Apart from the mysteries of financial management, one of the most misunderstood components of running a business is the need to “do some marketing”. It usually ends up being the knee-jerk reaction to suddenly finding you’ve run out of work and need more customers.
Instead of randomly throwing money around or letting yourself off the hook by telling yourself that marketing doesn’t work or that you don’t like marketing, let’s deal with some of the myths and show you some better alternatives.
1. I don’t need to do any marketing – I get my customers by word of mouth.
If you are doing a decent job of things in your business you’ll be getting Word of Mouth referrals. Which is nice but it’s a passive strategy and usually means you have to wait for the referral. You’re not actively in control of this; it’s unpredictable as to when the referrals will come in.
Referrals should be one of the marketing strategies you use, but not the only one. A more active referral strategy is to recognise and appreciate the referrers – people like to be thanked – and be consistent in asking for referrals from all of your customers. Give them incentives if necessary.
You could also set up some good industry-related strategic alliance partners who will send you a flood of new customers. Return the favour.
2. I need a new website – that’ll bring me all the customers I need.
A common myth is that websites are the Magic Pill of Marketing – if you have one, people will flock to it. Which is not quite true.
A website is like a billboard, no one notices it until they happen to be driving by. So your mission is to drive traffic to your website from your social media, your offline marketing and your email marketing. Make it the go-to place for your ideal prospective customers; give them irresistibly amazing content in exchange for their contact details.
You’ve just started a relationship with them. Value it and respect it to keep them coming back for more.
3. Everybody is our potential customer – we don’t discriminate
If you’re feeling exhausted and overwhelmed it could be that you are trying to be all things to all people. That’s a hard way to run a business – hard to systemise, hard and expensive to market, hard to stand out in a crowd.
The easier way is to choose the kinds of customers you want and tailor your business to suit them. That way you can be recognised as the Go-TO Business for whatever your specialty is. It also means less expense in carrying a variety of stock or more staff than you can afford.
4. Having the cheapest price is our best marketing strategy
If you can win a customer on price, you can lose them on price. Nobody wins price wars.
If all things were equal and you and your competitors had exactly the same price what would make the customer decide in your favour? THAT is your marketing strategy.
5. We’re too busy to worry about marketing
At some point in every business the work slows down or dries up. There’s an ebb and flow. You might lose a contract or a major customer moves away – then you’ll need some good solid marketing strategies to replace them. Never take customers for granted.
6. SEO will do the trick
SEO is great but it’s not THE ONE answer. It’s not a quick fix. Results are sometimes slow. The job of SEO is to make you visible, then it’s your job to convert that visitor into a customer or at least a prospective customer before they flick away. They may only give you their attention for 3 seconds!
Try combining SEO with irresistible offers on your website. Get people to interact with you, offer them something enticing like a lead magnet to get the relationship started.
7. I can’t do any promoting until everything is all set up
Nothing will ever be perfect. But you can attract customers before your website is finished, before your brochures are printed and before you even have business cards.
Business has been done for a very long time without all these trappings. Get out there, use the phone, collect their details and get in touch. Having genuine conversations with people works a treat!
8. My products are great, they sell themselves
They may be the best thing since sliced bread but this is the lazy person’s excuse for not marketing.
Imagine what you COULD sell if you applied a little bit of strategic marketing to it. Push yourself to get creative and set targets. You can probably do way better than you think.
9. I’ll copy what the opposition is doing – it seems to work for them
How do you know if their marketing is working? They might not even know! The big companies spend squillions on marketing… your budget might be a bit more modest.
Things are not always what they seem. There’s a misconception that someone is making a killing because they are doing a lot of marketing.
Keep an eye on your competition but don’t copy them. Be realistic about what you can spend on marketing and expect a return on investment. Make sure you keep track of everything, from leads generated to conversion rate to the average dollar spend.
10. Our customers know where to find us – we shouldn’t have to keep telling them
This is a bit like telling your partner that you love them – only once – and expecting it to last forever. Doesn’t work that way. Did you know that 68% of customers leave you because they think you don’t care about them anymore?
Look after them, show you appreciate them and see if you can keep your customers for life. It will save you a fortune on lead generation to get more customers. This is “internal” marketing – looking after the ones you have.
11. You can’t contact your customers too often, it annoys them
If you only ever contact your customers to say “buy my stuff” then yes, you’ll probably annoy them.
But if you provide useful information to them – the kind of info they really want to get then your emails and blogs, social media posts and mail-outs will be welcome. The rule is to never be boring, always be helpful and, by digging deep into their wants and needs and the problems that keep them awake at night, you’ll understand what they want/need and be able to give it to them.
12. Marketing is complicated – you always need to come up with new ideas
Have you ever had a marketing strategy that worked but you got bored with it so you canned it? Often business owners get bored with a strategy long before the prospects do.
While new ideas are exciting and fun to play with, if you keep chopping and changing your strategies without actually measuring the results you could be on a winner but not even know it.
Try a strategy for 90 days and measure everything – then you’ll know if it works or not. Go deep – get all the juice out of it.
13. If you just keep learning new stuff from the net, something will work
You might have fallen into the BST trap (Bright Shiny Tactics). If you are constantly trawling the net for new and different marketing strategies, looking for that perfect one that will make you a fortune, therefore you’ve fallen for the biggest myth of all.
There is NO “One-Thing-Magic-Bullet” that will do everything you want. – Marketing is a series of well-planned strategic actions taken consistently over a period of time and the results measured to see what worked and what didn’t.
Now if you’re a highly creative type who feels like the joy just got sucked out of it, don’t fret, there is room for your brilliance.
A good marketing team is made up of two types of people: creative people and “implementers” – Implementers are those wonderful people who make your ideas happen.
If you can’t seem to get your amazing ideas off the ground, get rid of the myths, find a good implementer and go get some clients.
If you need a hand to set up a marketing calendar and a measuring system we can help.