If you follow me on Twitter you know I’ve been bitching A LOT about AT&T lately. I am a small business owner which means, I have a small operating budget and fancy expensive phone service, just ain’t in the cards. I’ve been on the prowl for new, less expensive phone service with no avail. I’ve heard Google Talk is the way to go, but apparently it’s limited, and I need a solution now.
On a recent 12 hour road trip to Arkansas I occupied my time eagerly flipping through the September Issue of Inc. Magazine. (I have to admit, I’m an Inc. Mag virgin and now I’m hooked). Not only did I find myself immersed in the articles….. I ran across a double-truck (2-page spread for those of you non-advertising language speaking folks) ad for Grasshopper: a virtual phone service specifically designed for Entrepreneurs. It immediately hit me that this just might be what I was looking for and I dog-eared the page to go look it up later. Just like that… Grasshopper had made a connection with me.
Now, I’m not trying to sell phone service here, but this brings me to my topic…. Obviously I had never heard of Grasshopper before. Had I not been reading that September Issue of Inc. Magazine it may have been months before I ever found out about Grasshopper Virtual phone service. That ad answered a question, filled a need and look… now it’s being transformed into word of mouth marketing through this blog.
Word of Mouth Referrals are great, but you can’t discredit where the buzz began: with your ad. Yes, I’m a true believer in word-of-mouth marketing and referral business, BUT I ask, where did your first customer come from? Or maybe even your 10th or 100th?
I like to compare advertising your business to growing a garden. There are two steps. First Step: planting the initial seeds and then relying on nature to do it’s thang. With a garden you want Tulips, you plant Tulip buds and you get tulips. Then comes pollination: the a necessary step in the reproduction of flowering plants that God invented bugs and wind for…. to multiply those plants.
In Business, you want customers, you place advertisements and you get customers. Then, all of your new happy customers tell their friends and thus produce more new customers for you.. etc.
Seeds = Advertisements
Pollination = Word of Mouth
Have one without the other and all you get is a very sparse garden and a below average marketing campaign.
FYI: every hyperlink I created in this post I linked to http://www.grasshopper.com/inc. That’s me giving credit where credit is due: The ad that ran in Inc. Magazine. 🙂