Exposure Doesn’t Pay the Bills
It seems like it’s that time of year again where I’m being asked almost every day to consider a new marketing “opportunity” that will provide me exposure to potential clients. These opportunities have included charity events, tasting events, bridal events and shows, advertising on various sites such as YP.com, the Knot, MyWedding.com, etc., and advertising in various publications including the local newspaper and magazines with a yearly wedding issue. My experience in participating in many of these opportunities is that most of the time, the exposure does not convert to sales. It may convert to better recognition of my brand in the minds of the participants but even that’s a stretch sometimes.
Before I jump into any opportunity, I like to consider 4 questions that help me sort everything out and make a decision based on the best outcome for my company, despite how good the sales guy or gal is.
Will enough of my ideal clients be reached?
I know what my ideal client looks like. Will he or she be present at this type of event. Do brides even read newspapers? If I can’t reach enough of the people who I really love to work with, hence the word ideal, why on earth would I participate?
Are they in a position and mindset to buy or at least consider buying?
It’s hard to sell anything at a charity tasting event when guests are stuffing their faces and taking advantage of the free bar. Most are not even interested in that moment about anything more than trying my food. Sure, I’m getting exposure, but, with so many distractions, am I really making a worthwhile impression, one that will lead to a sale?
Can I capture their information?
Will there be a lead list? Can I collect business cards, sign up sheets, social media follows, or questionnaires that will give me the opportunity to continue the conversation following the opportunity? Is there a way I can drive traffic from the publication to my website or social media site…an exclusive promotion perhaps?
Do the economics make sense?
How much will this opportunity cost me…not just in money but in time and other opportunity? How many sales do I need to get to break even? Is it worth all the work? What other benefits will I get from this opportunity (helping a good cause, networking with key potential clients, helping a friend or current customer, thus increasing goodwill in that relationship)?
Now it’s impossible to really predict how many sales you’ll get from a bridal show, how many people will buy from you having had that one interaction with you, how many brides will happen across your ad in the special bridal issue and choose you. Sometimes you just have to try it out. I’ve done that a lot and that’s why I’m so good at saying “no” these days. I’ve been there with hopeful eyes at a tasting event and seen the people who could care less about who was providing the food. I’ve not received a single call or email from a special promotion. I put ads in newspapers, magazines, school sports calendars, That’s why I ask myself these questions now before I move forward. I need to know that I will actually be in a position to impact my ideal clients and that they will be in a position to do something to move the relationship forward. I need to know if I can continue the conversation and it has to make sense financially. If there seems to be no upside, there probably won’t be…so say no and move on to the next opportunity.
-Featured image by Serge