by Dr Greg Chapman
I live in Melbourne where the population has increased by 45% this century. Unfortunately, as anyone here who has travelled by road knows, the infrastructure growth that services the population is only a fraction of that amount. This means there is now no off-peak time when travelling. The traffic is always heavy. This is affecting any business that spends time on the road, and not just in Melbourne, but also in all big Australian cities.
Businesses that may been able to do 5-6 jobs a day can now only do 3-4, which of course means a hit to their turnover. Travel time is business dead time. How have businesses adapted?
It’s now common to see businesses that might have advertised to service customers Melbourne wide now just offering their services to people within say, a 20 minute travel time of their offices, but this travel time radius shrinks geographically as traffic inevitably worsens. How do such businesses survive?
Until the flying car becomes affordable, or until the government fixes the infrastructure (personally, I think the flying car will come first), there needs to be a stronger focus on local area marketing.
In the past, when you could drive further and do more jobs in a day, you could have less focused marketing. You could stand on a mountain top and shout out, buy from us, we’re great, and everyone in the valley would hear you and because the valley was reasonable large, enough of the people who heard you called you and could keep you busy.
Doing the same thing now, many of the people who might hear you are too far away to reach in a reasonable time. But this kind of marketing is not only lazy it’s also much more expensive. You pay for the reach whether you can monetise it or not.
It’s highly unlikely that you have saturated your local area with your services. In fact, its more likely you have barely scratched the surface. There are lots of things you could be doing to target your local market. For example it’s much easier to come up #1 on a google search for “Northcote plumber”, than “Melbourne plumber”. You can letter drop postcards in the street you are currently providing service for your customer. You can join a local referral network. You can get involved with local community groups.
There are many other local area marketing strategies you can use to make you dominate your own backyard where you can become Top of Mind. The Big Fish in a small pond.
Yes all this might take a bit more time than high cost mass media marketing, but it will be cheaper, and just think how much time you will be saving by not being stuck in traffic!
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Dr Greg Chapman is the Director of Empower Business Solutions and is Australia's Lea ding Advisor on Emerging Businesses and provides Coaching and Consulting advice to Australian Small Business Owners in Marketing & Business Strategies Planning & Systems. He is also the author of The Five Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success and Price: How You Can Charge More Without Losing Sales.
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