Article #47, July, 2006
Take Back Control! (of your Marketing)
I have heard "I hate marketing" or some version of that statement many times, and I understand. I like marketing, and still sometimes I hate marketing.
One of the biggest problems is that there are so many options that it's sometimes impossible to know if you're doing the right things at the right times. I really do understand.
If you have thousands of dol'lars in your marketing budget, you can pay consultants to help you with creating a plan, purchasing print advertising, executing a search engine optimization (SEO) program, creating an effective pay per click internet advertising campaign and/or creating a viral marketing movie. Oh yea, you will also need a highly effective and gorgeous website.
One way I suggest for business owners to become educated on the business side of their businesses is to take fr'ee teleclasses. This is a great, easy way to become educated on marketing. Keep in mind that most of the teleclass leaders are doing the class at no cha'rge so they may promote their program or product, or both. Don't buy anything yet - do more research. The product will still be there next week.
Here are most of the 'best' ways in which teleclass leaders and other experts have told me I 'must' promote my business:
- Become an affiliate
- Write and submit articles to banks
- Join leads groups
- Create a subscription website
- Give teleclasses
- Create products to sell
- Do PR
- Form exclusive strategic alliances
Since I do not have a very large marketing budget, I also need to maintain my website, optimize it, write effective copy, write my marketing plan, and, of course, follow up with everyone I have met or spoken to, among other things.
If I did all the things the experts tell me to do, I'd be working 30 hours per day and spending no time with clients. It's impossible!
Unfortunately, marketing often requires some trial and error to learn what works best with your industry, your personality, your location and your target market. The first and most important component of effective marketing is narrowing down your target market. It's extremely difficult to make an emotional connection with anyone using a watered-down marketing message - which is just what will happen if you try to appeal to too broad an audience in your marketing.
See if you can network with someone else in your same industry and compare notes - what works and what doesn't. With most businesses, that can be done by locating someone in a different geographic area. If that doesn't work, try finding someone who services a completely different target market than yours. For example, I am a small business coach and have 'buddy coached' with a couple of life coaches. We are marketing ourselves in very similar ways, but looking for completely different clients.
When deciding which ways to market your product, keep your limitations in mind: time and money. Also, there may be a learning curve to incorporate into your plan. Personal choices should also be considered - because I'm a single mom, I don't work nights and weekends. That affected my choice of target market!
You will make sense of it all; don't put too much pressure on yourself. Stick with it and take care of yourself. Enjoy the journey!