It never ceases to amaze me how many startup and small business owners and bowling proprietors continue to believe the – mostly online –regurgitation by so-called ‘experts’ about how they should be marketing their business.
As a marketer I see part of my job as keeping up with trends, ideas, and technologies. But when I read the same old tips and tricks spouted as fact by 1001 so-called experts, gurus, and mavens about how to “Supercharge Your Marketing In 10 Easy Steps“, how “[Whatever Marketing Tactic] Is Dead“, or “How Doing This One Thing Will Rocket Your Business Revenue“, I get annoyed.
I get annoyed because I know there are small business owners out there reading that nonsense, and believing it.
That there are people out there who’ve wasted money on Today’s Big Marketing Trend when, in truth, it’s nothing more than a recycled article from someone else, based on the same useless idea and flawed argument.
People have an incredibly misguided and naïve notion that if a self-appointed marketing ‘expert’ says XYZ Idea works, it’s going to work for them. The fact is, nine times out of ten, it won’t. Every business is different, so every marketing plan is different – or at least it should be.
Just Because It’s Old, Doesn’t Mean It’s Outdated
Your marketing should always be evolving. Whatever your industry, I’ll wager it’s continually changing. The competition is continually changing. Your product or service (should be) continually changing. Your customers – and their expectations – are continually changing. If you’re doing the same old stuff that you’ve always been doing and still not getting results, it’s not their fault – it’s yours.
All that is true. But that doesn’t mean “the old ways” no longer work. For example, most people would agree that email marketing is a powerful messaging tool. But you know what else can work really well? Direct mail. That’s right – printed postcards, letters or flyers that you send out by snail mail. In fact there is proof that shows response rates from direct mail are often higher than those from email. What has changed, however, is the way campaigns are conceived, created, and deployed.
Social Media Isn’t Going To Bring You Sales
There, I said it.
“What!”, I hear you say. “Are you crazy?” Not at all – look at the numbers
Social media channels offer a great way for organizations to interact with prospects and customers. But what works is when it’s people talking to people not when brands try talking to people. If you’re posting a bunch of links that don’t generate feedback – replies, likes, favorites, retweets, whatever – then why on earth are you still doing it? Scheduling Tweets or face book posts to be sent while you’re not around or auto DM-ing followers about your programs is just spam by another name.
I’ve lost count of the number of small businesses who come to us thinking they have to be on social media because that’s what they’ve read. They spend time posting updates (or paying others to do it) without seeing a tangible result. The only reason to deploy any marketing tactic should be to generate sales. Compare the time and cost of any sales directly attributable to social media with sales generated from other marketing initiatives – the results speak for themselves.
The commercial return for businesses on social is nowhere near as much as you’ve been told. What I’m saying is that spending an hour every day simply posting website links isn’t going to bring home the bacon – no matter what anyone says.
The only way to generate regular and consistent sales leads for businesses using social media channels is via ADVERTISING. Yes, good old-fashioned ads. If you’ve got a marketing budget of $500/month and need to generate sales fast, the best bang for your buck is spending it on Facebook or Google ads – no question.
Your Marketing Should Be About Knowing Your Audience
Design trends – flat design, material design, video headers on websites. Yes, they can look cool. But they can also make your site look like everyone else’s. Unless your website is designed to be little more than a glorified online brochure to please the CEO (i.e. not a sales tool) then your site needs to echo the expectations of your audience – your customers.
From any purely design-based reasoning, Amazon’s website should be an utter failure. Don’t you think the world’s largest retailer would have tested other site designs? Actually they have – and the current visual is still the best converting site design they’ve found. It’s not cool. It won’t win any design awards. But it works. The only people your marketing needs to please are your customers.