In my years of experience with marketing, I’ve found that too many small business owners just don’t take it seriously. They are tinkering with marketing and wondering why it isn’t helping their business grow. Newsflash! You only get out, what you put in! By this I mean, if you invest in marketing, your efforts will pay off. Don’t expect instant gratification but do expect, through time and effort, measurable results.
Here are some types of people I’ve met over the years and maybe their story will strike a chord in you to make you get up and do something to help your business via marketing.
The names have been changed to protect the guilty.
Case Number 1: I met this person I’ll call Devin by cold calling businesses. I had a great conversation with Devin and he agreed to a face to face meeting. Upon meeting with Devin, he seemed eager to get started marketing his business. He was so eager that he was pushing contacts at me so I could start helping him reach out to those contacts. I explained that I wouldn’t be able to assist him until he signed a contract. So that evening I went to my office, worked up the contract and the fees which were extremely reasonable and sent the contract to Devin. Two days went by and I decided to do a follow-up call. Upon talking to Devin, I noticed a difference in his tone. He was no longer eager but hesitant. Yes, he wanted my help, but for some reason he seemed to think, my services were too expensive. He was looking for unrealistic rates, but wanted extensive services. In my mind, he wasn't serious or ready to start marketing. Mistake #1 – don’t consultant with a marketing professional if you’re not serious about marketing. To this day, Devin is still in the same situation, no marketing, no progress. Poor Devin. He just didn’t understand that marketing helps your business grow. A marketing professional will do the work you don’t want or know how to do which makes your job easier.
Case Number 2: This lady, I’ll call Daisy. Daisy has a small bakery located in a dying neighborhood. She could not afford to move but was near a thriving downtown business district. She had (has) a website that is poorly put together and infrequently maintained. She knew she needed help so she decided to meet with me. I had researched her business and talked to her about ways I could help her improve and reach more customers. She was eager to learn everything I had to offer but I soon realized that she was attempting to “pump” me for information so she could attempt to use my suggestions herself. She said to send her a proposal and she would get back with me. I gave her two days to respond and she did not. When I called her she went on to tell me how she was going to do her own marketing. I wished her luck. To this day, she has made some changes to her website but the site is so poorly design that the only thing that will help is to get a new site. I explained that if she wants to reach the business professionals, she would need to be progressive with her internet presence. She has not made the necessary changes and her business is still struggling. She was not serious about marketing her business.
I’ve told these stories to say that if you don’t know marketing, then don’t think you can do it yourself. That would be like me, with no medical background or experience trying to diagnosis someone’s illness. I’m not a doctor. When I’m sick, I want attention from someone who is a medical professional. If you’re not in the marketing profession, then you need to look to someone who is. Marketing is not FREE or CHEAP, so if that is what you're looking for, you may want to continue to do it yourself. Remember, you get what you pay for. If you give your business inexperience efforts, then expect inexperienced results. Marketing is no joke, so stop playing with it.
Too often people think that placing an advertisement, doing a blog post or doing a single direct or email marketing campaign is all they need to get their business known and profitable, but I’m here to tell you that once is never enough. To reach a customer, you have to reach out to them at least three times before you can expect a response and even then three times may not be enough. But as a rule of thumb, keep the rule of 3x’s in your mind when marketing.
I know advertising is expensive as are marketing campaigns but you must be willing to spend the money if you want to make the money. Customers have a vast amount of options and to become one of their options you have to make your business memorable. As humans, we learn by repetition, therefore as a business owner, you have to be repetitious when reaching out to your customers. Customers will only remember things that they have seen over and over.
So here’s the plan. Target your customers. Craft your message. Decide on which advertising medium will help you best reach your targeted customers. Plan the time-frame in which you will reach out to those customers, i.e. weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc…. then hit ‘em. Don’t expect much from the first contact, that’s just the warm up. Hit ‘em a second time. This second contact is to capture the customer’s attention. Hit ‘em a third time. This third contact is the one where you should see some results from all your efforts. I’m not saying that the “flood gates” will open and the customers will come running but I am saying that you’re making progress. Once you see results from your progress, now is the time to change your marketing tactic and hit em with something new and fresh. You’ve got to keep hitting your customers in a variety of ways to capture and keep their attention on your business.
Marketing is not an exact science but being persistent and consistent will pay off in due time.
The holiday season is here and once again we prepare to eat, drink and be merry. First, I must say how grateful I am to my readers for embracing me and my effort to provide useful marketing tips that are not only informative but also practical.
This blog is a labor of love and it really feels good to know that readers are appreciative of my “mad” labor. I want to do all that I can to help business owners be the best they can be in terms of their marketing efforts. Marketing is the key to solving most problems for businesses. If we can market effectively, we can start to resolve many issues in our businesses. If we can market effectively, we can start to build a foundation of growth and longevity. If we can market effectively, we will achieve success.
Let’s celebrate Thanksgiving and all that it stands for. Let’s indulge but not over-indulge. Let’s enjoy the bountiful goodness of life and living. Let’s take the time to give and share with someone who is less fortunate. Let’s make a commitment to shop at the wonderful small businesses this weekend, especially on Saturday, November 24th for “Small Business Saturday”.
But most of all have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!
Merriam-Webster says a slogan is “a brief attention-getting phrase used in advertising or promotion” and I agree. A slogan is something you want people to remember, so it must be memorable and it should also reflect the nature of your business, i.e. our slogan for Green Leaf Marketing is “we tell people about your business….period!” It is a simplistic phrase but one that in essence defines what we do as a marketing agency. No matter if it is a website, a direct mail marketing piece, an advertisement, event, sign, etc… the overall goal of what we do for our clients is telling others about their business. In six simple words, we were able to sum up what we do and convey that to our customers in a memorable way.
Let’s look at Gallery Furniture in Houston, Texas whose slogan turned a small unknown single-location furniture store into a large two-location furniture empire. Their slogan is simple, “At Gallery Furniture we save you money!” The owner of this store who calls himself, Mattress Mac, put this simple slogan on everything. You hear it on every commercial, see it on every advertisement, it is on signs, shirts and all of their marketing materials. From the beginning, Mattress Mac knew who his target customer was and he knew what to say to attract that customer to his business. This owner has stuck with his slogan for over 30 years. If you have lived in Houston for any period of time, when you hear this slogan you automatically think about this particular business.
When crafting your slogan, think about these things – who is your customer, what do you want to say to that customer and how can you say it in 10 words or less.
Where do you start?
That sums it up in a nutshell. Your slogan tells people about your business in a few short words. Your slogan must be simple and easy to remember. Your slogan is an essential building block for your brand. Remember, the success or failure of your business can rest on the shoulders of a simple slogan.
The message you craft for your business becomes part of your business identity. It will differ from someone else's business message. Even though you may be trying to reach the same customers, you, more than likely offer or do something that your competitors don’t. Therefore you craft your message based on the unique things you do to make your business different.
For example, you own a daycare, so what can you say about your daycare that your competitors can’t say? At your daycare you offer similar times, cater to the same age groups, have licensed staff, but you offer something that the other daycares don’t, which is organized exercise groups. Based on this, you will want your message to focus on the health benefit children will receive at your daycare. That is what will make you stand out and get customers to your door. Understanding what makes your business stand out from the rest is the first step in crafting your message because you are sending the message that you’re the same which makes customers feel comfortable yet you are different enough to entice them to take a look at what you have to offer.
Here are 6 things to think about when crafting your marketing message, who, what, when, where, why and how. Every message should have these components.
Who – who are you trying to reach.
What – what are you trying to sell.
When – when can customers get what you are providing?
Where – where can a customer find you?
Why – why should the customer spend their money with you?
How – how can they get what you have to sell?
Are you over 65?
We have a great dinner special for vibrant seniors!
This week only from 4pm to 10pm, buy one entree and get one free!
Come to Delicious Diner at 1234 Way Street and bring a friend!
While you’re there, be sure to try our award winning Red Velvet Cake!
At Delicious Diner our prices are as delicious as our food!
This is just a sample message but it should give you an idea. Your message must capture the attention of your audience. Next you should identify what you have to offer and describe the product or service. Then talk about the benefit and end with the action you want them to take but don’t forget your slogan. If you don’t have a slogan or motto, you need to create one. The slogan is that last piece of the message that customers will remember when the special or event is long past. You should include your slogan on every message you craft.
How you put your message together and the order of the components may vary but try to include each component if possible.
Stay true to your message and it will speak for you.
In my next post, I’ll talk about how to create a slogan for your business.
As we enter into the holidays, the economy is improving slightly. Unemployment is still high, but going down slowly. Businesses are recovering but there is a struggle to keep customers and find new ones! So, let’s keep calm and keep on marketing!
As I said in an earlier blog post, it is still no better time than now to do all you can to get your business out into the street and keep it out there. Customers are still cautious on how they spend their money, so how do you get them to spend their money with you? You know my answer – Marketing!
Here are a few tips on what you can do:
1. Call attention to your business and let customers know you want their business. Social media is an excellent way to do this in this tech crazy society. Social media can be your megaphone to the world, so use it effectively and strategically. I will touch on this in another post, so stay tuned.
2. Put a sign on it. Signage is a simple way to showcase your business and attract new customers - car signs, building signs, street signs, yard signs, etc…
3. Advertising. You need to advertise like there is no tomorrow, because if you don't - there may not be a tomorrow. If you can’t afford street ads or the “high-end” periodicals then look at the smaller ones i.e. community papers, Craigslist, business newsletters, church bulletins, etc… these options are less costly and can be extremely effective.
Now, let touch on another aspect of getting your business in the street, your message! I want you to think about the message you want to convey. Who are you trying to reach? Who is your target customer? What do those customers want to hear to bring them to your business? Think on that.
Once you have carefully researched your target customer and crafted your message now it’s time to move forward with that message. You must switch from a passive effort to an aggressive approach. You took the time to start this business therefore it is clear that you care about what you do. So don’t hide your light under a bushel, tell everyone you can in every way you can and your business will flourish. Marketing is the key to a successful business, period! So be creative, be consistent and be deliberate with your marketing so customers will respond and respond in a positive manner.
I will dive into more detail on "crafting your message" in my next post.
Ah yes, the Mad Lady is channeling her inner Fashionista tackling fashion and marketing. Okay, go ahead and ask, “Mad Lady, what are you talking about, fashion and marketing? What do they have in common? You are mad!” No I’m not, because they do have things in common. So come with the Mad Lady as I strut down the runway and I hope I don't trip!
In fashion, designers think outside the box to bring new and innovative fashions to customers. Designers try hard to set new treads and keep a loyal customer base. With their ultimate goal being to make people look fantastic. So, how does that compare with marketing?
Marketing does basically the same thing. Marketing agencies work hard to think outside the box to attract customers to a business or brand. They don’t necessarily rely on “tried and true” marketing strategies; they try different things to see what works best. Using a multitude of different social media outlets like Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter is one way to attract new customers. In this same vein, along with social media, they utilize mobile phone apps and tablets to give their customers innovative marketing ideas while building a brand for their customers. With these methods, marketing can build your brand and make your business or brand look fantastic.
Oh well, this is the extent of the Mad Lady's inner Fashionista. I love fashion but not as much as I love marketing so don’t worry; I won’t blog about clothes unless it pertains to marketing. I just want to help you tame marketing beast and put it into terms and ideas that are relatable. Marketing and fashion have a lot in common…it’s all in the way you look at it.
Okay, time to step off the runway.......
Leave no stone unturned, is an idiom meaning, “to do everything that you can in order to achieve something or to find someone or something” and that is exactly what I’m asking you to do when it comes to marketing.
Remember, there is no perfect or single way to market your business. You have to try different things to see what works best for you. Most times, you will find it is several things that when combined, produce the best results.
For example, it may be the combination of print advertising and promotional events that help you reach your target audience. For others, it may be social media, networking events and newsletters. Figuring out what works, will take time, effort and yes, I will say it, money to come up with the best marketing strategy.
So, you’ve hired a marketing team, logo designer, web expert, or social media guru to help you with your business. You’ve put your faith in their talent and experience and that is great but please don’t forget that the folks you’ve hired are not magicians. They don’t possess a magic wand and the results they produce may not be swift, but as long as you are seeing results, then your marketing efforts are working. For example, if you put out a thousand flyers in a multitude of locations but in the end, only get ten customers, don’t get discouraged because those ten customers are a result of your efforts. Just because a thousand people didn’t come to your door doesn’t mean that your flyers didn’t work, it just means you’ve got to put out more flyers. You have no idea, how many people looked at your flyers or told someone about your business. Realistically, you can’t expect, a 100 percent yield from every single effort.
There’s another idiom, “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again” which of course is self explanatory. It just means you have to do more, not less. So if a thousand flyers produced ten customers, then how many customers will two or even three thousand flyers produce? In addition to flyers, how about having an open house or business social to reach new customers? Use the flyers to not only advertise your business but also your event. In addition to the flyers and the event, add a little social media to the mix and while you’re at it, place a banner ad or do a radio spot. All I’m saying is don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Diversify your efforts and you’re bound to see greater results.
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!!
Contact the Mad Lady if you have questions, comments or want her to speak at your next event! Click here!