Are you reading up on the latest innovations for marketing on the Internet and elsewhere?
There is a lot of information to sift these days and the latest frenzy is centered around Social Marketing. I read a very good book recently called The New Rules of Marketing and PR. The author covers a broad range of new methods for marketing – you will be amazed at what is developing and also a bit overwhelmed at what is out there to be learned.
As I delve deeply into the Internet and all its bells and whistles one thing strikes me on a regular basis. Most people I talk to know about one facet, maybe two and usually are only vaguely familiar at best when it comes to Internet marketing beyond just having a website.
I’m having great success in driving traffic to my blog using a variety of synchronized efforts with Social Media – Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. So what now? What if I’m selling a big product for which people can’t just click an “order now” button on a website and complete the sale? Ah ha, here we arrive at a typical advertising dilemma and I have a solution to propose to you.
Consider how often you’ve scratched your head in wonder puzzling over your marketing plans for the coming day, week, month, year (pick your time frame) wishing you had just the right formula and knew exactly where to go to get results. Everyone confronts this dilemma and it has gotten even more complicated with a whole new set of choices brought to us by the Internet.
The key to unlocking the puzzle is to stop looking at each medium as a stand alone vehicle for your marketing efforts. Any of them taken alone might not result in a single sale for you. Then again any of them might bring some flicker of activity or present a range in varying levels of return on investment. Some of you are probably well on your way to learning this after spending big money on a website, event sponsorship, TV campaign, print schedule or whatever.
In a previous post (see below – How2MarketingAdvice – link below) I talked about niche marketing and I counseled to prepare for it to be a process that takes time. In a down economy panic lurks behind every door and waiting for results becomes even more difficult to manage. The tendency is to leap at something, anything, as long as it’s new and different and the result is often another disappointment for the same basic reason as anything you’ve ever tried – it received only a glancing blow of attention and no real opportunity to work.
Marketing is truly like weaving a fine tapestry, each one unique. When you’ve mastered the weaving techniques it is priceless in terms of return on investment. Marketing should be an intricate mix of mediums that reach the targeted audience in as much as your budget will allow. I like to see the efforts synchronized – each of them pointing to the others and in so doing enhancing the value and potential ROI on every one of them.
What good is a website if you haven’t spent time determining whether you can convert the leads to sales or you have no traffic there (this can become a business in itself, marketing the website to get traffic)? What good is a printed ad if it doesn’t drive the reader to some call to action or build your image on a consistent basis? What good is a few TV spots that sell only one facet of your business if you haven’t girded up the rest of your efforts with ways to turn the phone calls into sales? Get the picture?
Let’s unpack this a little more. Assume you’re selling a very high end widget that calls for a special kind of prospect. You take out an ad and sit back and wait for the phone to ring off the hook with leads. You get a few calls and then all you hear are the crickets chirping and your first reaction is to say print advertising doesn’t work, right? So you hop on over to TV ads – same thing happens, crickets, crickets, crickets. Okay, maybe I need to focus on the Internet you say, so you call up a company and set the wheels in motion for a really cool website. Oh no, not more crickets? Sadly, yes, your office has become a virtual breeding ground for them now that we also have a difficult economy. The medium is only one facet of the equation – there is the message you ran, the audience you took it to and the response of the person who answered the phone at your business if you were fortunate to get that far.
The next common reaction is to just stop “wasting money” on advertising. The new strategy now is to just wait until things pick up. So lets follow this line of thinking a little further. When things pick up how are your potential customers going to find you? Back to the original strategy of snatch and grab looking for what makes the phone ring. Then there is the whole new worry of whether the phone is ringing enough?
How about a new approach? Some have caught on to this, you know who they are but may not realize it. These are the companies you see advertising in all mediums all the time to some degree or other. They have websites, they have print ads, they have tv commercials, they’re hosting events and they’re on the radio. A few will have two-four of these options in play if not all of them. So if none of these things work how in the world are they not spending themselves out of business?
The answer is actually very simple. They understand that marketing is necessary and they’ve learned to weave. Some do it better than others but they all do it. The ads point to websites, the websites point to salespeople, the salespeople hand out printed materials and the circle is formed. Most people don’t buy immediately and that’s especially true now. It is a process. Think of your own habits, or better yet think of your family’s habits for a better insight into how varied the habits can be. No two people approach a purchase the same way. No two will respond to your marketing the same way either and they may not respond to any one particular medium alone. The tapestry approach reaches more people and it will reach some of the same people but from a variety of ways.
The affect of this approach is all positive. You seem larger, more successful and much more credible than those who don’t advertise often or at all. Competitors will marvel that you must be doing big business to pay for all this exposure (it’s always great when the competition thinks you’re wildly successful 🙂 ) since they have stopped advertising due to the cricket syndrome cited earlier.
The best part about this approach is you will generate business as long as you continue to fine tune the subtleties in the approach. The results get better and better as you refine your message and the synchronizing of the advertising mediums you select with the tools and resources inside your business. The same way any artist improves the more they practice their trade, your marketing will become more and more productive as you keep refining it.
I know there are some of you out there saying “I’m doing just great getting back to basics, going to networking events, spending nothing or almost nothing”. Sure you can get some business using the “all free, all-the-time” method as long as your time has no value. This is the point most people miss because it is an unmeasured loss and successful business owners are in the habit of going without a paycheck to keep their businesses afloat in tough times. An admirable and sometimes needed strategy. Just make sure you haven’t lost more than you’re saving by using this method. Think this through when it’s you’re employees’ time being used as well. Is it the best value for your business to take this approach?
Now all you need to do is learn to weave. Explore the options, learn about marketing, take some real time and effort planning your marketing, and get lots of help. Find good counsel in your media partners. Yes, we’re sales representatives, we’re also experts in the media we represent. Just the same as you and/or your sales staff are trained counselors in the products and services you offer.