I am not a huge-scale grower and I prefer to avoid dealing with a middle-man and would rather sell direct to my customer base. It seems to work out better for everybody when I do it this way.
Any tips on how to advertise what I have to offer, while at the same time keep my offerings a little tighter? I don’t have time to waste on customers who don’t know a good thing when they see it or who could cause problems for me and my growing endeavours.
While it may seem ironic to advertise and at the same time limit who you attract, it’s not a unique problem or concept. A lot of smart business people “choose their customers.” Let’s face it, as a one-man-band you don’t have a lot of time to waste, especially if you want to preserve your love for what you do.
Dealing with a bunch of tire-kickers, price grinders, people who don’t appreciate quality or service - or even those that would harm your business - is something every business should be looking to avoid.
Advertising in “community” publications is a great place to start. It can really pay off to exercise due diligence and research which publications are being read by your kind of people within your market. If you are willing to ship your product anywhere you may consider more national-based advertising.
However, in taking the shotgun based approach you aren’t going to be able to do as good a job of selecting your customers. Even if you plan to ship everywhere, consider taking an area-by-area approach. The extra time you spend establishing yourself securely in unique markets can help to ensure that you continue to enjoy the types of success that you become accustomed to.
Along with advertising in community based publications, savvy internet marketing and even direct online sales could prove to help make you a bundle and really fine tune how and who you deal with. By optimizing search engine tags and having strategic paid links appearing in related websites, you can draw from large numbers of potential customers that suit your criteria. The stats you get from your site and sales can act as powerful tools in learning about who your customers really are and how you can better serve them.
Believe it or not, word of mouth is still a great option for this business; it just takes time, especially if it’s within the tighter circles. However, even though you have bills to pay, as a grower you must have patience, so temper your desire to expand with the need for sustainable growth in your business. Before long, you may need to hire some quality people to help you further expand, so check back next week for the first part in our Ask Erik: RAW! series on how to hire and manage employees for long term hydroponic business success.
Cheers, Erik Biksa
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Tuesday, 05 July 2011