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Do you think that you don’t have the funds to properly market your company? It takes less than 1% of your revenue to get your name out there like it should be, so cost isn’t really an issue.
Or maybe you just don’t want to bother. Remember the motto of PCB shop owners: “When your sales are low, fire your salespeople and buy a drill.” So maybe you’re just one of those guys who doesn’t get it.
You never had to market your company before, so why should you start now? Whenever things got hard, you just muddled through, cutting corners, laying off people and holding costs until the business came back…because it always did, sooner or later. You’re not sure why, but it always did. So now, even if business is down, you see no reason to do anything but the same thing you have always done and that is…do nothing.
Well, let me ask you, how’s that going for you? Or maybe I should ask, how did it go for the 1,000 or more North American board shops that have gone out of business in the past 25 years? They didn’t do anything either. Some of them just kept buying equipment, equipment that in the end earned their creditors some of their money back. Or they just kept cutting costs to the point that one day, poof! They just disappeared into thin air.
Keep in mind, times are not what they used to be. In the ‘70s and maybe early ‘80s, you could just sit tight and the business would come to you. You didn’t need to market; you didn’t even need salespeople. Back then, all you needed was to build boards and they would come. North America had more than 80% of the PCB business worldwide and there was no Asia factor. But the world has changed, so get over it, move on, and do something about it.
And if finally, you get the point and are going to do something, here are three easy things you can do right now to market your company and get your name out there.
- Send out value-added newsletters about your company. They don’t have to be long or fancy—you just need to offer information that your customers can use. Include technical information that will help your customers with their PCB needs. The key is to build a database of customers and potential customers and get your newsletter out on a regular basis, say about every six weeks. This means that, with very little effort on your part, your customers will be hearing from you on a regular basis. And once you have their attention you can stick in an offer that will serve as a call to action for them to start buying from you.
- Write and publish a regular column. There is something about appearing in print that somehow makes you an expert, whether you are one or not, and believe me I know. You can write about a specific technology, or a service that your company is good at. Writing a column will go a long way towards branding your company. And once columns are published you can use them for your own marketing efforts as well.
- Issue press releases. This is the easiest one of all. Put together and send out press releases about your company when you buy a new piece of equipment or hire a new salesperson or a new director of operations, or you are heading to a trade show to exhibit. This will keep your name out in the market and the best part is that it costs nothing. Done right, a well-written press release is as good as a paid ad.
And speaking of ads, there is one more (always underpromise and overdeliver). And my apologies, this is a bit of a commercial, but an important one. Spend a little money on some advertising. It costs much less than you think, and a publication like I-Connect007 offers special packages for all budgets. And the neat thing is once you are advertising with a trade magazine, there are all sorts of bonus services that might be possible—from free interviews to press release distribution to even advice on how to send out the right message.
None of these ideas are particularly difficult to execute, and except for the last one, none of them will cost you a penny. And by the way, doing these things will help you to focus and define your company’s direction which is always a good thing.
It’s only common sense.