Build it and they WON ‘T come.

Not to your website, your store, your blog, and not even to your event. No matter how nice your brick & mortar store looks, how beautiful the graphics on your website, or what a great event you have planned, people won’t come just because you build, pay for or plan any of the above. It is STILL your job to bring them in the door. Recently a client of mine complained to me about an event he organized and sent out eblasts for… With 3 weeks to go, and without the response he wanted, frustrated, he considered cancelling it. My question:

What other PR have you done? Local publications emailed? Phone Calls to the Evangelical Networkers in your circle? Ads in the local publications or groups where your invitees would see it?  Good old fashioned phone calls?

Not your cup of tea? Then how about hiring a PR firm that knows how to get butts in the seats?

Are you waiting for your customers?

Because I work with small business owners I see this sort of thing often: someone has a great idea for a business, spends their last dollar and every bit of energy creating the perfect model, product or idea, and they leave no resources to market their creation. Most of the time they never even planned on marketing it. They sit in their beautiful storefront thinking people will walk in just because they opened their doors. Too often I’ve seen them close those same doors in a matter of months with no idea why it didn’t work.

It doesn’t work if you don’t have a plan; and I mean a Marketing Plan, not a Business Plan. How much will you spend per month and how is that money being spent? What print publications, if any, work in your market for your product? When and what pages of that publication will your target customers be reading? When do they listen to the radio? What TV channels do they watch and WHEN are they watching? Even more basic that that, who ARE your target customers? After your website’s built, HOW do you plan on bringing them there? Do you have a blog? Is pay per click advertising right for you? Are you using Social Media and do you know how to use it effectively?

If you haven’t asked yourself these questions you should start, and if you have and don’t know the answers, find someone who can help you figure it out. There are loads of smart marketing or advertising companies who can help you come up with a strategy that ensures you’re not wasting money. If you don’t know where to start find someone you trust who does as soon as possible so you’re not sitting there waiting for someone to notice your great ideas.

This post was originally written in 2010 and updated for today.  It is still true: you NEED a plan.