How To Make An Impact With No Advertising

This article was originally posted on WonderBranding on August 8, 2008.

8-8-08In the summer heat of Arizona, you live and die by the almighty swimming pool. The blazing desert sun delivers a whallop to outdoor pool equipment systems, so in the greater metropolitan Phoenix Valley (population: a smidge under 4 million), the care and maintenance of pools is a good business to be in.

There’s heavy competition, though – today, literally hundreds of pool care companies (many of them one-man operations) exist in the valley. Anyone with a basic knowledge of water chemistry and pool equipment can make a decent living.

So, how can a company set itself apart? By choosing One Little Thing that will make a big impact. Jason at Evolution Pools realized that early on, and his business is growing by leaps and bounds.

When you call Evolution Pool Repair, you’re assured of talking directly with Jason, the owner. Leave a message, and he’ll call you back within two hours. He sets the appointment, gives you a window of time for the service call, and then calls again to confirm the night before the appointment.

That’s nice and all, but then he unloads his One Little Thing: he narrows the window of time in which he’ll make his appearance.

For example, the first time we hired Jason, he told me he’d be by sometime between 9a.m. and noon. The night before the appointment, he called and informed me it would actually be between 10:30 and noon. And he delivered. He always does.

His One Little Thing is to operate at maximum efficiency; he has developed his own personal system of time tracking so that he can narrow down the appointment time and beat the negative stereotype of “the repair guy who never shows up when he says he will.”

With that One Little Thing, Jason gave me 90 minutes of my life back and strengthened the trust I have in his services. Having originally found him through our home warranty company, we now call him for all of our pool needs, whether the equipment is covered under warranty or not. Jason has made hundreds (or is that thousands?) of dollars from our account alone, simply because of his consideration for the customer’s time. I’ve also referred a number of neighbors.

Jason has made his business boom, without spending a penny on advertising.

You don’t need circus tents and balloons to make an impact on a customer, and if you’re a one-man operation, you can’t always overachieve the way One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning does. But you can still make your mark by choosing One Little Thing, refining your system, and delivering on your promise every time.

What One Little Thing can you do that will have customers telling your story to everyone they know?

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5 Responses to “How To Make An Impact With No Advertising”

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  1. Van@Luxuria says:

    Great article. I try to give that little extra also. All customers get a thank you card and gift voucher with their purchase. Does that count?

  2. That’s a good start, Van. What I would recommend is to think about which One Little Thing you could do that would really surprise your customer? Is there something in your industry that has a bad stigma, where you could turn it on its head and really wow people?

  3. Van@Luxuria says:

    @Michele-thank you so much for your comments. Now you’ve really got me thinking!

  4. Elijah May says:


    You’re consistently brilliant, thank you. We’re going to have a serious conversation about this at our agency later today.

    Also – thanks to Tom for tweeting this :-)

  5. It’s amazing how many times companies forget that what customers are looking for is satisfaction and our obligation is to fulfill the needs they have.
    This article is a great reminder that it doesn’t matter how much you spend on advertising, if you are not effective on what you do, you won’t see positive results in your company.

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