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I recently saw an ad taped to my mailbox, mind you, my mailbox is shared by many residents of my area. The postal real estate is typically reserved for flyers of lost dogs, cats, small children, etc. This time, however, the ad was soliciting a service which, I feel, requires a personal connection. The ad simply stated: "Affordable, Quality, Licensed, Day Care. Call XXX-XXXX"
While I do not have children yet, I can only assume a responsible parent would look at this impersonal solicitation for their young children and laugh. Would you consider trusting this nameless, faceless, credit-less, organization with your children? Maybe some days this would be appealing, but realistically?
I started thinking about credibility and what an important role it plays in today's business economy. I looked in the yellow pages for a landscaping company - six pages vying for my dollar, yet all of them lacked personality. Not one said, "We are a credible company you have heard of."
Granted, building a brand name takes longer than a day or a dollar. Not one person on my mailing list has the Microsoft arsenal of marketers, nor do they have the brand recognition worldwide. But thousands of "small businesses" (a term I hate) have incredible local recognition. Think Blue Sky Landscaping (for you Western Washington folks), what about Dillanos Coffee? They are based right here in Sumner. Ever heard of Pink Coconut? Headquartered in Puyallup.
What do you do to make your company say, "I am someone you can trust."? How do your customers get to be your customers? Obviously word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool - but you can't buy that. If you could, we would all be millionaires and word of mouth would not have the same credibility. What about new customers?
For some, leaving an anonymous flyer on a mailbox will work. For daycare? For in-home services? No.
Write back and let me know what you do to bring creditability to your company. In my next article, I will share some of your thoughts - think about it, instant (creditable, free) publicity.
S. Nestor writes for StormFront Development, a pioneer in web development. Visit their private forum SF:Club (http://www.thesfclub.com) to learn more. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard
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