Are you doing the “spray and pray” method of marketing? Is your business suffering from the lack of a marketing strategy? The seven points below will have you on the road to getting your ideal clients and having a marketing plan that works for you.
Do you “Spray and Pray?” You know what I mean. Maybe you pump out an email blast to get people to sign up for your program, then create a flyer you are leaving around town, then go to a few networking events to generate some buzz….then you pray like heck that someone shows up!
What’s the problem with that? Well, for starters, if you are scattered and jumping all around with different marketing pieces, you have no idea what did or didn’t work. Remember the old days when Chrysler rolled out about three new cars a year? The whole town came out, there was a parade and it was a BIG DEAL!
Fast forward about 50 years and now we are slammed with information, new ideas/products, and constant stimulation. It’s been said that we are blasted with over three thousand marketing messages a day. So while six years ago having the newsletter you sent out was a great idea and got lots of visibility, there is now so much competing for the ‘brain space’ of your market, that very often just doing a single mailing or marketing piece will fall on deaf ears.
You may have heard it said that it takes seven to nine exposures before someone says, “Hey…maybe I’ll give him a call.” This means that one email blast is not a marketing campaign!
The antidote to “Spray and Pray” is the Plan and Persevere Method:
1. Be in it for the long haul. Marketing isn’t a one shot deal. All your content and effort is tied into everything else and builds on the relationships you are potentially creating with your market. Come up with a marketing plan so each piece you do is connected to the rest of it. This is the biggest mistake I see my clients make. At the beginning, you need to strategize and then follow the plan. If you give up after one or two marketing activities, you could be stopping just before you are going to strike gold. A good marketing plan should be attached to your calendar so you know what activities you are doing each month to attract your ideal clients and retain existing ones.
2. Don’t be invisible. In order to capture the attention of prospective clients, you need to get creative. Both direct and indirect marketing methods need to be included. Most people will rely on only one or the other. A common mistake I see is that business owners are often afraid of sending too many emails, so will pull back and only come up with a brochure and business card.
Let me say this up front….you will get some people cranky if you step up your marketing efforts. There will be unsubscribe requests to your list, but that’s okay. Good marketing also serves to repel the folks who aren’t a good fit for you, so if you are fearful of offending people, just take some deep breaths and know that you are here to serve a particular market…and the more you contact that market, the more you can support them.
Next, you will want to come up with a plan to include both direct and indirect marketing. For example….you will want to include an online ezine, blogs, and be submitting articles to the online portals, as well as mailing post cards, print newsletters, or other advertising. Those are the indirect methods. Meaning, they can’t touch you, or experience you live. Good ideas for direct methods are where people get to see or hear you, so more trust is established. It’s just a heck of a lot easier to have people believe you when they can hear your voice or see you live.
You can do either speaking engagements, teleseminars, or use video/audio in your email or website to accomplish this. Coaching challenge: You will want to pick three or four marketing ‘channels’ which your market will respond to. (You may be able to do some research to discover which ones your market prefers!)
3. Create a marketing calendar. This way you won’t be tempted to give up. Grab your planner, Outlook, or your Post-It notes -whatever you use to organize your time. Make a day each month that you will dedicate to marketing. There is the creation of your project and the implementation as well. For example, if you are going to have a newsletter sent on the 10th of the month, you may need to get your self sitting down and creating it by the 3rd of the month! And you know what I’m going to tell you, my busy business owners……….. OUTSOURCE! Don’t make the mistake of thinking you have to do it all yourself because truthfully, you can’t and you won’t! Get yourself a great assistant (either live or virtual) and have most of this stuff done for you. As Nike would say – Just Do It. You’ll thank me later.
4. Systematize or suffer. You may have heard talk about how you need to have systems in place. Well you don’t really, unless that is, you want to have insanity in its place. You get to choose! What I mean by systems is that with the newsletter example, you have a template already created, you have the format down, you have the VA or other administrative assistant primed and ready, so all you need to do is create content. No reason to reinvent the wheel. For each marketing piece you do, create a file detailing all the steps you went through. Yes, there will be more work up front, but in the end, you can hand the file off while you are sitting on a beach somewhere. That’s my hope for you!
5. Don’t guess, test! That’s the biggie in marketing. How do you know what works if you don’t test? You may need to have a “How did you find us” question, or some other way to capture that info. Test your marketing pieces on your target market, and not your husband, wife, friend or neighbor! If they aren’t your market, their opinions don’t count. There are way too many ‘dream stealers’ out there who don’t get what you do and can’t really be a good resource for your questions. Find a group of your target market and ask them if you can run by some marketing pieces with them. You can incent them with freebie stuff, but very often people LOVE to help and give their opinion. Just gotta ask.
Do research to determine what your market responds to. How do you find these???? Check out discussion boards by doing a Google search for your content ideas, or send your clients a survey. I’ll give you an example of why testing is important…One of my clients recently wanted to conduct teleseminars for her market to highlight some classes she wants to offer. She was getting advice from a speaker friend of hers in how to do this, but when we poked around a bit, we discovered that while the speakers target market would participate in teleseminars, this may be a really foreign concept to my client’s market. It would have flopped for her, so we got from her market how they best would like to receive the information.
6. Be Real or Be Broke. So many people try to ‘be professional’ that they end up being bland. It’s your quirks that make you unique! Be creative…don’t be afraid to show them who you are, and then people will know you are real and when you are real, you are approachable. Folks want real. They want to know that you have warts and wacky kids and that sometimes you may not want to get out of bed in the morning. Show them who you are and you’ll have a much better connection….and a better chance at serving them with your business.
7. Leverage the Power of Social Networking. There is a whole new game in town, and it is making your marketing much, much easier. Through the Social Media platforms of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and others, you are now able to establish yourself as an expert and reach people you would never have before. If you are not on these sites, make the commitment to do so. It’s not just the college kids who are connecting here. You can just go onto Facebook and search for your market and you’ll find thousand of entries. So the first thing you’ll want to do is to get yourself out there in the virtual world, exposing your market to your expertise.
Here’s the deal – marketing isn’t really that hard, but it takes a plan and practice to get it right. If you want to be successful, you will want to begin to think like a marketer! I’m here if you need some support.