This is for startups, sole traders, small businesses, one-person shows, anyone who works really hard for their money.
I’ll say it again Your Website, Social Platform Business Page, Online Ads and Campaigns Might Be A Big Waste of Time and Money – As a marketing business consultant trying to sell web design, social marketing etc I shouldn’t be writing this, but as a small business owner and entrepreneur with my own share of success and failure, I’m going to be honest with you because we all work way too hard for our money for any BS. Great news though – the new year is a coming, and a chance to re-engineer or start afresh.
Oh, by the way regarding the failures
I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed. – Michael Jordan (Famous Person – Google Him)
The Infectious Disease and Bad News First
I’ve noticed that the marketing community and services offered by many agencies are infected by a nasty disease right now and that disease is making thousands of start-ups, sole traders and small businesses sick, draining their profits, and causing them to lose faith and momentum. People are being unconsciously tricked into spending money in the wrong ways or too soon on the wrong things.
Search engine ads and social media campaigns make it easy to click and spend, difficult and techy to monitor return on investment, strip you of freedom and self-reliance, and in the process, they get really rich. That’s the business model. They are a good way to start sometimes but it’s not a sustainable strategy for most of us.
For big money – like £1000+ many Web Designers will set up a mickey mouse small business website with nice pictures and based on your competitor’s sites, and don’t show you how to use it or do any user training – it’s called a half-baked service. You may generate mediocre leads at best. Small Businesses are spending their hard-earned cash only to walk away frustrated and disappointed.
The disease is like politics, a focus on dishonest quick unsustainable wins like nice websites and whimsical content, with a no insight, vision or longer-term strategy, and a lack of focus on results. Those marketers infected lack the ability, to be honest with business owners and explain that without going through the basics first and refining strategy – most of the quick win and often most sought marketing services are going to be a waste of money. The sad part is that its usually not dishonesty – they just don’t know any better. Be warned if they sat the word quick because then they are lying.
More about competitor websites – it’s a sore point you may have noticed. Most customers are buying the “Done-For-You Website” package, or into the strategy that “We’ll look at your competitors and do things marginally better and you’ll be set”. Never mind that the competitors just copied their competitors when it came to marketing.
I’m running into too many people and business with a major problem – they not getting results. It’s compounded by the fact that even if they were getting results there are no easy mechanisms to measure the results, cost the results and fine-tune them.
The Good News and Some Ideas
You’re a business owner, motivated, experienced and capable – time to leverage those qualities.
You are not alone – we’ve all been– we are in the majority – start talking and you will see what I mean.
You don’t have to choose to operate in a vacuum –ask friends, family, loyal customers, other business owners to be honest with you about your marketing efforts and platforms.
You don’t need to put urgent timeframes on marketing efforts, and huge pressure on yourself. Sure, we all need to eat, and money issues are always going to be urgent, but cut yourself some slack – there’s no relationship between growing your business and short term financial stress – plasters are necessary just don’t spend your whole day putting them on.
Websites and Social Platforms that Integrate to a CRM and help you build that mail list is a great way to reach customers. It doesn’t happen overnight but its low cost and a brilliant way to raise money and get referrals or repeat business quickly when you need it. A segmented mailing list becomes one of your most valuable business assets.
When it comes to social platforms you don’t have to do everything – in fact, you shouldn’t – there are many ways to get traction so don’t be suckered into doing what everyone else does.
The key to attracting more leads, qualifying and engaging prospects, making good offers and increasing sales, is about strategy, not the platforms or distribution channels. It all starts with Target Market Persona Development – you can’t properly develop a strategy, website, content, messaging – anything ! until you nail down the target market – and sorry folks, you can’t do that properly based on your gut feel or I’ve got 30 years of experience in this industry which is working and I can’t learn anything else.
Take some time out – find a marketer, mentor, friend or friend that you trust and do this marketing properly.
All of this doesn’t cost a fortune or need to be paid upfront. You can negotiate the price of services, time frames, payment terms, support, training and everything else. If your marketer or agency is not willing to be flexible and make a plan, then pity them and walk away.
Once you start this journey it becomes a self-fuelling creative epic, the business will grow, you’ll grow and everyone around you.