Where’s the cycle (or bicycle) in this picture?
Ha, ha. There isn’t one. It’s out of shot. And for a reason.
What I want you to do is see if you can work out what is ‘wrong’ or odd about this picture?
Can you spot it yet?
The ducks are a bit of a red herring. Yet they do point towards the answer.
Take a look at the river. And, to the right, is a combined cycle path and footpath.
Look where the water is. It has flooded the path. There is no way to get through, whether on two wheels or two feet.
Just behind where this photo was taken is a bridge – which I could have used to cross to the other side of the river and walk into the city that way.
But I didn’t do that.
Because the smart people at a local bike shop did a simple piece of marketing. Old school marketing.
Just before you reach this flooded section of footpath there is a set of steps to the right, which lead up to a road at right angles to the river.
Just by the set of steps is an A-board, like the ones you see outside smaller shops in every High Street.
The sign on the board simply said (a) turn right for our cafe and (b) told you how many steps it was to the cafe. A cafe which was clearly part of a cycle shop.
So in an instant, any passer by would know there was a cafe up the steps and along the road… and that it was not too far away.
The casual passer by – who might not have been thinking of refreshments – now has a choice. Do they check out this cafe… or keep heading into town?
On this particular day, that A-board had a much more captive audience. Pedestrians (and cyclists) were forced to stop and consider one of two detours. One back and over the bridge. The other in the direction of the advertised cafe.
I was curious. I headed up the steps, along the road and sure enough there was the large cycle shop, a smart conversion of an old industrial building.
Inside… lots of bicycles and accessories to the left… and the cafe to the right.
And the place was better than expected. Good service, decent coffee, nice cake. Pleasant enough surroundings. Family friendly yet not full of screaming kids. And plenty of space to browse.
It’s a place I’ll probably return to another day – even if it’s just to browse the beautiful modern bikes.
But you get the point for business here.
If the cycle shop had not put out that board (which it does daily) I would not have known it existed. It’s not in the centre of the city. It’s not on a main road. It’s tucked away in a light industrial site where you just would not imagine you would find a cafe like this.
Your business might be very good. You may have good products or great services, or both.
But it means little if you’re not visible to passers-by and prospects.
How will you ensure you get your message out there?