The answer is as widely based as the public itself. This question hits the core of marketing. How do you get your product or service in front of the masses when they are looking for you? Yellowpages have a great argument, “customers only pick up a phone book when they are ready to call someone.” This is a great selling point and its probably accurate. Its also close to accurate that 60% of the phone book users already know who they are looking for when they reach for that phone book (Stat pulled from a DEX media packet). The phone book is used as a directory.
Search engines or online searches on the other hand are different. If someone knows who they are looking for, say Bulwark, then they don’t search for a generic term like “Exterminating” or “Pest Control“. They search for “Bulwark”. If they are searching for “Pest Control” then they are shopping or information gathering. And since they are window shopping, conversions for these online visitors is very low.
The best converting clients from people who are shopping and find your service come through referrals. Most people will ask friends or family members for recommendations when it comes to common household services or products. Some argue that this falls into branding. You want to be the “first of mind”. They argue that you need to spend money to get your name out there and make the public aware of your service. But saying, “I have heard of Joe’s Bug Shop.”, is different then “Use Bulwark, they have been good to me and my family.”
Searching for a business probably covers all the above touch points and more. Many businesses will use a combination approach believing that all the pieces of the pie are important. They will spend in branding, radio, TV, and yellowpages because arguably “they all play a part.” This is called marketing overlap. It’s nice for advertisers because their is no concrete answer to what is working and what is not working. In reality there is some overlap, but where do you get the best bang for the buck. In the end, shoppers will take their friends recommendations and then do a little more online research. Or they will pick up a phone book and remember as they are turning the pages that Joe next door uses Adam’s Pest Control or that “Bulwark” has a recognizable logo. Because of marketing overlap it is easy to get confused on what touch points really drove them to buy or call.
So how do you know what works for you and your business. Test, Test, TEST… Record your results and keep testing.
Thanks for visiting. Please add your comments.
P.S…. A customer coming to you or searching is different then you finding customers.