Help! My Advertising Isnt Working

Advertising Not Working

You may have just started your business and have properly registered it with your accountant. You put your repair kit together, placed some ads in the paper, handed out some flyer’s around town and are now awaiting some phone calls. There is only one problem, the phone isn’t ringing. It seems your advertising isnt working and here are some factors that can cause your advertising to fail and how to fix them.

The publications distribution and type of clients

When you are advertising in any publication you need to ask yourself: “Do people refer to this publication when they need a computer technician?”

You may have placed an ad in an industry specific magazine such as one for the dental industry in the hopes of getting some lucrative work supporting their networks. However, if the manager of the dental practice came into work on Monday morning and the computers wont power up, would they reach for the dental magazine or the Yellow Pages / Local Services publication? Chances are they would go for the Yellow Pages or the publication with local services.

Your ad is too busy

There is a certain pattern that our eyes follow when reading something for our first time and there are huge amounts of information on this topic that marketers have been talking about for more than a hundred years.

The first thing you need to do is grab their attention in a world where most people don’t read, but scan. For example, if you were scanning a publication for a computer technician because your computer is having problems. What would catch your eyes more:

ABC PC Services

or

Computer Problems?

Most people don’t know what “ABC PC Services” is while scanning, but they do know what “Computer Problems?” means and it will catch their eyes because they are actually having computer problems.

In some publications, there is a huge amount of competition so how can you get noticed? By being different. It doesn’t have to be anything wild. It can be something as small as a little color or a different background. For example, if there are a bunch of ads with black text on a white background, make yours the opposite with white text and a black background. The result will be this black box that the readers gaze will be attracted to.

Your prices are too high or too low

Your prices are not just a choice on how much you need to make per job to survive, but a marketing choice as well. If you are not getting calls, the traditional way of thinking is that your prices are too high. This is usually correct in the goods industry, but not the case in the service industry.

If you are not getting any calls, chances are your prices are too low. Having low prices can actually turn people away as it can send the message of low quality workmanship.

Imagine you need a electrician and you opened up the local publication and found two ads.
One of the ads has an electrician charging $40 per hour and the other electrician is charging $120 per hour.
Since you haven’t used either of them before you will have to make a judgement on their workmanship based on their ad. So who is the better electrician? The $40 per hour one or the $120 per hour one?

I personally would use the $120 per hour electrician since he working on something as important as my houses electrical wiring. Even though I have never met either, I would be afraid of the $40 one doing a poor job which would later put me and my house at risk.

Of course, overcharging can also be an issue as you need to charge appropriately for your area. Some technicians here on Technibble will charge $120 per hour while others will charge $40 per hour even though they have similar levels of experience. The difference between the two is that the $120 technician lives in New York where the cost of living is high and the $40 technician lives in a small town in the country where the cost of living is low.

I personally recommend you look at all the other computer repair services near to gather an appropriate price range for your area and then price yourself in the higher end of it.

Do you encourage word of mouth?

Advertising in magazines, newspapers or on the Internet isn’t the ‘be all and end all’ of marketing. Once you have had a few call-outs you need to make it easy for your clients to refer you to their friends. Before you leave their house or business, always give them a few cards and say something like “Here is my card if you need me again or have any friends who could use my services”. By saying “or have any friends..” it makes them actively think about whether or not they actually do have any friends that need your services and will possibly give them one of your cards. If you like, you could also offer a discount or some sort to people who refer you to others.

Tweak it

Small changes can make the difference between advertising that totally fails and advertising that pulls in most of your customers. It can be something as little as changing your ads title from normal to bold. Keep changing wording, font weights or colors until you find something that works.



Bryce Whitty

About the Author

Bryce Whitty
More articles by me...
Bryce is an Australian computer technician and the founder of Technibble. He started his computer repair business when he was 17 years old and is still running it 9 years later. He is an avid traveller and spends at least a month of the year in another country.

Comments (24)

  • I am a Senior Industrial Computer System major at Illinois State University and also work as a network support specialist wotking for the university. Almost a year ago, i put my skills to use my starting my own computer repair business called Miggins Consulting and I would suggest you encourage more word of mouth. That is one of the MOST powerful forms of advertisement. The majority of my clients are Illinois State University staff and they know my work and they pass the word along among their colleagues that there is a brotha who knows about computer and even before I purchased business cards and had a website, I was getting great business. Also u have to interact more with potential clients and cannot just simply put out flyers and pass out business cards. Talk to some of these people if they have time and tell them a little about your business and make them feel like they can come to u ANYTIME they have a problem and let them know that you do care about their potential tech issue.

  • Spot on, once again!!! Why do folks charge lower prices? Work more for less? Time for business school 101!!! LoL!!!

  • Another thing:

    When you’re in any business, another form of successful advertisement is how you simply carry yourself. I use business cards that are of great quality and I have clients tell me that my business cards are really nice. You will be surprised how a good looking business card makes a potential clients feel comfortable coming to you. All you have to do is have that one really satisfied client and when they tell their friends, family or colleagues about your work, you will start to see some improvement in how many clients you start to get. Dont expect to get a ton of clients but the ones you start getting will be the ones that more than likely always come to you for help and will have no problem paying you for your services.

    Also, purchase the Computer Business Kit from Technibble. I PROMISE you this kit is so awesome. Why? You will look like the professional because they see that you have taking time to cover youself on a legal level and this kit outlines everything to the client about the problems technicians encounter when fixing computer. It will be the best 50 bucks u EVER invested in your business.

  • “Why do folks charge lower prices? Work more for less?”

    It could be a number of things. I work with some great young technician and some of these guys come from small towns where they’re THE TECH GUY and sometimes they charge low because they are used to it and its a possibility that they dont do this type of work as often as you, so sometimes but not always, they will charge low prices and do more work on because they dont do this on a regular basis. Thats just from what I have seen.

  • Larry Kendall says:

    Once again great advice. Here is a thought, what about a small durable sticker with your company name, logo and phone number, that you could have them place on their computer. You could say, “so you can easily contact me or if a friend needs some help, you won’t have far to search.” If they like you, they put it on their PC.

  • Majestic says:

    Bryce,

    I couldn’t help but wonder if the caption “Computer Problems?” came from my ad on the Technibble forums. I’ve posted my classified ad in the past here to help other techs get an understanding of effective language in advertising. Anyway, if it is, I take it as a compliment :)

    Majestic

  • Another way to advertise and to look professional is to have a decal of some sort on your car with your Business name and contact info. You’re literally selling yourself and eventually, I would suggest getting a uniform. My colors are beige pants and a black polo with my company logo on it along with a ID badge and on the back window of my car is my business name and contact info.

  • Jeff Keihl says:

    I spent a few years advising small businesses in the U.S. and saw firsthand how difficult it was for small businesses to find the right local tech help so the problem cuts both ways. If a business was lucky, they would get tech help referrals from friends or other business owners but otherwise they had to look in the phone book or the Internet with mixed results.

    I am pro small business and have a background in tech so I decided to create a new meeting-place – TechShortcut.com – where small businesses can learn and find local tech service providers to ideally form long-term relationships.

    TechShortcut.com is new and still a work in process but it exists to serve you (technicians) and small businesses. Any feedback is appreciated. We plan to start getting the word out to small businesses soon.

    Business profiles for tech service businesses are free. You can never have too much exposure. http://www.TechShortcut.com/pros/

  • zipzapzoom says:

    I also recommend joining a professional network such like a local Rotary or LeTip or hundreds of other like organizations. Some charge a monthly membership fee, but this is almost nothing compared to the customer exchange from business to business this provides. For example, if someone in the organization owns a construction company, he might mention your company name to a computer reliant client while building their office.

  • joe says:

    bily,

    the site really looks good

    it seems like your prices might be almost too cheap!

    I would think you could raise most of those by at least $20 or so…unless competition is really tough in the area.

  • Larry Kendall says:

    Uh…Joe…I think those are in British pounds not United State dollars.

  • joe says:

    ohh ok I think your right lol

    sorry didn’t see that

  • bily says:

    thanx for comment guys. so can you confirm i am doing everthing right? or am i missin anything anywhere? thanx for the reply in advance.

  • The best thing you can do to gain more clients (whether you are just starting out, or an old pro) is walk around your local businesses and introduce yourself to the owners.

    Something like, “Hi, my name is Brad Chapple. I’m a local Fort Collins computer consultant. You probably don’t have a need for someone like me right now, but I just wanted to introduce myself and give you my card.”

    You can bet on one of three things happening:

    1. The owner takes your card, says “Uhhh, yeah… thanks,” turns and walks away.

    2. They ask you more questions, such as how long you’ve been in business… ask what type of stuff do you, are Macs better than PCs, blah, blah, etc.

    3. They say, “Wow! I can’t believe you just walked in here. My computer crashed this morning and I’ve been trying to fix it myself but it’s just not working. Got some time right now?”

    Unfortunately, for many techs, face-to-face stuff like this is difficult. But, if it was easy, more people would do it and it wouldn’t be so darn effective!

  • alex says:

    Bily,

    Site looks ok.

    1 major thing though. you are currently breaking the law with your website as it doesnt show any company address. well none that i can find by looking through it.

    Companies Act 2006 and Business Names Act 1985

    Every UK company should list on its website:

    its name;
    its company registration number;
    its place of registration; and
    its registered office address.
    Sole traders and partnerships who carry on a business in the UK under a business name (very roughly, not the names of the trader/partners) must also make certain website disclosures:

    in the case of a sole trader, the individual’s name;
    in the case of a partnership, the name of each member of the partnership;
    in either case, in relation to each person named, an address in the UK at which service of any document relating in any way to the business will be effective.

  • bily says:

    i didnt know that alex i will do that first thing on monday. thanx for the info!

  • alex says:

    bily,

    personally have never known anyone to ever be charged over it, but easier to comply. Plus gives clients that little bit more confidence in your company when they can see your not hiding behind an anonimous internet website.

  • bily says:

    i think u right and iv don it alex. this was the first usefull advice i was not doing before some one told me. thanx again

  • NickM says:

    Excellent advice…

    Our company is still trying to work out the best advertising solutions in our local area, and its no small task for sure! Local phone book/yellow pages seems to be a fairly consistent method though.

  • Melcom B Smit says:

    Thank you for the information! I love your articles and you will make a good editor for a IT magazine! Thank’s again!

  • Dana Van Roekel says:

    Anybody have any suggestions on figuring out what the best rates to charge are if you’re THE ONLY computer service in the area? I can’t exactly compare my prices to those of my competition?

  • Thanks again this site is full of great ideas.