In the years of advertising our products since 1998, the following, in no particular order, have been the most successful at generating leads: flyers handed out at the station or posted, word of mouth, signs, web searches, magazine ads, others.

These figures are very useful, but don’t tell the whole story. Leads from regional and local magazines have gone down to virtually nil, as print media has waned and been overtaken by digital advertising on devices, pages and social media of all kinds.

Word of mouth – the best kind of adverting there is – can’t really be tracked efficiently. Although we have systems in place to encourage and track it through an official introduction and discount scheme, we actually get far more random recommendations than official ones, as people are happy to recommend our services – and it doesn’t get much better than that.

Perhaps ‘other’ is our greatest success. People are so well aware of us that when they call and we ask how they know about us, they don’t know. They can’t remember where they first heard about us or how they know us – but they do. I don’t know where I know Coke from, but all the impressions they have put out have made a very big one on me.

Furthermore, just because you don’t get any direct hits from a mailing shot, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t make an impression. We’ve had people take a flyer, leave it on their fridge, and then call us three years later.

Better still, a new member of staff joined our team two years ago. On her first day of work, she brought with her something she’d kept in her drawer since 1999: the first, and probably the worst, flyer we ever made. She held onto it for eighteen years. Here it is in all its horrible glory. My advice is not to make flyers like this, but definitely make flyers.