Business Marketing in the 90s Was Primarily Done Through Direct Mailings, Mailed Coupons, and Door Hangers.
In the first three months of starting my business back then, I had 40 customers and was so excited. However, I recognized the need and desire to keep growing my business.
I reached out to some old friends who were marketing majors in college. After much discussion with them, I was convinced that direct mails would be my best option. So, I printed postcards, got approved by the postal service, and sent bulk mail to everyone in my postal area.
And guess what? I got a 20% response. One business friend said it was a phenomenal result from a bulk mail.
I tried the direct mail process few more times, and none were as successful as the first time I did it. Unfortunately, postcards started getting overrun by other businesses, and I lost effectiveness. Trying to stay ahead of the marketing curve, I encountered a new direct mailing expert, and he recommended purchasing a massaged mailing list. This time, it was a more targeted approach than bulk mail to potential customers.
So, I chose my parameters and sent out the letters with an actual bulk mail stamp– not a printed postmark. It is to give it a more personalized look. Again, the results were high! Though not as high as the 20% level achieved on the first mailing.
The drawback to the list was that it was expensive and could only be used once. I tried to develop my own database of target customers as mail recipients. I joined organizations, groups, and so on, but this was also time-consuming. When I tried to hire a data entry person, the information was not always recorded in the system correctly, and when we had to update the database, it was a lot of time and work.
My business grew back then, but not as efficiently as today’s tools.
The Arrival of the Internet
The big transition came when the informational Internet started growing in the late 1990s, aka the .com era. Several businesses bought websites and domain names; it was a high investment. While some small businesses could not afford this new trend, I developed one for my business even though it exceeded my marketing budget. Once it was online, the websites simply existed. They didn’t give significant results for our businesses.
So many business owners I knew back the fell back to the old faithful direct mailings, coupons, and door hanger. Business life went on like this. People hardly found the positive benefits of the Internet compared with traditional marketing. Mostly due to the high costs of web developers.
Then some progressive web developers came on the scene, and meta words started to be a concern. Google became the rising star for search engines, and their algorithm became the standard for finding businesses online.
With this came large and fast changes to computing, this computer-savvy Radio Shack Tandy operator (me) was getting lost in the fast-changing technology maze.
I became more focused on making sure the technology worked and trusted the web developers and I.T. specialists. Growing my business was my bigger concern than how the technology itself worked.
However, this loss of control on our websites and IT systems is a real problem for an A-Type entrepreneur (AKA me). Most of the time, self-employed owners are the real deal for being total control nuts.
The Challenge of Today’s Internet
I eventually spent thousands of dollars over the years without getting great real-time feedback from customers. That is something I missed from the direct mailing days. Changes on the internet were often buried in the web developers’ tech jargon and were often not to the high levels/standards that I wanted.
Today’s search engines look for website content, but more importantly, your business details like name, address, and contact number should be accurate and consistent everywhere online.
I found some service providers that can perform this function for you, but they are more expensive than my budget will allow. Sure, the website they make looks fantastic. However, my sales and profits are not at the level I expect for this service. However, finding my business on a website or elsewhere doesn’t guarantee a quote request and closing a sale.
The Value Should Be Greater than Just Getting My Business Online
Simply Be Found gave me a reasonable price point and a way to manage my business details and generate positive customer reviews. Vendor’s trustworthiness is currently the most powerful marketing tool I have seen in business growth.
Simply Be Found allows you to solicit customers to provide reviews for your business, which builds your credibility and authority online.
Simultaneously, the Simply Be Found system also gives you a control list of keywords for a more optimized search for your business website links. It can also assist in voice searches. This process reminded me of the old meta word lists, but this time it is more versatile, effective, and reports tracking data. The format is in my language and not in some developers trying to impress me with their technical prowess.
To sum it up, Simply Be Found uses the old-school techniques of marketing to real people and customers, but with a new internet twist.
What is surprising that as things seem to change in trying to win customers, the more it stays the same or goes back to the traditional principles of good marketing practices. Get people to find your business, provide high-quality products and services at a fair price, and treat your customers with care and respect.
P.S. Just a note, in the marketing days of yore, feedback to the customer was in the form of a handwritten thank you note, which could contain a small gift or discount coupon. Then you hoped this would lead to referrals from customers and business associates. The same principle applies with Simply Be Found review generation solutions, only so much better. It is worth it!