How to Change Business Owners’ Love-Hate Relationship with MarketingEditorial Team
By Zev Asch, Marketing & Business Growth Consultant
Business owners need not be their company’s marketing experts. You trust your CPA to guide you on finances and your lawyer to advise on legal matters – marketing should not be an exception. Your role as a business owner is to create a vision, set goals and manage the business by hiring the best talent you can find for each part of the business (HR, accounting, sales, customer service, operations, etc.).
If you’re a business owner who has some experience with marketing, you likely fall into one of three types: those that view marketing as a cash flow black hole (“it doesn’t work, only companies with big budgets can use it”), those that use marketing but are overwhelmed and frustrated by lackluster results, and owners who confidently attribute their growth to marketing.
I wrote a marketing book that applies to either of the above.
- If you’re doing great, you can do better
- If you’re frustrated with marketing, it’s time to regroup and review why? (hint, marketing is rarely the issue, it’s all about strategy and execution)
- If you simply dismiss marketing and rely only on good old word-of-mouth referrals, you are putting the future of your business in jeopardy. It’s critical that you get back in the game.
Here’s the good news!
Marketing is a commonsense discipline, it’s not complicated. There are basic principles that you must follow if you want your business to grow, and you don’t need an MBA to figure them out.
“How To Get the Most Out of Marketing” is a straightforward reminder about those forgotten and overlooked practices; what I have identified, after years of sifting through my case studies and experience, as reliable practices that lead to growth.
I spent four decades in the small business world, and I get it. We (small business owners) are on a grinding daily rollercoaster ride of long hours, anxiety, and an onslaught of surprises. We have our good days, bad days, and the average is somewhere in between. But there’s one common goal we all share:
We always need more sales
And so, we find ourselves on a never-ending quest of finding a marketing “Easy Button”; an illusionary set-it-and-forget-it system that will grow our business with minimal effort on our part.
No surprisingly then, there is no shortage of marketing tools or tactics that promise us to 3x, 5x, and 10x our business. While few are based on a smart strategy, the majority are bait-and-switch solutions to make us hire the self-promoted experts that developed them.
I may sound frustrated, and I am. I know from experience that you can’t rubberstamp someone else’s template and make it work. Every business is unique, and you must do the hard work if you want to grow.
You don’t need the latest and greatest of marketing tech or automation. Or, at least and before you use them, make sure that you cover the basics; the elementary stuff that doesn’t cost much and has the best potential for growing your company. That is what I cover in “How To Get the Most Out Of Marketing”
Yes, it’s that easy, and don’t let anyone overwhelm you with the latest shiny object.
In my book, I refer to the Three Engines of Growth; critical parts of your business that, when they are in sync, lead to consistent and sustainable sales.
- Marketing (lead generation)
- Sales (converting leads to paying customers)
- Customer Service (customer retention and upselling existing customers)
Here’s a quick summary of what you must do to grow your business:
A solid marketing plan is essential
You must have a marketing plan, a roadmap, to how you are going to achieve your business growth.
Existing customer’s importance > new leads & prospects
Do not ignore your existing customers, the biggest “under your nose” potential of additional revenue.
Do competitor analysis
Work smart not hard and study your competitors. “Walk In Stupid Every Morning” – respect and learn from those who might do some things better than you, the future of your business depends on it.
Set your marketing expenditure
“You got to be in it to win it” – commit to a marketing budget and spend it. Free marketing has a very short lifespan, and it doesn’t work (Google made $160B in advertising revenue because most of us will never organically rank on Page 1). You must pay if you want to be seen.
Engage with your audience
Marketing results (incoming qualified leads) correlate directly with your ability to engage with your prospects; strategically creative outbound emails or social media posts should motivate your prospect to start a dialogue with you; a conversation that earns you the right to ask for an order. Marketing is about going from a blind date to a commitment. You can get lucky with “You’ve had me at hello,” but most of us have to work hard to create a meaningful connection and a second or third date.
Keep your marketing, sales & customer service in sync
That’s how successful businesses grow; the “customer experience” starts as a lead and continues as a paying customer. Way too many businesses focus on lead generation and sales instead of the entire customer journey.
Keep marketing customer-centric
“Be the customer.” Recognize that your product, service, website, social media content are not, and should never be, about you. The first rule of marketing is “Identify unmet customer needs.” Not your company’s needs, it’s always about the customer. If you can’t prove that you understand your prospect’s challenges and why they need a solution, they will move on.
Brand is one of the most misunderstood concepts in marketing; it’s not your logo, font, or colors. Your brand is the promise you make to anyone who decides to do business with you: a commitment to provide a quality solution at a competitive value and with an uncompromising customer experience. Again, it’s not complicated! If you make it easy to do business with you (we call it “removing the tension”) customers will seek to repeat that experience. Humans are wired to seek pleasure and avoid pain, and it works every time.
Make yourself stand out of crowd
“Differentiate or Die.” This is not only the title of a brilliant book but also the foundation for your success. Remember Seth Godin’s Purple Cow? If you can’t articulate why your solution is better and different from the competition, you are a commodity; a disposable entity that someone might choose because of low price. Your customer’s loyalty is as good as your next discount or promotion. And, while the price is an important consideration, it is not the main reason someone will choose your company. – being better and different creates a value proposition that smart shoppers seek.
One of the editorial reviews gave my book 4.5/5 stars because the book wasn’t long enough. My goal was to deliver an action plan that is simple, not overwhelming. Unlike many marketing books, I did not write mine to drive readers to subscribe to costly online courses or high-end consulting/coaching. Of course, I would welcome the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of small business owners, but the brevity of the book stems from knowing my target readers (small business owners): You will not read a 300-page overwhelming dissertation! You have a business to run.
I am confident, without hesitation, that implementing just one of the action plans will make a difference in your business’s ability to grow.
I welcome your comments and invite you to connect with me on my website www.zevasch.com or by email: email@example.com.
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