How to Help New Businesses Make the Right First Impression with Consumers

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Over half of new small businesses fail within five years of their start date. The operations fail because consumers don’t see the need for their products or services. Or, failure happens because consumers find a less expensive alternative or better solution. Before all that takes place, there’s another reason for failure. Consumers don’t know about the business, because the owners don’t properly market themselves.

BIA/Kelsey’s latest Local Commerce Monitor takes a look at what new local businesses are doing to get the word out to potential customers. Not surprisingly, the owners are turning to low-cost media. By sponsoring a local charity or event, new businesses can make a name for themselves in the local marketplace. They also promote giveaways in free or low-cost media. Consumers will quickly spread the word if a business is giving away something of value, like a free living room furniture set or a season’s worth of free lawn mowing.

This kind of advertising isn’t enough to increase widespread awareness though. BIA/Kelsey reports that new businesses also use paid media. For traditional formats, radio and TV deliver the biggest ROI. Mobile advertising is increasingly important for local businesses. In this survey, SMB start-ups credit enhanced mobile listings, mobile display ads, and mobile apps with generating customer activity.

For media sellers, the key to succeeding with new businesses is having an in-depth discussion. The owners are overwhelmed with the details of managing inventory, cash flow and employee training. They can’t afford to drop the ball on any critical part of their operations. And, this includes advertising. Talk with them about how they plan to increase awareness in the community. Work with them to tie together a consistent message across their sponsorship efforts and their paid media advertising. Before you talk with them, check out the Local Account Intelligence Reports available at AdMall from SalesFuel. These reports will help you understand the opportunities and challenges facing these business owners.

Remind them that they’ll never have a second chance to make an awesome first impression on consumers in the local market. With your help, they can succeed at that goal, while generating enough business to increase their odds of surviving for the long term.

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Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.