While visiting our friend and neighbor a couple of doors away, I noticed her tiny aviary...a couple of bird feeders and a birdbath. It was the end of May, and the area was loaded with an array of colorful singers.
It looked like a nice little hobby and I have the perfect spot...the big tree near my front porch and rocking chairs. I decided to get a feeder and found there were so many decisions - what type of feeder, what kind of birds do you want, what type food, what type of stand or hanger?
I started with one bird feeder. It is tubular, uses thistle, and attracts smaller varieties like the pretty little yellow finches. Well, I waited for over a month. The feeder was still full and no birds were eating my thistle, even though I knew they were just a few houses away.
Did I say, "forget about it" and leave the birds to find other food? Nope I went out and bought another bird feeder, this time one that would attract larger birds. And, of course, this one required a different type of feed, mostly sunflower seeds.
Oh, and then I needed a container for the feed, and special hooks for the feeder, etc.
Set it all up and attracted...squirrels.
Should I have gotten the one that "flips" these rodents off? No, they need to eat, and they are great acrobats to watch, but they kept the birds away. So then I switched the two feeders, placing the small one closer to the tree and the large one that the squirrels liked farther out where they couldn't get to it.
Success! Within a few days we had birds. Goldfinches, wrens, cardinals and others that I have not tried to identify. In a matter of a day and a half the feeders went from full to half gone. Yep it was working.
It's just like advertising. You have to make decisions - what type of ad, what publication, font size, and location in the publication. The phone almost never rings with a first ad. It takes a time, it takes tweaking, it takes knowing who your audience is and where they are. You have to keep the feeder filled.
I created an ad for a specific type of buyer, like setting out thistle seed to bring goldfinches to my yard. I could have stopped advertising after the first month when nothing happened and said, "Ads just don't work." I could have removed the ad from that publication. Instead, I chose to place another ad in a different publication looking for a broader type buyer. Just like adding a large feeder with different type of seed to attract larger birds, and a copper birdbath that hangs from the tree.
The phone started ringing, and the birds flocked around. Now there is a dove that competes with the squirrels for the seeds that drop to the ground. More choices, broader advertising, and I have more diversity of "customers" in my little aviary.
There's even a black cat that sees it as his own private entertainment center – a bit more diversity than I aimed for, but you don't always get what you expect from advertising either!
What started as a little hobby is now a treasured part of my day. Quiet time in the morning, or when I have a long phone call, I can sit outside and enjoy the sounds and colors of the birds. Advertising with the right message, and repeating that message, keeps my customers coming back for more.
Why Advertising is for the birds in Baltimore.