How do I market my new business effectively and DOUBLE QUICK
March 17, 2014 12:58 PM   Subscribe

How do I market my new business effectively and DOUBLE QUICK with the added catch on not wanting my ex stalker figuring it out?

Can't say the sensitive nature of the business but it's niche and needed. The people who know about the field are behind me, one 'big player' is endorsing my work on my site. An ad in a very popular site didn't go up which would have reached 6,000,000 people.

I am now on LinkedIn (stressed as the stalker put me on it before) am on the Homepage of a high end mag who are very interested in my work (and may recommend me as a resource in a later edition) and I'm posted on a community site and have cards in a business centre. Web designer has tried to improve hits, I am adding testimonials to the site and a few other things. Scattergun marketing not working and nor is the focused. It's only been a week but I haven't had 1 enquiry!

To add a cryptic (but true) dimension most people wouldn't get that this (work) may have relevance to them as the area is poorly understood generally.

What else can I do? Losing steam :(
posted by tanktop to Work & Money (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I have irritatingly extensive experience with extensive stalking.

If your life is in danger it is past the scope of Ask MeFi. If it isn't and it's just a cripplingly scary thing with intermittent threats to try to damage career/reputation/etc -- you kind of have two choices, and they are:

1 Hide! Disappear, obfuscate all traces of yourself

2 Screw it and go for broke with the most public persona possible

You might find that #2 is actually a stress relief -- there is only so much stalking that even the most determined nut job can do, and if you are on multiple sites doing multiple things, totally in public, under your real name, and you do not respond to the stalker's overtures on these multiple sites, well, you'll have a whole lot going on in your internet life and the stalker will be just a small and relatively easily ignored part of it. It is, in my experience, more difficult when you are only appearing on-line in a select few places and trying to maintain a low profile in those places. Your stalker will thrill to finding you and be enticed to gloat over finding you. But if you are all over the web with HI IT'S ME TANKTOP HERE IS MY PAGE!!!! MAIL ME ANYTIME: TANKTOP@GMAIL.COM BLAH BLAH BLAH, it is not quite so exciting for your stalker to ferret you out. They really thrill to what they view as a private connexion between the two of you; it's not so exciting for them when the whole world has access, effortless access, to exactly what they do. Oversharing definitely has its uses.
posted by kmennie at 1:14 PM on March 17, 2014 [4 favorites]

Marketing and advertising professionals spend days, weeks, and even months digging into every little aspect of a business in order to advise on how to market it effectively.

And you expect useful advice from people who have absolutely no idea what you're talking about?
posted by John Borrowman at 1:15 PM on March 17, 2014 [10 favorites]

It's only been a week but I haven't had 1 enquiry!
This is why entrepreneurs are always recommended to have several months working capital available - it takes time to build a client base and get your name out there. You won't start making money overnight.

An ad in a very popular site didn't go up which would have reached 6,000,000 people.
Why not? Was it submitted too late, or maybe you just didn't pay on time? Can it run during the next advertising cycle? If there's another reason they chose not to run it, you need to figure that out and fix it.

The people who know about the field are behind me, one 'big player' is endorsing my work on my site.
A testimonial on a website isn't really all that persuasive. I could create a website claiming to be psychic, with a testimonial from Bill Gates that I told him exactly how to start Microsoft and turn it into the tech powerhouse it is. Of course, that's so farfetched that nobody would believe it - but these days most people have a very healthy amount of skepticism for testimonials provided directly by the vendor.

If these people really believe in your product or solution, get them to actively refer people to you. Use their networks to expand yours. If they are available and willing, you might even consider paying them as consultants to dedicate some of their time specifically for these tasks.

As for the stalker - if you want the business to succeed, you need to put everything out there. Not personal details, obviously, but anything business-related needs to be front and center. If you're obscuring any of this because of stalker potential, you are only doing yourself a disservice.

Finally - why the cryptic nature of the OP? MeFi isn't fond of self-linking, but at least a little detail about your specific industry might get you better feedback here.
posted by trivia genius at 1:32 PM on March 17, 2014

To add a cryptic (but true) dimension most people wouldn't get that this (work) may have relevance to them as the area is poorly understood generally.

I suggest you work on this piece. Work on your "elevator speech" and on how to effectively convey what it is and why it is needed. When I worked at BigCo, they had very high name recognition and were working on this piece in their advertising campaign.

As for the stalker, I agree with a lot of what kmennie says. I will add that you can be very public about your work and simultaneously careful about guarding info that would be especially interesting to the stalker.
posted by Michele in California at 2:02 PM on March 17, 2014

Generally I agree with kmennie above: these are contradictory goals. If you can safely ignore the stalker, do so and focus on being more visible to expand your business; if you can't safely do so, you have bigger problems than we can help with.

An ad in a very popular site didn't go up

Why not?

To add a cryptic (but true) dimension most people wouldn't get that this (work) may have relevance to them as the area is poorly understood generally.

That is indeed cryptic, but it sounds like SEO and testimonials on your website are not going to help at all: you can't optimize search results for people who don't know they need to search for you in the first place. So you need to be going out and finding potential customers instead of waiting for them to find you.

It sounds like you've made some limited attempts in this direction, but simply being on LinkedIn or leaving a stack of business cards in a business center is not sufficient. Direct advertising is expensive and of arguably limited value (when's the last time you clicked on a banner ad on purpose? Yeah, me neither.)

It does sound like you have one thing going for you, though:

one 'big player' is endorsing my work on my site

Endorsements on your site are of limited value if nobody's visiting your site in the first place -- but can you get that big player to endorse you on his or her site? Include you as an example in a blog post about [whatever it is you do]? Partner with you on some publicly-visible project? That sort of thing can be really valuable as a source of traffic, far more so than advertising can. Ditto for the "high end mag". Being on their homepage is meh, if that's an ad -- people don't read ads. But they do read the articles. Try to be in the articles.
posted by ook at 2:12 PM on March 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

To add a cryptic (but true) dimension most people wouldn't get that this (work) may have relevance to them as the area is poorly understood generally.

You need to educate the market. Your advertising should target WHY they need you. Think podcasts, blogs, discussion forums, and conventions or other events, in addition to the traditional ads in magazines, newspapers, and radio.

Also, depending on what you're selling, you may be able to target the people who market to your target audience. For example, a caterer would market not only to brides, etc. but also to reception venues and wedding planners. Or a nutritional specialist would not only target the end customer, but also gyms and doctors offices.

And echoing what someone said above, a week is not that much time. It takes more than just one week to build a client base.

Someone told me many years ago that you had to spend money to make money, referring to PR efforts. He further said that cutting PR funds is akin to shooting yourself in the foot. Spend money on getting the word out, cut corners somewhere else.
posted by rakaidan at 2:38 PM on March 17, 2014

Customers need multiple exposures to a business' offerings before making the effort to find out more, and still more exposures before even considering making a purchase. As a business owner, I know that my clients need to:

--recognize that they have a need (a pain to be eliminated or a pleasure to be achieved)
--be aware that there are professionals who provide such solutions
--know how to find professionals to provide the solutions
--find me as one such solution provider
--overcome any internal objections (re: seeking out help, paying someone for assistance, committing to the process, etc.)
--actually take action

If you are running a business that offers a product or service where people may not even know that what you're offering is relevant to them, you need to do a LOT of education of your intended audience. That means blog posts, guest posts at other sites, publishing articles or white papers, getting coverage from other people's blogs as well as the news media, and LOTS AND LOTS of social media.

LinkedIn is nice for making one-to-one connections for corporate types, but it's a pretty poor source of referrals for anything if people don't know to look for it. Twitter and Facebook (though FB is a pain) are much better sources of spreading the word virally.

It also means you need to be educating the taste-makers and experts whom your audience turns to for advice and information on the very area in which you work.

Long story short, one week is nothing. In my first year of business, I (with an extensive background in television, and in marketing in general) only had a handful of client inquiries in the first six months, and only one actual client. That was 13 years ago. You are expecting much more, much to fast, than is reasonable.

As for a stalker, you have three options as I see it. Don't market your business at all, and give up. Market your business as yourself and live in the sunshine, risking awareness from your stalker, or market with a faux identity, limiting your ability to do public appearances, podcast interviews, videos, etc. It's not clear what kind of stalker you are describing, so I will refrain from commenting in that regard. Good luck.
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 2:50 PM on March 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you're honestly losing steam after just a week, then that's even more of a reason to hire actual marketing people who know your field/industry/audience and pay them to do what they do well, rather than wasting your time and money doing it yourself.
posted by rtha at 3:30 PM on March 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

I frequent a local business that is somewhat sensitive, that is niche and needed, and that a lot of people don't know they need. It is an independent bra boutique. They specialize in doing high-quality fittings and putting people in their correct bra size (usually for bigger-busted customers). They carry some less-well-known brands that have a wide range of sizes to accommodate the fact that most women are not, in fact, a 34B.

What I have noticed the owner doing from a marketing perspective:
* Partnering with other businesses that have a similar clientele (jewelrymaker, custom soaps/candles, bridal shop)
* Giving talks in the community about bra fitting
* Being very active in social media (fb, twitter), but especially YouTube where she posts video reviews of new bras
* Blogging well and consistently and becoming a well-respected member of the bra/lingerie/big-busted blogosphere

She's probably doing a lot of other things I'm not aware of since I already knew I needed this kind of service and was on the lookout for it after a relocation.

She is great at explaining her value proposition and why what she is offering is better than the alternative (e.g., Victoria's Secret) in a way that doesn't run other business down [the elevator pitch noted above]. She's also pretty fearless about talking about underwear on the internet and in person, and she stars in her bra video reviews. As kmennie notes, when you put it all out there, and decide not to be afraid, the positive response can drown out the negative/creepy ones.

I also know it took WAY longer than a week to get going. It sounds like you're not doing a retail store, but really, it takes a while to get going for any kind of business.

I think the takeaway from her experience it get out there, try different things, and be patient but persistent.
posted by jeoc at 4:59 PM on March 17, 2014 [2 favorites]

If you want to keep the ex stalker from finding out what's easily findable by googling your name you will have to use a different name. If they know your business name you will have to chnage it.

If they are actually an "ex stalker", you wouldn't need to to worry about these things, but it doesn't sound like that's the case.

You should find a local small business group where you will feel comfortable talking about your business and ask them for marketing advice. Expecting your businees to take off in a week is overly optimistic for most.

Maybe you can give some talks to local groups of potential customers for your mystery business. Perhaps people will have feedback about, er, stuff that people think about stuff your business sells/consults on/fixes/whatever.

You could hire a marketing consultant who is sympathetic to your cause/has signed an NDL/is 'one of us'/whatever and discuss your sensitve business info and how it should be marketed with them.
posted by yohko at 2:49 AM on March 18, 2014

I notice you describe yourself in a previous question as having a certain phobia and not much knowledge in that area particular area. It's possible that you aren't aware it's easy to see questions you have asked before that might relate more about your current business than you wish to be known.

You can email a mod to ask that this question be anonymized if this is a problem for you.

Given what your other questions said, I think you are best off to focus on marketing to people, groups, organizations, or businesses in your local area. It is going to be very difficult for you to understand how to market something that people don't know they need online. Radio ads might also be an option. It's going to be easier for you advise and relate to people who don't do as much shopping online, so online ads are not a good way to go for you. Market that your customers can talk to a real person.

Also, if you are loosing steam after a bad week self employment might not be for you. Either acknowledge that there will be a lot of ups and downs or get out before you sink too much money into things.
posted by yohko at 3:05 AM on March 18, 2014

It's only been a week but I haven't had 1 enquiry!

It's only been a week & you've tried a few ways to raise your profile that haven't panned out *yet*. Give it time.

If this is something that many people might be interested in, then a good way to test the waters might be Google Adwords. Google will (usually) give you a free chunk of ads as a new customer - you can test the waters and see if there's much interest out there with some appropriate ad text leading to a landing page asking people to sign up to a mailing list. You don't even need a working product for this to be useful - just "Coming soon! Sign up here to be notified when product/service X is available!". If you get people signing up, then you both have evidence of interest & a list of strong prospects when you do have something concrete to offer. Use Google's analytics on the web page so you can track conversions from the ads they run on your behalf.

This approach won't work for every service or product but it can be an very effective way of testing the waters.
posted by pharm at 3:36 AM on March 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

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