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Dread Marketing Your Business? 5 Ingenious Strategies To Make Marketing Painless (and Profitable)

Are you a reluctant rainmaker? You’re great at what you do and would rather much spend your days doing that… than having to beat your own drum, and rattle neighboring trees to make new business fall into your lap.

If you view marketing as a pesky, annoying activity you have to get done rather than something that makes you leap out of bed every morning as you live and breathe (like me), then my friend, this article is for you.

Chances are if you groan when you think about marketing, it might be because at some level you think sales and marketing is about pushing, coercing or manipulating people into buying your services.

Ugh.

I don’t blame you if you feel less than thrilled if that’s what you think. Fact is that’s still the way most people teach marketing but to me that’s annoying, sneaky, and very outdated.

And, in case you needed any more reason to abandon that train of thought, in this new economy, that kind of approach just doesn’t fly.

Our clients are savvier than they’ve ever been in the history of marketing. They’re far more demanding, And they’re far more skeptical. Real marketing is about building relationship and establishing value first. If you’ve done a great job doing that – they’ll be the ones coming to you asking “how do I get more?” No magic tricks, hypnosis or voodoo involved. Just plain old-fashioned value combined with a dash of integrity and a good dose of creativity.

Here are 5 easy strategies to climb back in the saddle and make promoting your business a breeze:

  1. Give up chasing the sale (that’s the old school, old economy method). Most companies are so busy focusing on lead generation and finding new customers, they completely ignore the ones they have, and those customers wind up never buying from them again. That’s backwards, especially when you remember it costs five times as much money to sell to a new customer than it does to get an existing customer to buy again. Invest at least as much time and money into developing relationships with your existing customers as you do trying to find new ones.
  2. Get very clear about who you’re selling to. Don’t think of your target market as a target market. Think about them as a single individual – your ideal client. Give them a name, create a profile for them so that they’re a living breathing person. Now write all your marketing as if you’re writing just to that person. This will prevent your marketing from sounding like a boring mass marketing.
  3. No more marketing one night stands! Forget firing off just one marketing piece and expecting the poor little guy to do all the heavy lifting for you. At the bare minimum your marketing should be a 3-step campaign. Some of the most biggest (and most successful) campaigns I’ve ever done have involved as many as 49 different steps – in a range of different media. Repetition is key. You have to be like Waldo in your target market – popping up everywhere your prospects are looking.
  4. Create a marketing calendar for your business. This is a monthly and then weekly breakdown of all your marketing activities that you need to be doing in order to be filling your marketing funnel with qualified leads. Marketing is a process, not an event. It’s highly likely that if your marketing isn’t scheduled to happen in advance, then it doesn’t happen (unless you’ve got a cash flow crisis).
  5. Learn how to market your business but if it’s not your true love, then, outsource it fast and get out of your own way. Some of my best private clients are themselves very good marketers, so why do they hire me to help them? Because while they might be good at marketing, they’re not great at it – and it’s not their one supreme skill. Their time is far better spent doing what their supreme talent is – that might be face-to-face relationship building with giant accounts, beavering away in the back room creating new products, or implementing processes and systems to make their businesses run like a well oiled machine. Whatever your supreme talent is, that’s where you add the most value to your clients, and to your business. If marketing isn’t what you live and breathe – that’s ok. You don’t have to. There are plenty of great copywriters you can outsource it to (ahem!).

But what you do need to know is what great marketing looks like, and how to tell a great marketer from just a good one.

And one final word of advice, no matter who you use to help you with your marketing, never, ever hand over the reins to them entirely. This is YOUR business and as business owner you always need to keep a watchful eye on your marketing. It’s the lifeblood of your business.

The Real Ways To Advertise Your Business Online

eBay – It generates massive traffic.

You may think that this is a mistake and that eBay is only any good for selling off your old set of golf clubs. However tens of thousands of people register with eBay daily and over a billion page views were registered in 2007 alone! eBay is one of the most visited sites on the internet.

There are several ways you can advertise on eBay:

Online Auctions: Sell your products on eBay and drive customers to your personal website by including links to your About ME page. The About ME page is the one place on eBay that you are allowed to place external links, provided the site is the seller’s own personal site, not part of a larger site.

About ME: This page is the ticket to driving traffic from eBay to your own site. Place a well-placed link on your About ME page, and tell your visitors why they should visit. Please, make sure it complies with all eBay policies! Your account can be suspended for not abiding by eBay’s rules. Use your best copy-writing skills to draw in traffic to your About ME page, then to your site. Also, be sure to have a link on your personal site that allows users to sign up for a newsletter. This way, if they aren’t going to purchase, you can keep in touch. Learn more about creating an about us page for your eBay store, website or blog here.

My World Page: This page is also highly indexed by Google and the rest of the search engines. A quick example: Google your own eBay user ID. The My World page often is listed first! Use this page to advertise your items, talk about your business, and customize the best way to persuade viewers to visit your About ME page.

Social Bookmarking: There are many social websites that let you join a community and gain a following and the number is increasing every day. Two of the largest are Facebook and Twitter. Facebook allow you to advertise and have an advertising account. The potential is great for getting targeted traffic to your website. StumblUpon is a link sharing website that brings your favourite websites to you based on your interests. It has the potential to bring hundreds of thousands of visitors, but your content needs to be exceptional.

The thing about social bookmarking is that you can’t just drop your links into a social networking website and expect to generate traffic and you may be better off investing your time in writing articles. However, these websites can provide a useful back-link to your website and the opportunity should not be overlooked to use them.

Is Social Media Suitable for My Business?

Having a business presence on the Internet has become essential. However, the very nature of the online world means that it is constantly evolving, offering new avenues of communication and interaction. Pressure is placed on us to be part of these new platforms both socially and at a business level, but how do you know whether they are really beneficial to your business and how do you get the most out of them?

Firstly, it is worth noting that there is not a definitive answer to this question and businesses should not blindly sign up to Twitter or Facebook just because it is the ‘in’ thing. There are three key questions that should be asked to establish whether to consider the social media route:

1. Do you understand the social media platform that you are considering using?

2. Is it appropriate for your particular business?

3. Do you have the time and manpower to administer it or keep it up to date?

Only when you can answer ‘yes’ to all three of these questions can you confidently set your business up on the platform in question.

Do you understand the social media platform that you are considering using?

This question is definitely the most important, yet many businesses embark on their social media journey without really tackling it. Each individual business should do their own research as well as looking at how their competitors are using social media, in order to ensure a good understanding of the social media platform they are considering. There are multiple platforms on the market, but here is an overview of two key players in the social media world:

What is Facebook?

Facebook is the most successful social network on the planet with over 500 million active users across the world. They have a large, dedicated development team that is constantly finding ways to push it forward in order to make it a more powerful tool for businesses.

The primary aim of Facebook is to allow friends to update each other with their daily lives, like a message board with snippets of news, photos and links. It also encourages communities within itself; like-minded people, clubs and friendship groups can join private areas where they can communicate with each other to share their passions and interests. This is where the business aspect comes in. A business can start a fan page where they then encourage people to join by clicking the ‘like’ button. This then allows the business to post messages that the user (and their friends) can see in their personal news feeds. The fan page itself should be used to encourage interaction and discussion between its members.

Should my business use Facebook?

Is your business the type that people will get passionate about? Do your customers have common ground that would allow a community to form? A good example of this might be Ben and Jerry’s ice-cream; their brand has a fun personality which customers like to associate themselves with. They use Facebook to announce competitions, launch new flavours and encourage customer feedback. Another good example is outdoor clothing company North Face; their customers share a love of the outdoors and their fan page is a mixture of posts from North Face about the latest outdoor challenges as well as from users enthusing about their outdoor lifestyles. If you can see your customers connecting with you and each other in this way then this could be a good platform for you.

What is Twitter?

Twitter is similar to Facebook in that it is designed for social interaction, but in a much simpler, quicker and more transient fashion. The best way to think of it is like a radio station; you get your own station to broadcast short messages (tweets) to people who choose to tune in to you. These messages should be fun, interesting or informative. If someone really likes your message, they may choose to broadcast it to their own followers (re-tweet) therefore giving you more exposure. People can also message you directly and their message and your response will be viewable by everyone.

It is important to note that unlike Facebook, Twitter is absolutely public, so even non-Twitter users can view any tweets you make or that others make about you.

Should my business use Twitter?

There are two advantages of using Twitter for your business: the first is that you can build up a brand personality – especially if are you fun, an expert in your field or a source of interesting or useful information? All of your tweets build up a picture of who you are. Secondly, the more tweets you make, the more you are reminding potential customers that you are there, which essentially is free advertising for you.

Do you have the time and manpower to administer it or keep it up to date?

For both of these platforms this question is very important. To get something out of a social media website you need to be prepared to put a lot of effort in. There must be someone in your organisation that is willing to update, add to and administer your page to keep people interested and engaged. Otherwise you generate no positive interaction by using it, and it is possible that you may look unpopular or appear to have nothing of interest to say. It is also of the upmost importance to keep it current (either newsworthy or topical) and up to date. If you can’t keep up with it, don’t do it!

Be prepared to take the positive and the negative

Using social networks in business relies on tapping in to the likes and dislikes of your audience; it functions in the same manner as ‘word of mouth’ and if you get your messages right you can successfully use this to your advantage. However, don’t forget that word of mouth can be both positive and negative. If you are a cake shop and nine people post a message or tweet that they love your cakes but one says they hate them – are you prepared to take the rough with the smooth? Many companies believe this shows an openness and willingness to listen and respond to customers that can be very beneficial, where others prefer not to open themselves up to criticism and public debate.

All these issues mean choosing whether to use a social network for business does not have a simple answer. What is clear, however, is that you need to understand them, they need to be right for your particular business and you need someone to nurture them into life as they won’t look after themselves. Are you willing to invest business time and energy into getting sociable? The choice is entirely yours to make.