Go where the eyeballs go, certainly, but where are the ears going?
Legacy allocates 95% of our yearly advertising budget into online marketing. That is where the eyeballs are, so that is where we want to be. We started with engine or power plant: the website. We had a small firm build a responsive site with an emphasis on generating leads. All efforts on-site is put into capturing customer info so we can contact them via phone. That was an upfront cost.
Our monthly online marketing costs are fully funneled into local SEO and PPC campaigns. So with all of this money and time being earmarked for online marketing, and with such an extreme focus online, should we try to diversify? What I mean by that, is should we ignore all other traditional forms of media such as print, radio, tv, and word of mouth? We have long been convicted that print, radio, and tv’s cost is much too inflated for small business. At a cost of $500 for 30 15-second radio spots, we can stretch those dollars much further with PPC ads and be able to track our exact conversion rate!
But what about word of mouth you say? How do you invest in word of mouth or better yet, how do you manufacture it? I’ll give you one uniquely old-fashioned way to do just that. There are local networking (referral) groups in most cities facilitated by BNI.
I experienced the potential power of a BNI referral group upon joining last fall. Essentially BNI is a group of individuals in their respective areas of industry coming together and passing each other business. There are HVAC companies, Insurance Agencies, and Interior Designers. Almost every industry is represented in any given group.
Every thursday morning, we stand and give a 30-60 second “commercial” explaining what you do, and what type of referral you are looking for. BNI is expensive no doubt (on average yearly dues are $1100/yr), but depending on your profit margin, one or two sales and you are in the black. There is competition in doing what BNI does but I believe BNI to be the best referral group network.