Last week I lost my dog, Gia. She has now been returned home safe and sound and I was happily surprised how much support and success we had finding her in such a short amount of time.
It was actually my sister that realized I was looking for my lost dog the same way I would tell a client how to market their company.
Here are some lessons to help you market your business that helped me find my lost dog:
Your Story Matters
When we started the search for my lost dog we made flyers that we posted everywhere. Instead of just putting a photo of Gia with a phone number to call we created a story. By using multiple photos that showed her personality, details about where she was lost, and information about her personality and how much she was loved we were able to create an emotional connection with people who read the Lost Dog signs.
Result: People not only stopped and read the signs but they would ask questions and take down the number to call. By the time Gia came home, 3 people had called and left messages about where she was and how to find her.
Does your company have a story that your future clients can connect to emotionally ? What are you doing to make your clients care about your company not just understand it?
It takes a person seeing your brand as many as 7 times before it becomes recognizable to them. That is assuming you have used the same branding for each advertisement, marketing materials, etc.
When hanging our flyers for Gia we used the same flyer that we hung on poles with neon pink masking tape. We didn’t add details to what we told people but used the same story again and again to cement it in everyone’s mind. Each flyer was done in the same way and the neon pink masking tape was very recognizable.
Result: After people stopped to read the first Lost Dog flyer they were reminded that Gia was lost every time they saw the neon pink tape around town. This consistency kept my lost dog search fresh in their minds.
Look at your company, is there consistency in the information or marketing materials you are putting out in the world? If someone saw your logo would they recognize it?
It doesn’t matter how much a company is doing right if no one knows about it. Brand visibility is what gets your company in front of people and get the word out. This can create momentum and help spread the word about who you are and what you are doing.
When we hung posters we put them EVERYWHERE. We literally hung 250 posters in a 6 block area. There wasn’t a pole that wasn’t plastered with Gia’s face. And after she was found we took down 250 posters in a 6 block area. Remember that brand visibility can be positive or negative !!!
Getting the word out about Gia was EXHAUSTING … I kept thinking I had put so much effort forth and hadn’t seen any results, but just like a good marketing campaign you need to give your hard word time to pay off.
After 1 day of posting flyers I didn’t stop, my effort was continual. That continual effort is what made campaign (search for Gia) so visible in the community. In the same way you can’t do 1-2 things for your marketing and be upset if it doesn’t work. Marketing is a marathon not a sprint.
Result: Gia became the most famous dog in the area. 3 people recognized her and reported where she could be found and now when I walk her on the streets people stop me and congratulate me for finding her.
Are you doing everything you can to get the word out about your company or you putting effort forth every now and again? What can you do to make your efforts more consistent and effective?
Build Community Relationships
People often underestimate the power of relationships. You can not do it alone !!!
I would not have been able to find Gia without the help of Suzannah Scully, Jeff Riddle, Megan Brennan and countless others. Please do not make the mistake of thinking you can do everything for your business all on your own.
If you think about how many people you interact with in the community every day you would be surprised who may be a future strategic partner. While trying to find Gia I worked with the coffee shop I go to, the store where I buy dog food, and people from the park where I walk her to help spread the news about a lost dog. Other dog owners were also great advocates for my cause, just like your company’s clients are a great referral source.
Additionally my personal relationships helped me spread the word to their communities, people I never would have had the chance to interact with. Some of us even connected over email and started sharing resources.
Result: 20+ people shared pictures and information about Gia in the community, store fronts posted flyers, 8 people searched the streets for her, and 4 people helped post flyers. Even the girl scout cookie station passed out flyers.
Who do you know that you could create a mutually beneficial partnership with? Are you building relationships with people you see every day? You never know who your mailman, bank teller or barista may know.
Not only did we get the local community involved, we also got the online community involved.
When trying to market a company social media is not the most immediate answer and not even always the right one. But never underestimate the power of spreading information quickly over the internet. It took an entire day to post 250 flyers, it took less than 24 hours to spread the same information to more people online.
The night Gia was lost we posted an ad on Craigslist and twitter. That was followed up with another Craigslist ad which then got posted to facebook and went viral. 24 hours later over 20 people had re-posted the information to their social media networks.
Result: By the end of the day a barista at the local coffee shop heard about Gia missing because she read it on facebook (we were not connected via facebook at that time). One of the people who called to say she found Gia actually recognized her from one of the posts/ads when she dropped off another found dog at the animal shelter and called to tell us where she was.
Are you using your online resources the right way? Is there information you should be sharing that you aren’t or information you are sharing that you shouldn’t? Use social media the right way to add value or share information … don’t just create noise.
A Call To Action
Always remember to tell people how to get a hold of you and what to do with the information you give them. More importantly, make it easy for people to get in touch with you.
Gia’s collar and ID had recently broken so when she got lost there was no way of getting in contact with me if someone found her. Make sure your business isn’t doing the same !!
The craigslist ads, facebook posts, and flyers we distributed clearly had my phone number at the top and bottom and clearly said what they could do if they found Gia.
Result: 3 people called because the information was available and Gia now has a microchip, new ID tag, and dog license.
Look at your website or marketing materials, is it clear how people should contact you? What can you do to help people take action?
Whether you are marketing your business or finding your lost dog I wish you luck !!!