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How To Advertise A Personal Shopper Business
8/15/2007 at 4:03 PM ET
I would like to advertise our personal shopper business,
My target audience are men, 40+ years old, with an annual income of $100,000.
Unfortunately, ours is a small business with a very limited marketing budget.
I am looking for ideas of where/how we can advertise our services without spending thousands of dollars.
So far, we have been using Pay-per-click campaigns in Yahoo and Google (which are very broad and not necessarily targeted to our target audience) plus we have been sending press releases to editors of magazines and luxury portals. Any other ideas are welcome.
Thanks in advance!!
8/15/2007 at 4:16 PM
Isabel, welcome. I'm sorry to see that this is an urgent question, because marketing takes time...it takes a well thought-through plan of action, and it generally takes a budget sufficient to achieve the goals of the company.
In your community, there must be places where those in your target demographic congregate; The gym, church...business breakfasts, lunches, dinners, somewhere.
Investigate whether you can leave flyers, cards, join the organization...make a speech...something.
Because if you are not going to spend enough money to achieve your goals, the chances of continuing in this business, profitably, are quite slim.
I don't want to burst your bubble, but investment spending is critical to business growth. Try to visit those groups.
8/15/2007 at 4:28 PM
To me, this screams for a viral or word of mouth campaign. That said, I hope you have planned your expenses so that you can take a few months for the idea to kick in. I assume you are in a more urban or suburban upscale market where there are people with disposable income but not disposable time.
You might also want to target some endurance type athletes who desire to spend their time training not shopping.
I would also not limit it to just men. You have two income couples who are both flat out trying to survive and would make joint use of the service.
Can you get a local TV station to put you on as a human interest story? Have you networked in the local business circles in prepartion for launch? These are things that should have been done while holding down a full time job to prepare for the launch. Now you are in the time vs money curve - too little time before the money runs out.
Best of luck. Who knows - it might be something I would try.
8/15/2007 at 4:42 PM
I advise my clients that you can spend your time to make money or spend your money to save you time. You can certainly bootstrap your way to success, but as Randall says, it'll take time.
First, if your demographic is men, change your website graphics. Those graphics make me think it's a service by women for women.
Do you have any success stories (ideally, where you save the day, etc.)? If so, then you can pitch the stories to magazines that serve your demographic, positioning yourself as an expert in personal shopping. Your stories can also be used in testimonials on your website, press releases, and blogs. All these options are basically free.
There's been some other people commenting on CEO blogging websites (
). One idea is for you to refocus your target to be CEOs (CEO personal shopper), and then you could pitch to each of these blogs (as appropriate), etc. Because the niche is narrower, it's easier to stand out as something unusual. But before you do that, you need to have some history you can show to build trust, since you'll be operating at a high level.
I would strongly suggest that before you spend more time (and money) that you should create a strategic (marketing) plan for your business. It's tempting to try to hit the ground running, but you really need to walk before you can run.
8/15/2007 at 6:14 PM
To stretch your ad dollars, may I suggest you partner with complementary product / services businesses and share the cost of advertising and each may gain a synergy / upsell of being associated with the other advertisers.
On a simliar note, associating yourself with a fundraising cause by donating your services as a prize can boost your exposure.
Despite being a national service, you may want to pick a few large metro areas to focus on until you gain the checkbook to advertise nationally. Local radio time can be affordable to get some brand recognition and buzz by using smaller stations and higher frequency (I mean more ads, not the broadcast frequency). As a specialty ad agency in the Phoenix Metro area, my company
offers web URL ads on sticky notes on the front of the local newspaper. By splitting the ad cost amongst multiple advertisers, each business retains high visibility at a low cost of about 3/4 of a cent per reader.
Being on a limited budget, you may wish to explore Classified advertising - I'm told it works but I have no personal experience pro or con. I would stick to national newspapers and business newspapers to approach your demographic.
On a more buget-friendly pay-as-you-go option, a targeted opt-in email list may be in your future. Email can be very cost effective and tailored to your target market by tracking the performance of each campaign. You can generally spend a little at a time and revise your copy for the best conversion rate.
Your international shopping begs for international exposure (obviously). I don't have a clue, however wouldn't it be ironical if a Chinese man orders the latest gadget from the United States, and finds out it was made 5 miles from his home in China.
8/15/2007 at 6:46 PM
Have you tried taking your campaign to places where men shop or congregate such as the gym, men's clothing stores, auto supply stores, package liquor stores? You can research which establishments cater to men with the incomes you seek and then take it from there. Maybe even a cooperative venture with those establishments for a referral or participation fee for allowing you or helping you to market to their patrons.
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