I thought I would clear up some misconceptions about marketing in this two-part series: What Marketing Can Do For You and What Marketing Can't Do For You. We'll start with the positive.
Over the years, I've had dealings with some business owners who have a rather skewed perception of marketing. They think you throw a few ads out there, get a couple of press releases printed and voila! You’re a big success.
Oh, if it only were that easy. (Although if it were, I probably wouldn’t have a job.)
But there's no getting around that to have a successful business, you need a solid marketing plan.
So what CAN marketing do for you? Increase your business -- no question about it. You need to be marketing if you want to grow your business.
However (and this is a really big however) marketing is NOT going to result in overnight success. Marketing is about slow growth, building on last week's success and forgetting about last month's failures. (Or what you THINK are failures. It's not uncommon that a campaign you think is a dismal disappointment may be what caused the next campaign to take off.)
Marketing is about frequency -- about your target market seeing your offer over and over again until they're finally ready to buy. Without that very important frequency, your business will start to stagnate and eventually die.
Now that doesn't mean you won't have a major success with a campaign. Even a massive, amazing, unbelievable success. You'll run one ad or be featured in an article and wham! You end up with more orders than you know what to do with. While that's a great shot in the arm, it probably won't last unless you keep building upon it. Eventually the orders will dry up and you'll be back to where you were before.
Marketing is also about being consistent. This goes back to building on successes. Your customers need to see your message over and over again. This builds trust and credibility. Plus, your current customers will also respond to that frequency. Not only will they not "forget" about you and go to your competitor, but it will help build their trust in you as well.
Lastly, marketing is about working hard. There's no getting around it. To be successful means putting in the time and energy to continually market yourself. (You can also pay someone to help you with it, but basically it comes down to someone somewhere has to put in the time to continually market you.)
If you remember nothing else, remember this: If you don't implement your marketing strategies, nothing is going to happen.
That last sentence seems obvious, but again, I'm amazed at how many people I run into who aren't willing to do the work. They talk about it, but when it actually comes down to doing something, they somehow never seem to get around to it.
One way to overcome that is to plan on doing one task or a little marketing every day. Then it doesn't seem quite so overwhelming. Me, I make a commitment to do X number of marketing tasks a week, regardless of how much time that takes.
Marketing is a commitment. There's no getting around it. If you have a business, then you have no choice but to make a commitment to marketing on a consistent basis until the day comes when you decide you don't want a business anymore.
Creativity Exercise -- Make a Commitment
Since I'm interested in having all of you succeed, I want YOU to make a commitment right now to market your business on a regular basis.
Write this statement on a piece of paper, filling in your name in the proper place.
I, YOUR NAME, am making a commitment to market my business on a regular basis from now until I decide I don’t want to be in business any more.
Sign and date it.
I suggest posting it in a place where you can see it while you're working. Or, if you really want to add some accountability to your commitment, tell someone about it. You can even tell me about it -- just send me an e-mail at Michele@writingusa.com. There's nothing like announcing your intention to keeping you honest.