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Thursday, June 19, 2008

A not-so-warm introduction (2)

Some more correspondence with the Toronto contractor who introduced himself to me in a forthright if less-than-welcoming manner yesterday.

He wrote:

We're a small operation, 5 guys, but keeping busy. Just looking for more jobs so we can grow. Your misguided if you believe a reference to your site proves that your strategy is working. That makes no more sense than if I refer you to a greasy spoon on Bathurst from which you get food poisoning.

Fact is, your paper is a tossaway. I'll put an ad in my local EMC paper or on Craigslist or kijiji. Like you wrote, "Maybe you are right. I can’t judge myself." Doesn't say much for your judgment, does it?

My response:

Would you mind sharing what you do, and your intended market? Most likely we will agree that you should not advertise in any of our publications; paid advertising, if used, needs to be specifically targeted and serve the appropriate market – and if your market is the general public rather than within the industry, we are absolutely the wrong place to spend any of your money. And even if your market matched our demographics, I would still hesitate to recommend you spend any money with us except in the most exceptional circumstances. Fortunately, we sell enough stuff to the businesses which would benefit by working with us to stay in business ourselves.

The purpose of my blog and newsletter is not to sell advertising – it is to share construction marketing ideas. It is one of several initiatives that have absolutely nothing to do with selling anything – but everything to do with building our business and brand. Do these methods help us to find qualified leads and clients? Certainly. And that is why I am scratching my head.

If I can’t find your company name in the phone book, if I can’t see you have even a rudimentary Internet presence, then how am I to know where you are to do business with you. This is ‘advertising’ of a sort but clearly I am not asking you to waste money on Yellow Pages listings – just a simple web presence will be a good start. The blog does rather interesting things for our search engine rankings; when you get to number one place in Google for relevant keywords, you get inquiries – and business. You can set up a blog for free using Google’s blogger service which,
incidentally, could also serve as a rather simple and easy-to-maintain home page for your business website.

As for whether my papers are ‘tossaways’ I’ll allow the marketplace to decide that. Although they are distributed with controlled circulation, a few hundred people pay us $25.00 a year to subscribe, and renew year after year.

I’ve learned that you can achieve much worthwhile business by putting ‘business’ aside and simply sharing ideas, insights, and good-will. I’m not looking for a dime from you, but your dialogue here (which I am reporting openly, while disguising your identity until you give permission) is opening interesting avenues for learning and discovery. Let me challenge you – I expect I can help you find more jobs so your business can grow.

Mark Buckshon
President, Construction News and Report Group of Companies
1 Cleopatra Dr. Suite 202
Ottawa, Ontario K2G 3W9
888-432-3555 ext 224

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