Whenever we start working with clients on building a small business marketing system, we go through a period of discovery. During this phase, one question we like to ask is what the client has done to date in the way of marketing. A common answer goes something like this, “well we tried sending out postcards and that didn’t work. Then we got talked into radio and that didn’t work, then we tried a trade show and that really didn’t work either.”
So if all marketing tools can work, how can this be? Far too often people treat their marketing like a one hit wonder. Someone tells them a certain marketing initiative was highly effective for them and off they go to try the marketing idea of the week. But alas, they don’t get the same result. This is because they are practicing one-dimensional marketing.
By one-dimensional marketing, what I mean is that people often assume that ONE marketing activity will yield results, and of course this is simply not the case. Now you might be thinking, but I did the SAME marketing activity over and over again and still didn’t get a great result. While you are at least on the right path, your marketing is still only one dimensional.
The reason these activities don’t work to plan has to do with the number of times your target audience needs to be exposed to your message and the credibility your message has with them. In today’s age, consumers need to be exposed to your message 7 – 9 times before they will buy from you. This can be fast tracked if the source of your message is considered highly credible by your customer.
In order to be highly effective then, your marketing should:
1. Incorporate a 2 step advertising campaign
2. Include multiple marketing tools
3. Be consistent
2 Step Advertising Campaign
If your business is a low cost item and transactional in nature then you may be able to skip this step. But if you are promoting a service or high ticket item, this can be a much more effective way to generate qualified leads.
In a 2 Step Advertising Campaign your initial marketing promotes a free report, trial offer or some other low risk offering. Once a customer has shown interest in this offering and shares their contact information with you, you can continue to educate them on your products and services through a well though out follow up campaign.
Sadly far too many people spend money on advertising and promotions and have no follow up strategies to stay in touch with the qualified leads that come through the door.
Include Multiple Marketing Tools
There are so many cost effective ways to market your business that go far beyond traditional advertising methods. Networking, for example is a form of promotion. It is cost effective, but not necessarily time effective. Other tools may be time effective, but cost more. Small businesses always need to balance these two valuable resources to determine which promotional tools they should use.
Consider postcards with a free offer, a personalized letter, online advertising via association newsletters, bus stops. The list really is endless. These types of activities give you control over your marketing and can help smooth out peaks and valleys.
However, most people overlook very powerful tools such as building strong strategic alliances and referral strategies, writing and public speaking. These tools add way more credibility to your company at very little cost.
By having multiple strategies your target audience could very well, receive your advertising material, be referred to you by a strategic alliance and also hear you speak. Combined together this becomes a much more powerful marketing tool.
I often get asked how much money a company should spend on marketing. My answer is always the same (and certainly not found in any marketing textbook). It is the amount you can afford to right a cheque for every month without throwing up. This way you will stay committed to your marketing endeavours. Any large amounts that you can’t afford could end up depleting you before the multiple marketing effect has a chance to REALLY kick in.
You must stay consistent with your marketing and veer away for the marketing idea of the week! Think of your system like a very large boulder that takes great effort to move, but once it is in motion, is a powerful force to reckon with!