Many people don’t like networking. They think of it as “a lot of talk” but no action and at times it can feel that way. But remember, every time you tell someone about your business you are networking. You may meet someone in a hotel lobby and at some point in the conversation, you mention your business. This is networking. You should always, if possible tell people about your business because you never know if the person(s) you’re talking to can become a customer or can tell someone else about your business who may become a customer.
Don’t feel like you being pushy…unless you are being pushy. I’m not telling you to talk about your business so much that you make people tired of hearing about it but I am asking you to not be apprehensive and push fear aside so you can share the “good news” about what you do with others. Your business is important to you and just might be important to the person(s) you’re speaking with. So be bold and don’t be afraid to network.
Attending business networking events is important to the success of your business. If you’re an introvert then hire someone to attend these types of events for you. Just make sure that someone knows your business and can competently speak to others about your business. Networking events allow you to do several things that can positively affect your bottom line, such as:
NETWORK! NETWORK! NETWORK!
YOU CAN’T GET IT FOR FREE!
Why, oh why, do some business owners think they can do or get marketing services for free? They pay for supplies, internet services, telephone services, employees and other “cost of doing business” things, so why do they think marketing should be free? It’s not free! Everyone pays. I get sick and tired of small business owners saying, I don’t need to market my business or I depend on “word of mouth” or I can’t afford to do marketing…right now. Come on! You will have to market your business if you expect to have a business. If you think you can “employ” your family and friends as “word of mouth” marketers, you are in for a rude awakening. They may tell a friend or two but is that really the extent of your marketing plan? Really? There is no way around it, marketing is a must have for almost every business. You may either find a way to pay for it or you will pay for it in lost revenue. I know what you’re saying, Mad Lady, you’re only saying this because you’re in marketing. Well, you’re right and wrong.
You’re right because I’ve seen a number of small businesses fail because they either:
You’re wrong because I’m a serial entrepreneur and I started my first business over 15 years ago. I was young and inexperienced and I was guilty of all four of the points I made previously. I’ve had businesses fail because I either didn’t market, had no marketing plan, had no budget or depended on simplistic marketing ideas, i.e “word of mouth”, flyers and business cards. It took me years to realize marketing goes far beyond having business cards, posting a flyer or placing an ad in a newspaper.
I don’t want to see other small business owners make the same mistakes I’ve made in the past. I don’t want to see them fail so consider this blog the ranting and ravings from one MAD LADY a wake up call for business owners to do right by their business and themselves – MARKET YOUR BUSINESS and by all means, realize you can’t get this service for free. You’ll either pay for it one way or the other: With your time and energy, with lost revenue or you’ll pay someone else to do it for you.
REMEMBER IT’S NOT FREE!
Stop Hiding In Plain Sight!
Why are so many businesses hiding in plain sight? Mad Lady, what do you mean? What I’m saying is when you start a business and do nothing to promote your business, then you’re hiding in plain sight. You’ve filed your dba, LLC, Inc. or 501c3. You’ve told your friends and family about your business. You’ve even gotten business cards. Then you sit back and wait for the customers to come rolling in. News flash! They’re not coming! Not, until you put forth the effort to make them come.
As I said in my previous post, selling is marketing but marketing is not selling. You must market your business if you hope to stay in business. You must get the word out. You can’t just sit around waiting for family and friends, i.e. “word of mouth” to be your only marketing strategy.
First, it is your business, therefore it is your responsibility to either create an effective marketing campaign(s) or hire a professional to do it for you. Second, if you want customers you’ve got to go get them. They won’t come freely. They need to be informed and enticed. Lastly, you’ve got to be practical. Don’t over spend on unrealistic marketing efforts. For example, you have a small banquet hall you want to rent. It is unrealistic for you to contact the local radio station and pay thousands of dollars to have a live broadcast from your location just because you want to hear your name and business name on the radio. There are several less expensive and more practical ways to marketing your business. If you don’t know what those ways are then you need to call someone who does.
You’re in business and if you don’t tell the world about it, the world won’t know. Invest in your business and it will pay you back ten-fold. Marketing is an investment in the success of your business. It is not the job of a marketer to be your personal “Pied Piper” with the ability to put customers in a trance and lead them to your door ready to buy the product or service you sell but it is the job of marketing to bring awareness to potential customers so you can sell your product or service to them.
I don’t expect business owners to know how to market their business. I don’t expect them to have the aptitude to market their business. I don’t even expect them to have the desire to market their business. But I do expect business owners to put forth the time, effort and yes, MONEY into marketing their business. STOP HIDING! If you don’t have a website, you’re hiding your business. If you do nothing to bring about awareness, i.e. email or direct mail marketing, advertising, social media, etc… you’re hiding your business. Give your business a fighting chance….market, market and market some more! Tell people about your business so you will not only stay in business but grow your business.
Selling is Marketing but Marketing is NOT Selling!
I get so frustrated when I look at job listings that say they’re seeking marketing personnel but the job they’ve posted is for a salesperson. Attention business owners! – Selling is marketing but Marketing is not selling! So stop deceiving applicants who have marketing experience by posting jobs that are for salespeople. I know, most people use the terms interchangeably and there are similarities but there are also stark differences hence the reason we have different terms.
Marketing involves a host of activities all geared toward the consumer. When you market a product or service, you are finding ways to make that product/service desirable to consumers. You raise awareness and build the brand. The ultimate goal is to make consumers want to buy the product/service you’re marketing. In marketing you may use advertising, networking, promotional events, direct mail marketing, email marketing, websites, social media, etc…. to reach your customer base but ultimately your goal is to create interest and awareness which in turn will create leads and prospects.
Selling involves activities geared toward the product or service. When you sell, your goal is to get a consumer to exchange money for the product/service you’re selling…. period. When you sell, you are typically using marketing materials, i.e. websites, brochures, promotional products, etc… to make the sell. Your goal is to convert prospects/leads into actual paying customers. You’re not building the company's brand, you’re not creating the marketing materials you use to make the sell, you’re not the webmaster, you’re not marketing…..you’re selling.
I want to scream this off the highest rooftop for the whole world to hear and understand - marketing helps you make the sell and selling is the result of effective marketing.
Customer Service is Marketing….
I know what you’re saying, Mad Lady, you’ve gone too far with this concept, customer service is just that customer service. How can that be marketing too? Well here is my answer. If you get a customer and then lose that customer due to poor customer service then not only have you lost that customer but you’ve also lost anyone that they talk to about your business….i.e. “word of mouth marketing”. Customers are discerning and want to be treated with respect and appreciation. Therefore you must take the time and put forth the effort to keep your customers happy so they will want to utilize your product/service again and again.
Let me give you an example. I went to a new print shop because of their marketing efforts. They had a cute little car wrapped with their logo and company info parked in front. They had the proper signage to attract business so I decided to go inside to see if they were a company I could do business with. I spoke to the owner of this business and he proceeded to deter me from doing business with him. I told him I had been working with a different Printer for quite some time but I was looking to build a relationship with other Printers so that I would have options for my clients.
This business owner proceeded to encourage me to stay with the Printer I was currently working with. I explained to him that I had no plans of leaving that Printer; I just wanted to have other Printer options available to me for my clients. In our initial conversation, he told me two times to not leave my current Printer because if I was happy with their work, I should stay with them. He was condescending and just plan rude when I asked him questions about a particular print job I wanted to send his way. I was so put off by this conversation that I decided not to send any business his way.
After a few days, I reconsidered thinking that maybe he was just having a bad day, so I requested a quote from him on a print job, the quote he sent me was almost twice as much as the other Printer I was currently working with. I thought it was a mistake so I called him and spoke with him about his quote. He confirmed that the price he quoted was correct. I explained that it was extremely high and his reply was “you may get a cheaper price elsewhere like Kinko’s but I’m not in competition with Kinko’s”. That was the proverbial “straw that broke the camels’ back”. I had done everything I could to give this man business but he just didn’t want my business. So I moved on. I have nothing positive to say about this business owner and subsequently his business and I will encourage anyone who asks to avoid this business as all cost.
Customer service is marketing and poor customer service can kill your business.
Remember, when you’re a small business, everything you do is marketing.
What is marketing?
Simply put it is “the action or business of promoting or selling products or services”. It is not a difficult concept to understand yet it is my belief that people don’t understand it or else they would do it. For most business owners, marketing is just a necessary evil that they either don’t want to do or don’t have the time to do. But instead of hiring someone or a company to do it for them, they just don’t do it at all.
Many business owners would rather sit back and complain about why they don’t have customers than actually do something about getting customers. There is no way around it, you either have to personally take the time to promote your business or you have to hire someone to do it for you. Successful businesses rely on marketing, that’s why they have marketing departments or marketing firms working for them. As a small business you may not have the budget for that but you must do something. Your business can’t sell itself without creative and effective marketing.
Marketing comes in many forms - word of mouth, print advertising, TV and Radio advertising, direct mail, email, promotional events, social media, networking, etc… to promote your business, you may choose to use several of these forms. There is no set formula for the type of marketing you choose. Just do yourself and your business a favor and do something, anything that will help you spread the word about your business. If you want new customers – market! If you want to retain your existing customers – market! If you want to build brand identity – market! If you want longevity for your business – market!
No More Excuses!
When trying to get small business owners to understand the importance of effective and professional marketing, too often, I hear nothing but excuses. The operative words are “effective and professional”.
Most people don’t put any thought into marketing their business. They just turn to the old “tried and tired” marketing efforts…business card (cheap ones), flyers (not even color flyers, but black print on colored paper), word of mouth (telling their “friends” on Facebook). REALLY!?! Is this really what you call marketing? Do you think that is all the hundreds of thousand marketing firms around the country do, business cards, flyers and tell friends? REALLY?!? If you do, then you don’t know marketing. Marketing firms put time and effort into understanding the best way to help your business receive optimal exposure and reach the maximum number of customers. That’s why you should get a professional to help you market your business. Stop turning to cousin Jay or your best girl Heather who just learned how to use Word and can put together a flyer and call it marketing. It is an insult to this industry. Face it, marketing cost money and marketing helps you make money!
Let’s take a look at the top 5 excuses small business owners use to avoid hiring professional marketing services.
Look, when you fail to care about the way you present your business to the public, then you are doing yourself and your business a disservice. Surround yourself with business people who can help you be a better business owner and have a better business. Presenting yourself and your business in a professional light will allow you to reach customers from all walks of life, not just your immediate circle of friends and associates.
Stop the excuses and stop trying to do it yourself. As a business owner, you should focus on running your business and let the marketing professionals do the rest. When you fail to market your business, you’re not hurting anyone but yourself and your business.
Mad Lady Marketing says…… Stop The Insanity!
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing but expecting a different result. If you know you’re not doing the things your business needs to be successful and yet you continue these practices, then you are practicing INSANITY!
You won’t get customers or grow your business if:
I could go on but I won’t, you get the picture. Be professional. Be consistent. Be the type of business you would want to patronize. Don’t ever give your customers less than you would expect yourself. Stop the Insanity and watch your business GROW!
She is mad and she is not going to take it anymore! The Mad Lady Marketing Blog is just her way to drive home the importance of marketing in business. With over 15 years of experience in marketing, graphic design and communications, this marketing expert is mad (crazy) about marketing and mad (angry) at small businesses that don't understand or utilize marketing to promote their business.
Mad Lady Marketing is MAD!!
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