Could you help me? Do you like a logic problem?
Hi, My name’s annabella. I have recently started a website called http://www.bedandfed.co.uk (a database of ‘kitchen supper, bed and (simple) breakfasts’ for £35pppn or less), but I have a problem: Currently I am trying to build up a database of at least 200 members all over the country before I feel I can approach any newspaper to do a story – HOWEVER, the website at the moment is aimed at I think mainly housewives who want to make SOME money only SOME of the time without having to run a full time business (For example the members in Perthshire are the right kind of people and have understood the concept completely) but I am finding it impossible to get through to these people -Additionally people in cities, not necessarily housewives but really anyone with a spare room could take advantage of the website and make a lot of money. I know people like this are out there but it is very very difficult to get to them and I have little or no budget for advertising unfortunately. It’s a bit of a conundrum – like a weird logic puzzle – bit of a chicken and egg situation, but I wondered if anyone might have any bright ideas?? please do let me know – firstname.lastname@example.org I’d be so grateful!
Ideally you want a minimum of one person working in each area, so I’d start contacting people you know. Look at some of the niche market travel sites like Alastair Sawday’s Special Places to stay – they don’t have lots of listings but what they do have is fab.
E.g. Let’s say you need someone in London, grab your address book and get on the phone. Put an incentive their way and also make everyone who signs up put their thinking caps on and raid their address books too.
Could you use a prize for anyone who successfully introduces someone to the scheme? Maybe something silly like glam washing up gloves or pretty biscuits?
Definitely the power is in your personal contacts rather than trying to go mass market advertising just yet. I do think it is very newsworthy though once you have a fair number of people signed up.
Hi there Caroline –
thank you for your message – have already done as you have suggested – have got about 100 members from this but desperately need another 100 or so to sign up for free.
I have looked into buying a mailing list as my proposed market (female, 40-60, ‘secure family’(acorn descriptions)) is, it seems quite difficult to reach…at the moment I am tarketing existing businesses (simply because their details are easier to find) but this is not great as they are not all that keen on the idea as they dont want to lower their prices.
Do you have any advice on buying mailing lists? and what normal prices are?
thanks so much again for your reply
Okay, so let’s think who else is talking to these sorts of people… If you were one of these ladies looking to make more money, what else would you be doing?
One thing which really jumps out is craft fairs. They may well already be making extra money making cards/cakes/knitting jumpers etc. Could you find a few craft providers and see if they’d be willing to put your name round their exhibitors or network?
I can give you lots of advice on buying in lists and making them fairly targeted so there isn’t much wastage but the people you are trying to reach are difficult as generally they’d opt out of receiving any sales data. We use http://www.marketingfile.com to buy in lists occasionally, but these are never as effective as a personal contact.
Hope that helps!
brilliant – that’s a great idea about the craft fairs – I have already looked into the women’s institute but it takes months for them to pass anything through their chairman….
….I think I will start looking into smaller organisations.
thanks again for your help
Are you aiming for people in touristy areas or is this also for city dwellers ? Also, I would have thought that anybody interested in taking a stranger into their house on a B and B basis is going to require the right infrastructure ie space , relevant level of comfort etc , esp for £35 a night, where you are competing with the likes of travel lodges.
My parents took in peole as B and B years ago , and it is not something to take up like trading online from the bedroom. They only took by recommendation. It is a disruptive and intrusive business by its very nature.
I think the idea is nice on paper but how are you going to vet the people who may wish to join up , and letting strangers into the family home these days is not so popular. Remember , you are aiming for people with a spare room and it’s not like an annexe where it is out of the way.
Perhaps pitch it at those who have a granny flat spare , but either way it will be tough going to find them especially without investment in a website
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thanks for your comments – the market it out there for sure – there are more b&b’s in the Uk than ever before, as is there more and more domestic travel, and with the likes of couchsurfing etc there is certainly a school of people who welcome others to their own homes. (I think society risks becoming terribly pessimistic!). We are aiming for flexible people who want to be hosts…just need to find them…
tourist areas and urban areas
I like your brand for starters,its a well conceived name.
People make some good points here, the most important one concerning the practical side of customers going into strangers houses. This needs some serious thought and will undoubtedly sit at the heart of your business model. You need to understand the B&B sector to devise a suitable model.
With regards marketing, I have spent many hours online over the years creating my ownb lists, rather than buying them in. I am not convninved about craft fairs, though it is certainly one route to explore. There are many other ideas, too plentiful to go into here. Also, you need to know exactly what you are proposing before marketing, in case you are about to change the business model.
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