The fun of setting up and running a new small business is enormous. The satisfaction when you do something that encourages a customer to buy is great, especially when you have made the product yourself. However, it is easy to get sucked into the making of the product and forget the marketing.
I have tried a number of different ways to market my business and so far the most successful ways of doing so has been online, press coverage and the market where I have a stall, each Saturday. I have found that paid advertising, both online and hardcopy, has not delivered the results. The companies that sell advertising space over rate their reach and the reality is, that for my type of product, food, people want to see it and taste it. What disappoints me is, these advertisers use a range of propositions to get you to advertise which really don’t make sense if you analyse them carefully. You learn quickly!
The press coverage I received earlier on this year in the Oxford Times Business section and BBC Radio Oxford made a huge impact in getting me going with interest and I had a number of clients contact me because of this publicity. I have now become adept at writing press releases!
I love the www.wallingfordlocalproducersmarket.com for many reasons, not least the great people who use their talents to produce a wide range of things. The market has a great feel to it and the customers who follow the market have developed a highly attuned sense of what is good quality and support the goals of produce being local. The true meaning of the word market comes out when you get involved in a market like this. It has been a great way for me to develop my own customers and spread the word about my products and services.
I have an IT background which tends to pigeon hole me for the website side of things. I have built my own website and now the markets website in the last few weeks. I am really pleased with that site and it is gradually getting more content on it. I am now working with Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to grow the awareness on both my business and the market. This is fun and I am enjoying the quirks of each social media site and how to get the best from them. These things again will impact the business opportunities for both the market and www.thelatechef.com . Blogging and Twittering is going to be a key way to spread the word and develop a wider audience.
So what else is there? Well there is networking which I do through a couple of groups but I do find that there are some that have come over from the USA or base themselves on those models and I find the way they work is just too forced. I just think that networking is about meeting people and building relationships. This referral groups seem to me to be about generating income through some fairly high membership fees. I found the entry fee for one network to be over £500! Difficult for a small business to justify!
My LinkedIn profile is up to date and 100% and I have engaged in a number of groups there which is a great way for me to get some help, ideas and exchange views.
So Twitter and Blogging are my next little mountains to conquer. Hopefully my skills will improve over time and the tweets and blog posts will become more interesting.
Meantime, must go and do some cooking!! Catch you later…… Paul aka TheLateChef