Regardless of what the economy is doing, Any CEOâ€™s worth their salt are always looking for ways to get more value for their dollar and strengthen the bottom line. If your company has been burned by the 20 something that you hired because they were a friend of the family or they sounded smarter than you in regards to marketing or whatever the case, you may have spent way more money on a website and SEO/SEM and social media than are willing to admit in public.
I can understand your reluctance to try anyone or anything new. It reminds me of a story.
Once upon a time, (all good stories start with once upon a time, right) a very successful man owned a construction company. His workers though, used rope and mud and straw and rocks to build the buildings. Then one day the business ownerâ€™s good friend came to lunch and and told him that he had a tool box filled with new tools and and with these tools, he could help his workers build better and the word would get out about how great their construction company is and people would come from all over the lands to do business with them and it would be so much easier for the employees who are doing the building. Well, the owner agreed to this idea and paid his friend very well. After all, things are going well, and if his friend can help him grow his business even larger with these tools, then itâ€™s worth a try. The owner didnâ€™t understand the tools or how they worked. His friend seemed to know what he was talking about though. After a few years, the employees started to complain about the ownerâ€™s friend. They said his tools didnâ€™t work and he didnâ€™t even know how to use them. The owner was in a bad spot. This was his friend after all! He was also losing money though and, nothing to show for his investment in his friend or these new and fancy tools that were supposed to grow his business.
The two men fell into conflict. It was the first serious rift in 40 years of friendship side by side, sharing meals, drinks, and trading labor and goods as needed without a hitch.
Then the long collaboration fell apart.
One morning there was a knock on the business ownerâ€™s door. He opened it to find a man with a carpenterâ€™s toolbox. â€œIâ€™m looking for a few days workâ€ he said.
â€œPerhaps you would have a few small jobs here and there. Could I help you? I have several years of experience and referencesâ€¦â€
â€œNO,â€ said the business owner. â€œI trusted one person and they failed me. I tried a lot of different things that he said to try and nothing worked. I wonâ€™t waste any more money on someone else telling me about how they can grow my business or make my employees jobs easier!â€
The carpenter said, â€œI think I understand the situation. If you give me an opportunity, I will guarantee my work. If I donâ€™t bring value that you can measure and see with your own eyes, You can fire me and not pay me.â€
The carpenter worked hard all that day measuring, sawing, nailing and showing the other employees and word began to spread around the town.
About six months later, the carpenter had just finished his job on the new building using the new tools and techniques. The business ownerâ€™s eyes opened wide, his jaw dropped.
â€œYou are quite a fellow to build this building after I told you I didnâ€™t trust you and didnâ€™t want to try your tools,â€ said the business owner.
Word spread about the company and how their buildings were better than anyone elseâ€™s and people were travelingÂ from all over to do business with the companyâ€¦
â€œHow were you able to do so much with the same tools as my old friend where he wasnâ€™t?â€
â€œItâ€™s one thing to have the tools and techniques. Itâ€™s quite another to know how to use them,â€ said the carpenter.
So, the point of the story is not all tactics or campaigns will work all the time. Not every self-proclaimed marketing expert is in fact one who delivers results. Donâ€™t quit all marketing and advertising just because it didnâ€™t work one time.
Here is what the one man marketing expert should be doing:
- Marketing plan
- This goes without saying yet is still rarely done. Start with a plan and execute the plan and make adjustments along the way.
- Media/design style guide
- Without this, the brand identity is unfocussed and sloppy.
- strategy and daily checklist for social media across all channels such as
â€“ Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Youtube, Google+, Pinterest
- This checklist allows the management of priorities.
- Gain free PR through journalists on twitter
- These are easily found and many journalists are accessable.
- Register with online directories
- Get online reviews from your customers on social media sites
â€“ Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Yelp, Manta, BBB, Yahoo Local, Bing, Foursquare, Kudzu, Localeze and Google Trusted Seller Rating / Review sites
- Add regular content with best keywords for your business to you website for SEO
- Have your website tell your story
â€“ Engage your target audience with why their life will be better with you in it.
- Place targeted ads on targeted sites (b2b or b2c)
- Make ads with a call to action and reward for taking the action
Use the above tactics as part of a larger strategy to create raving fans and reward them for telling your story for you
When youâ€™re a solopreneur or a very small business owner or the only person in the small business marketing department, time availability is extremely constrained. Regardless of the situation, time remains to be the most valuable and limited resource and managing priorities are an invaluable skill. I know I definitely donâ€™t like getting sucked into a task that I think will only take a couple minutes and that was 3 hours ago. Has that ever happened to you? Like checking email or updating a social media status for the business. These activities are time drainers or black holes.
To minimize that from occurring, I like to focus the majority of my time on MMA (Money Making Activities). It can be a challenge at first, yet as you practice managing and scheduling priorities which contribute to the bottomline, the better you will get it and the easier it will be because you are becoming a person who naturally focuses on MMA like calling on clients and potential clients and serving the clients.
There is a saying: Youâ€™re either working on your business or working in it. Obviously, you want to develop systems that create efficiencies and better use of time as your business grows so you can eventually hire others to assist in the marketing activities. Here are the Top 3 action items that I highly recommend you take away from this article:
- Make a list of outcomes and work backward to determine required benchmarks and timeframes.
- Block out on your Google Calendar the daily priorities, even lunch and stick to it.
- Find inexpensive virtual assistants or outside talent to handle as much as you can budget. This will take some vetting above and beyond reading their reviews. You may have to try several people out before finding a successful fit.
This should be a fair start. I look forward to reading feedback from my fellow marketers.