The Marketer’s Nightmare and The One Thing That Could Have Made It Dreamy

The Marketer’s Nightmare

I would like to tell you a wee story. I am calling it the Marketer’s Nightmare because I watched the marketing fail over and over in this one story — and, I think these failures are quite common. Not all at once usually but quite common. Through this real story, I think we can learn a few lessons.

What Actually Happened

I am staying with friends. These folks live in a stunning home in North Toronto which needs a lot of care. They have ‘guys’ for everything, including tree care.

The lady of the house came in just the other day with a pic of a tree that was being choked out by an invasive ivy. She wanted to call her tree guy. His name is Aaron. She likes Aaron. Aaron has a dog and they often bump into each other at a local off-leash dog park. They are almost friends. She is motivated to give him the business.

She half remembers the name of the company and does a google search but she can see no mention of Aaron. She laughs about the site having a blog. She really wants to call the right company. She remembers that she found Aaron originally through a job portal site. She goes to that site and then finds it hard to log into, cumbersome to use. She is frustrated. She then remembers that he gave her a business card at some point. She goes to her collection of business cards, a stack that is a good three inches high, and goes through each one. She ends up not finding his card and questioning whether she got a card in the first place. She gives that up and turns back to the website she thinks is his, calls, and asks for Aaron. No one there by that name. She is stymied until I google Aaron Toronto tree doctor and I come up with an entry praising Aaron for his great work, the name of the company (very close to the other company), and a phone number. She calls and Aaron answers. Phew. As she said, though: “Oh my god, a half an hour later….”

Oooookay, where did this go wrong? Well, where didn’t it? At many points, both Aaron *and his competitor* had an equal chance at this business. Let’s take a look at this

The Name of the Company

Current advice regarding naming your company and your website rests solely on the idea that google is looking for you and if you include google keywords in your company name and/or website name, you will be foudn by more folks. This is great advice. Two out of every three online searches start with google and the bulk of purchases are starting with online searches.

So if you are a tree doctor in Toronto, you might want a business that is called Tree Care Toronto or Toronto Tree Care. Cool, cool, cool. Solid marketing choice.But what happens when somebody is specifically looking for you? What happens when they are presented with six or seven companies with very similar names designed to maximize key word search on google? How do you stand out?

Well, you have to *also* incorporate something very personal into your company name or website title that will help find *you*. In this case, consider Aaron’s Tree Care in Toronto. This leaves most of the site title or company name chock full of keywords BUT also allows you to personally brand; so people can find you, specifically. If you are looking for business in a certain part of the city, try something like Aaron’s Tree Care North Toronto.

The Blog Moment

The customer hit the site of the competitor and started to laugh – and the site owner lost the chance to take that client. Why? The site had a blog. Now, why is this funny? Blogs are usually opportunities for experts to strut their stuff, show off their prowess, But, clearly a tree care blog is not going to attract this client. In fact, the idea even turned her off.So, what would?I would suggest that prominently displayed examples of the work accompanied by client recommendations might sell a tradsperson way more than a blog about how to prep your tree for winter (something this woman is never going to do because she hires people to do that for her).

The Job Portal Site

Signing up with a job portal site is a great idea for folks who want  to start building their clientelle — and leave the marketing etcetera to the experts. However, these sites need to be constantly monitored to ensure that you can be found on them. If a site change makes the site cumbersome and difficult….COMPLAIN. Make sure these portal sites are serving you, not only in attracting new business but, also, with return business.

The Business Card

As my friend went through her business cards, I was struck by how similar they all were. Find something that makes you special, that people remember, and incorporate that into a design of a card that people will not forget. Personal branding. A striking card is often remembered — did you give me a business card? Oh yes! I remember your picture on the front!

The Telephone Call

Again, this is a moment in which a company lost the chance to attract a new client. Why? They didn’t even ask if there was a way they could help! Whomever is answering your phone is your front line sales person. Make sure they are trained to ask a few questions and really try and win the business,

The Online Review

Online reviews are amazing. Make sure you have many in various sites and portals.

The Contact

Contact was finally made, the order placed, and an appointment set. But when the client hung up, she, rightly, complained about how hard the whole process had been.

The One Thing That Could Have Avoided All This

What? Well a simple newsletter. Ongoing contact, low key and offering services? That’s all this company needed to ensure that this client not only found him but, also, felt really good about the process. Pro tip? Ask us about Google My Business.

There are a lot of trees out there in the woods, you know? They are all beautiful and attractive in their own right. And they can all look alike. But we all know each is different and some are better than others. You should make sure they find yours.


Jacqui Burke is a marketer and theatrical director in Toronto, ON. She has been working in both fields for over thirty years (cause you can’t put on a show without getting the word out), is capaable of bringing old tecniques in line with the latest in tecnology and can offer. Her agency offers not only consulting but, also, top notch services including hosting, social media content and posting, video development, and website design. Got a question? Let her know!

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