By Robin Robins, President, Technology Marketing Toolkit, Inc.
When it comes to marketing, everyone has an opinion – right or wrong. Ask any business owner in this industry about what is the best way to market your business and everyone will have a different answer. Problem is, many of those opinions are just that – opinions. They are NOT based on extensive research or testing. Instead, they are founded on very limited personal experience. That’s why you’ll hear people swearing that “direct mail doesn’t work,” or that “Yellow Pages aren’t worth the money.”
It’s not that these mediums are good or bad. I know for a fact that they all work to some degree, and naturally, some work better than others. Just because you haven’t figured out how to make direct mail work doesn’t mean it doesn’t work period. It just means YOU haven’t figured it out yet. Right now, some of my clients are making thousands of dollars using direct mail, Google Adwords, newsletters, and yes, even Yellow Pages ads.
That’s because they realize that there are two important parts to any marketing campaign:
- The medium in which it’s delivered (postal mail, e-mail, in person, radio, newspaper, etc.), and
- What you actually say in the communication.
Many IT business owners become jaded toward some forms of advertising because it hasn’t worked for them in the past. When this happens they almost ALWAYS blame the medium without any regard for how good or bad their campaign was. And in most cases, the communication was boring, off-target, and completely lacking a compelling offer, testimonials, headlines, and other critical elements that are required for any direct marketing campaign to work.
As a newbie marketer, be VERY careful who you take advice from. Make sure you only take advice from someone who has a proven track record and a very successful business…don’t ask someone who is barely more successful than you. Here’s why…
Mark Twain said, “We should be careful not to be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove. She will never sit down on a hot stove again and that is well; but she will also never sit down on a cold one either.”
If you aren’t careful, you could end up like the cat that sits on a hot stove. If you try something once (like direct mail) and get poor results, don’t let that one experience stop you from capitalizing on that medium. In essence what you are doing is shutting off a VERY effective medium for attaining new clients! If you took that approach with everything you did, you would quickly run out of ways to get clients.
In addition to the above myth, here are 3 more I frequently see…
- Selling is about slick answers and fast-talking. WRONG – selling is about listening, even studying, your clients. I can usually stump a business owner about his or her clients within 5 minutes of consulting with them. If you don’t know your clients’ beliefs, fears, frustrations, and daily work habits, you will fail. Marketing is not just about fancy brochures and funny slogans – it’s about delivering a message so compelling and so ON TARGET that your customer instantly says, “this is for ME.” If your clients don’t have that reaction to your current campaigns, it’s probably because they are boring, off-target, and completely lack any demonstration that you understand their situation and their business.
- Sales ability is something you are born with. WRONG! I’m insulted by people who say to me, “Of course selling comes natural to you, Robin…you’re a born speaker/salesperson/marketer.” That’s like saying Tiger Woods is “lucky” to be born with such natural talent. No one gets to be great at anything without hours, days, weeks, and YEARS of careful study and practice. Everyone has to learn – the only difference is how much you apply yourself to the process that matters.
- Selling and marketing is only something you do when you don’t have enough referrals. WRONG! Every business needs to market themselves and acquire new clients. Businesses fail when the owner sits on their butt waiting for business to float their way. And taking a little action, like mailing out one or two flyers, is only barely better than doing nothing. Plus, marketing is not only about getting new clients, but also communicating and serving your existing ones to EARN repeat business, loyalty, and referrals. It’s also about creating a steady flow of new clients so you don’t have to cling to bad clients, slow-payers, and whiners.
Know what I think most of these myths are founded in? Excuses.
It’s a lot easier to believe these myths because it takes the responsibility off of the owner. After all, if direct mail doesn’t work, now you don’t have to go through the effort of learning HOW to make it work for YOU. If sales ability is something you have to be born with, then it takes the responsibility off of you to actually study great salesmanship. And if you think selling and marketing is something you need to “put on hold” until all the lights are green, you’ll never have to do anything because there is never a perfect time. The only good news? You’ll make your competition ecstatic that you aren’t cluttering up the marketplace.
Dedicated to your success,