Advertising. Need I say more?
We all know we need to do it. We all know you have to spend money to make it. But why does making money have to cost so much money?
Let's face it. I'm a little business. Really little. I draw my customers from a very small, local radius — relatively speaking. I mean seriously, I only have to make myself a household name within a 2-mile radius, certainly not more than 20 miles. In marketing terms, that's a pretty small area to cover. And what's more, I have a very limited supply to satisfy demand. I like my four-day work week and I'm not really looking to expand it, but push comes to shove and I'm really only available a total of maybe 50 hours a week. And I learned the hard way many years ago that I'm not interested in booking hourly, so 35 clients a week is about all I can handle.
So it shouldn't cost me much in advertising dollars to comfortably fill my book with a solid 70 to 100 regular clients, taking into account that not everyone comes in every two weeks.
So why does it? Why is it that am sitting around, trying to put together a marketing plan and subsequent budget for the new year and finding that I could easily drop $250+ a week to keep my name in front of my community as the leading choice in professional nail care? Especially when you consider that most of the advertising I will do won't result in immediate business? Most of the advertising that we all do — in fact, that all businesses do — is money spent for the sole purpose of making sure that potential customers know your name. Just in case they decide to get their nails done. Someday. Hopefully they'll come to you ... er, me ... well, whoever spends the most money on advertising anyway.
That is seriously depressing. Especially when I do the math and realize that the advertising I'd like to do would require investing 20% of my gross income into telling people I exist. So that I could what? Fill in the remaining 10% of my unbooked time? Ummm, let me see. So I'm looking at spending $250 a week to make an additional $200? Maybe $300. Which, at least, would mean making a profit on that advertising. Or, I could just keep handing out business cards to my current clients and politely insisting that they spread the word on my behalf.
Which doesn't require me to spend any more money but slowly — oh so slowly — builds my clientele up to the point where I can no longer accept new clients. Only to find myself with openings in my schedule as I'm unable to fit everyone who wants in into the available spots, so then I have to do more advertising to fill those spots ... Egads, chasing the myth of a full book can give you a headache. And cost you a lot of money.
And now I've spent all my blogging time convincing myself that a comprehensive marketing campaign would be a waste of money at this juncture, when what I really wanted to do was talk about how I was going to spend the money I have set aside for marketing.
I think I'm just going to get more glitter.