effectively reached all of the NEDICTs. Nowadays, I can say with certainty that Trusted directories do an even BETTER job than traditional directory advertising ever did. We offer way more value and ROI than other online directory options currently available and, because of our unique marketing strategy, we provide both DIRECT AND INTRUSIVE advertising promotion for our partners!
NEDICT – who they are and why it is important.
NEDICT is an acronym that was taught at Thomson Directories sales training 2-week boot camps. Thomson’s was recognized for providing the best sales training available in the UK, and that training still sticks with me today… decades after!
NEDICT stands for the six types of prospects that advertising aims to reach– as far as I know, there are no more prospect types, but feel free to add in the comments if you think I’m missing any.
N – Newcomers
No matter how static you may perceive your community or neighbourhood to be, it’s amazing how many changes occur annually, especially here in Saskatchewan, a place built on recent immigration. This is great news for local businesses, but they need to have an advertising strategy to reach the hordes of new people arriving daily in their town or city, or they are will lose out.
These newcomers don’t know your business, haven’t heard about your services and may not even know your type of business exists! This crop of ‘new to the community’ prospects can easily replace those clients that every business, no matter how great, will lose each year with natural attrition. Attrition can come from a negative consumer experience, which can be preventable, but you can’t prevent clients from moving, dying or simply outgrowing your product or service.
However please understand, the N for Newcomers aren’t necessarily inexperienced new immigrants, they could also be those consumers who may be new to the needs of the products and services offered by your business. An example is a first-time homeowner. If they’ve rented a home or an apartment as a student or young adult or lived with parents up until the purchase of their first home, they have probably not required the services of landscapers, roofers, real estate agents, lawyers, air conditioning contractors or many, many other businesses. Now that they have become homeowners, the need for such services will arise.
How are you currently reaching these people?
I can totally relate, I landed in Canada as an immigrant in 2006 and really struggled to meet all my family’s needs. My personal experience is one of the main reasons I created the solution in my city- www.trustedsaskatoon.com!!
I know everyone will recognize the classic example of the emergency prospect. This fear of loss justification was used by every directory advertising sales rep across the world when they were pitching and justifying a full-page yellow-page ad to emergency service providers.
That water pipe has burst, there’s water everywhere and the consumer needs someone NOW! If you aren’t listed you will miss out!
Let’s face it – emergencies happen. It is called “life”. And these things often come up when we least expect them, so most of us simply don’t ‘plan’ well for them.
Paper directories RULED when it came to this kind of prospect – and even now the well-indexed online versions still perform well, along with Google Maps and Adwords. So it’s very important to note; If you provide services for emergency situations, like the one outlined above, make sure your advertising speaks to what you can do in the case of such an emergency. Whatever you do, don’t ASSUME people know what you do and how you can help- that’s never a smart marketing move.
Can you name a bunch of businesses you have dealt with where you weren’t happy with their products or services? Did you vow never to do business with them again? I can, that’s ANOTHER reason I started www.Trustedsaskatoon.com .
For most, it is an easy list to create, and we can even see your list publicly if you have expressed your dissatisfaction by reviewing those companies online. But what happens when you need that product or service again? As a consumer/buyer you need to find another business to work with, but want to avoid another negative experience. Online reviews are becoming increasingly important in people’s decision-making process, but we know that often they aren’t reliable as the online review system can be easily manipulated.
I had a really bad experience with a Saskatoon emergency service provider, this experience was the final push for me to move forward and risk everything I owned to start Trustedsaskatoon.com. Trusted directories offer more benefit to the consumers than Googling or choosing options from other online directories, at Trusted we actually provide consumers with trustworthy options and the reviews we display are from actual clients of the businesses we spoke to personally! We pre-screen and pre-qualify locally owned and accountable businesses, most of whom were nominated to us by their customers or other businesses, and all of whom are contracted to uphold the 5 Trusted Guarantees of Service ( check them out here www.trustedsaskatoon.com/blog/page/why-trusted.aspx).
Be honest, how often do you usually need to replace a furnace, fix a hail-damaged vehicle, get new blinds or window coverings, find a new vet, build a home, etc. ? For most of us, these are unique, and often one-time life events. So, the questions are, when the need arises, where can I find the local SMBs I need, and how do I get educated on what questions I should be asking and what I should be looking for in that category/industry?
This is a HUGE strength of Trusted Directories. We don’t just provide a place to find awesome local businesses when consumers have a need, the directories also contain a massive resource library. We have literally 1000’s tips, and helpful articles (written by us and our local partners), to assist consumers in their decision-making and research process BEFORE they make their final decision to buy. In addition, we don’t just stick the articles in the tips library and let them rot. We share the articles on a regular rotation on our huge local social platforms, they also appear on our Dynamic Adwords, and these articles also index frequently in local organic search results!
LOCAL BUSINESS OWNERS NEED TO RECOGNIZE THIS MORE!
Don’t get complacent about your customers’ loyalty. Many consumers, even if they are pretty happy with businesses and services they have used in the past, will still often do a little comparison browsing. For many of us, it is natural to do at least a little comparison to be sure we are getting the best deals and services available. It is NOT just the price they are comparing, they will read reviews (yours and your competitor’s), and check out what others offer that you may not. Also, due to the ‘ busy factor’ we all seem to experience these days, convenience comparison has become a big motivating factor. So consider the following: Do you offer a good online experience ( eg: online booking, an updated gallery, a full and comprehensive list of all you do, and online purchasing options)? Is your company a visible community supporter – this is also becoming more important – in a buyer-driven economy, people LIKE to support local businesses that support their community.
People buy from people!
Why People Buy: Price, Quality & Service.
One of these 3 factors will be the primary driver of your prospect when choosing which company to deal with. You will rarely get all 3, and just so you are aware, Trusted directories NEVER position our local partners as the low-cost options. In fact, we tell consumers to only visit a Trusted directory if SERVICE and QUALITY are their main buying considerations.
Experience has taught us that cheap is often a price that most can’t afford in the long term.
T -Transient (temporary, traveller or tourist)
Think about it, we all have a story about that time during our travels- you forgot your facewash, your tire or engine blew or your kid threw up inside the car (that is a TRUE story!). You don’t know the area, what businesses are there, or even where you can find them- what did you do?
Think about all of the hotels in your city. They are full of business people, hockey & dance teams, wedding parties and families on trips. All of those travellers and tourists have needs in a place they aren’t familiar with. If you are a business owner, ask yourself how are you reaching them with your current marketing strategy.
Small Businesses Need a Marketing Strategy for reaching NEDICT’s.
These are some of the core buying needs that bring consumers to local small businesses. This is why business owners need to make sure their advertising message speaks to each of these groups’ distinct needs. They can do this by employing a comprehensive local marketing strategy.
Our Trusted directories division invests over $250,000 a year in marketing and promoting our product and our Trusted partners to the NEDICTS in our local markets. Our long-term goal is to reach every consumer in the cities we serve. The Trusted marketing budget is spread between on and offline mediums, and we aim to get our partners in front of the biggest audience we can, on a daily basis!
This is why I know, hand on heart, that Trusted Directories offer the best small business marketing strategy advertising option available for integrity-driven local SMBs… since… well, sliced bread of course!
I’d love to hear your comments, feedback and opinion on this article.
November 17, 2021