Here is what I learnt:
- Forget advertisements in mass media. Small businesses do not have the funds to get past the saturation in mass media, or any media for that matter. The question is if big businesses do.
- Have a unique product and/or unique promotional event. That's Marketing 101. But, how often do we really consider what this can entail? A unique product and/or a unique promotional event is NEWS. That gains free publicity. Free publicity is more credible than your paid advertisement.
- Focus and when you think you are done, focus again. There are events that create/develop brand awareness. But, small businesses do not have the resources to create brand awareness, as some larger brands/companies (still) do. And, how do you measure if you have succeeded? The ULTIMATE goal is always to generate sales or good leads. That should be your focus. If in the process awareness is created, that's nice.
- Narrow down your target market and use that knowledge. What is needed to generate sales? People with an objectively verifiable interest. This means that they are already fishing, and not thinking about it (you know how long people can think and do nothing). They also have decision-making authority and money to buy. If people outside of this group catch on, that's nice.
- Know the lifestyle (psychographics) of your target market. Where do they go when they are not fishing? What time of day? Who and what do they listen to, read, watch? Which of those influences them most?
- Try different activities that fit our target market and goal. Keep rolling out innovative activities. Then you can see which is effective and which is not.
- Measure your return-on-investment. This is important for all businesses, but more so for the small business. There is little room to waste resources (time, energy and money). And, for a small business, it is easier to measure your ROI: just ask people which activity led them to you and write it down next the their purchase amount. I am driving my dad, the owner, mad with ROI measurement.
- Pay attention to quality. That is, quality of the customer. Please don't get me wrong. 10 people buying 100 dollars each yields the same as 100 people buying 10 dollars each. But, let's be honest, what you really want is more of the type that buys 100 dollars each. What is his profile? What led him to you? What keeps him with you?