It’s not self-evident whether advertising is worth your money. On the one hand, people are easily influenced. Show them a car, they want a car. Show them food, they want food. Advertising clearly works, but it’s hard to do because doing it right means:
- making the right message
- in the right medium, and
- presenting it at the right time
- to the right audience.
On the positive side, some people are naturals: they can sell anything to anyone. They may or may not be in advertising, per se, but they are persuasive. Find such people, not only for their skill but for their connections. Everywhere there is someone who seems to know everyone. Some of those people will incidentally recommend you at the right time and place just because they’re social and everywhere.
Conversely, especially when you start up, a lot of people will say they know people who can use your services, but then they’ll clam up when you actually ask them for an introduction. Such people are eager to seem helpful, but they’re often more eager to seem helpful than they are eager to actually be helpful. Their words are fit for writing on the sand and in the water, not on your life plans.
Regarding print advertising, most of it ends up right in the garbage as you might expect, but what’s worse is that it doesn’t even get near its intended target. You know that nice receptionist or secretary at the front desk? Well she or someone else in the office probably filters out unsolicited mail for her boss, so your super spiffy advertising, even if it could have persuaded your prospective client, isn’t even getting onto that person’s desk.
Walking into offices cold presents the same problem: you leave your advertising at the front desk, unless you randomly meet the boss. However, if you put a good foot forward or walk in at the right time you could make a big impression.
Social media is a great venue, but it requires you to make a more or less constant stream of material to get followers. It’s likely to put you in fairly easy and regular contact with people in certain industries, like real estate and design, though.
The gist of this is that you need to fish in a lot of ponds even if you only catch one in each.