D+AS MAGAZINE

FEATURES — How to Get Noticed

© 1999 Door & Access Systems
Publish Date: Winter 1999
Author: Betsy Ripplinger
Pages 4-5

How to Get Noticed
A garage door marketing expert shares a few advertising secrets.

By Betsy Ripplinger

Today, with the incredible technological revolution and the strong economy, consumers are being assaulted with advertising messages. Behind a bus? You see an ad. Logging on the Internet? You see lots of ads. Opening your mailbox? Look out. You often can’t even escape it on a trip to a public restroom.

All this is not necessarily bad. Consumers are now armed with a wealth of information and options that can result in an informed purchasing decision. But if you are on the selling side, it can be tough to make your message stand out in the crowd.

Rising to the Top

So how do you rise to the top of the advertiser’s heap?

First and foremost, get your name out there. And out there, and out there, and out there again. You may offer the best product, the best service, and the most competitive pricing, but unless the consumer knows your name and how to reach you, you will not get the return you deserve for running the best door dealership in your area.

“Oh, it’s on the tip of my tongue, but I just can’t think of the name of the company”? That common statement is like a knife through the heart of a business that has worked hard to develop a strong customer base. Even the most solid dealership in the area cannot rely solely on word of mouth. It is imperative to advertise your name as much as your budget will allow.

But, you’re in luck. There are now more avenues than ever before for marketing your business to potential customers. While some are big ticket options, there are still many opportunities to get your name known without breaking the bank. More than likely, you are already doing many of these things without even thinking much about it.

Mobile Billboards

For example, do you have your name prominently displayed on your trucks? Did you have it put on the back of your truck as well as the sides? By doing this, you have a mobile billboard that can be seen from both sides of the street and from behind as well. Assuming that your trucks are well maintained, this can be a very effective form of advertising, reaching a large audience on a daily basis with a relatively low investment.

Ambassadors

What about uniforms? When you send your installers out on a job, they can also serve as effective ambassadors to your company by wearing uniforms, caps, and jackets prominently displaying your company name and logo.

This helps not only on the job site, but off site as well. Think about lunch. People pulling into a restaurant parking lot will see your truck, and then see your employees sporting your company name on their attire. You’ve hit the audience twice without wasting a minute of your time.

Team Sponsor

Have you considered sponsoring a ball team? For a minimal investment, you can have your name around town and display your community commitment at the same time. First, you have up to 15 players wearing shirts with your name on them. Assuming they are kids, you also have team and individual pictures prominently displayed in their house and probably at grandma’s house, too. And more than likely, the community newspaper will carry the team standings in the paper. And if you are really living right, the team will win the championship and have their picture in the paper, wearing your shirts while screaming, “We’re Number One!”

The Essence

It is also important for customers to see not just your name, but what your company is about. For example, are you a leader in your industry? Do you belong to an association, keeping up-to-date on everything from safety issues to the latest legislative action? Can your business document your commitment to ethical and sound business practices? These are all important aspects for you and the customer, and you should be able to convey these attributes of your company.

The Internet

One option for getting these messages across is a company Web site. Today, more people are searching for a door dealer by using the Internet. Here you can express your desire to provide top quality product and service, and assure the customer that you are the best dealership in your area. In addition, you can show the support you have from manufacturers by seeking permission to link to their Web sites. And since this is still considered a relatively new technology, your presence on the Web will cast you as a progressive leader.

Newsletters

Another option for giving your company an identity is through a newsletter. By sending a regular schedule of newsletters to your mailing list, you can promote specials, provide important safety information, and even announce employment opportunities. This will give the customers an opportunity to really get to know what your dealership is all about and keep your name in front of them. While it is true that a very large percentage of direct mail pieces are pitched without even being looked at, a newsletter has a better chance of being reviewed because it is different from most direct mail that comes in envelopes. While a project such as a newsletter may have a higher per piece cost, your return may be much greater, which actually makes it more cost effective.



Of course there are many more options available for marketing your dealership in your area. Some of the more traditional methods include brochures, Yellow Pages advertising, and newspaper ads. But to stand out among the crowd, you need to think creatively. Be unique in your attempts to be known. You will soon find that thinking outside the box will pay big dividends to your door dealership.



Betsy Ripplinger is the owner of The Jenmark Group, a full-service marketing firm specializing in the door and operator industry. To contact The Jenmark Group, call toll-free at 1-877-Jenmark or at thejenmarkgroup@worldnet.att.net.