The contradictions of growing your business
I’m confused about marketing strategies and planning… How about you?
I’ve read and thought a lot about marketing strategies, planning, and processes: online marketing, content marketing plans, automated marketing systems, SEO (Search engine optimisation) and SEM (Search engine marketing), SMM (social media marketing), and sales in the past few years, as I suspect most business owners do. After all, as I say in my first book, “The Ten Truths for Raising a Healthy Bouncy Business”: Marketing is Everything and Everything is Marketing.
Marketing strategy and marketing plans are some of the most written about topics by the business brains and gurus of the world and there are many grand theories about what works and what doesn’t and how things have supposedly changed in the past 20 years. But when you listen to all of them it’s like having your brain fried by Dr Evil, it’s all just so confusing.
All the marketing strategy and planning theories
The problem lies with the many conflicting theories.
We are variously assured that:
- People buy what’s in it for them (WIIFM)
- People buy emotionally and justify rationally
- People do business with people they know like and trust
- Value is remembered long after price has been forgotten
- We must sell online otherwise you can’t compete… on price.
- We must give our best stuff away for free
- Brand is everything
- Relationship is everything
- Content is King
- Search engine optimisation is everything
- Search engine optimisation is dead
- Google, Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, Twitter advertising is the future
- Advertising is dead
And we are told:
- To do blogs, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, Tiktok, Youtube and Facebook
- To produce content
- To make videos and to podcast
- To build relationships
- To add value
- To charge for value instead of price
I recently engaged an SEO expert to get me to the top of Google. The expert delivered. In a period of 8 weeks, I started appearing on page 1 for certain search terms.
Yet I sacked him a month or so later. Why? I learnt that Google frowns on many SEO techniques that until recently were considered good practice, and I came to the conclusion that my improved ranking was based on some of those techniques.
I talked to a number of other SEO experts and they assure me they can achieve the same results for me, using only currently accepted ‘safe’ techniques… At 4 to 6 times the cost per month of the previous SEO expert.
So I’m muddling along myself again now. (Let me know how I’m going, will you? Do a search for the kind of service I provide and see if I come up anywhere before page 25?)
I’m one of those who is convinced by one of the previous statements about giving your best stuff away for free, and I do exactly that. I do get lots of thank-you notes, but not much else.
Oh, that’s right, it’s all about content? Doing that, I’m all over it. Again, lots of nice comments on my newsletters and books and videos and webinars.
I read a great book called Go-Givers and another one called “Give and Take” … wonderful books, great messages. This is an article about sales and giving rather than getting. The main message being that to market and sell our business successfully we must be Givers, rather than Takers and start by giving more value than we receive.
Love the concept, especially as it’s proven to work for about half the people who practice that mindset; half the Givers of this world are wildly successful … the other half? Sorry, they’re at the bottom of the heap.
How come I’m reminded about that joke: I have a magic coin that can predict the future exactly 50% of the time?
I am aware that I sound as if I’m whingeing… and that will never do.
I’m a business coach after all and we are always positive and optimistic… We are, honestly!
Actually I’m not complaining … it’s just that it’s all so dammed confusing.
I actually know what the answers are to each of the contradictions above, most of us business owners do, well in theory we do at any rate. Let’s look at the contradictions about price for example:
It’s true; people don’t buy on price, except if they have no other way to decide. Being the cheapest is actually a perfectly good strategy to market your business, as long you can maintain it. Walmart in America is the cheapest, consistently and it’s become one of the most successful and biggest businesses on the planet by being the cheapest. It’s what they do. Being the cheapest is their reason for being, and no one can beat them at that game. There are plenty of other businesses that base their marketing on price, and when appropriate I shop there too. But I bet anyone could beat your business on price if they decided to do so. We have to give our customers lots of other reasons to do business with us.
And that’s when we get overwhelmed with all the contradictions and the conflicting demands.
Nearly every client I start to work with tells me they think they need to ‘Do’ more marketing and they need a marketing plan. And you do. Accelerating the speed at which your business has been growing naturally so far can only come from increased marketing. But let’s not make it harder and more overwhelming than it needs to be.
Marketing strategy, the low hanging fruit
I’m a great believer in always picking the low-hanging fruit first. So the question to ask yourself first is: What is the easiest way for me to generate more leads?
I bet you can actually answer that question just like that, without a marketing plan.
In my case it actually comes down to two things:
1) Making it easier for people to obtain my books
2) Implementing a consistent process of following up with the people who do download my books.
So I’m off to tweak some of the text and stuff on my website, implement a couple of small changes in my CRM, and I’m blocking time out in my diary to make 5 follow up phone calls every Tuesday morning from here forth.
What about you? What’s your easiest way forward to ‘Do’ more marketing?
See it’s not so overwhelming when you think of it, it just takes a little bit of focus.
Tell you what… pop me an email with your decision and I’ll check in with you in a couple of weeks to see how you’re going… nothing like a bit of accountability.
Marketing and planning and the 7 Big Questions of Small Business
Business owners frequently ask 7 Big Questions about how to Build a Beautiful Business and Life.
The first of these Big Questions is: How do I grow my business?
To answer that question I have identified the 11 most important strategies to create Business Growth.
The third of those strategies is Grow your business with Marketing. and the sixth of the strategies is Grow your business with Planning. This is an article that explains how Marketing, Planning and Growth hang together, in some depth.