Friday, August 23, 2013

Marketing Makes A Difference

Marketing can’t wait until your product is ready to go to market. That is too late. At that point you NEED sales and a needy sales person can’t sell very well. The pressure is too great. So marketing has to start early.
It is wonderful if you have the money to get a nice fat marketing package, build a brand, get everything perfect and then start a systematic approach but the reality is most small business owners don't start that way. Most start with a skill or an idea. They get busy doing and then they find some customers and then when they realize they have something that sells they look around and consider that they want a bigger piece of the pie. Now they think of marketing. Sometimes it is too far into the process and they are already in financial trouble. Or perhaps they have a large client so they don't think there is a need to spend the money, but marketing is essential to ongoing success. It needs to start right away, it needs to continue when times are good, and it needs to already driving business towards you when that one big client does a sudden exit.

Marketing Does Not Have To Be Expensive
I had no money at all three years ago, but fortunately I had some social media skills that others did not have yet. I used these skills on my own business as well as for clients and that got the ball rolling. I could not afford radio, TV, newspaper so there simply was no dispute about where to spend marketing dollars. That proved to be a good thing because while others were debating the merits of social media I had no choice but to put my all into it and fortunately it worked magically. We became our own best customer. We drank our own koolaid. Later when Loyal2U would sell our services we could say with confidence that Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn when used properly will get your phone ringing. The fact that we were still in business was proof positive. If it did not work we would have been in the 80% that had failed. We only used social media marketing. We never used anything else.
Social Media Marketing Is Effective
Later when I began growing the Calgary Business Network and then the Canadian Imperial Business Network we hired Loyal2U to do our marketing. For the networks we continued to only use social media marketing. Our phone rings every week, many times a week. When they call, they are looking to attend a meeting or buy a membership on the spot. The marketing works.

We used to have to prove that it works every day to every potential client. Now more and more people are hearing success stories and social media marketing is becoming more accepted as a viable marketing option. While some are still ingrained in archaic methods, most forward moving companies have at least the basics in place.

Marketing Can Be Integrated Across Multiple Platforms
Many of the Loyal2U clients came to us already using magazine articles, radio, web design and promotional events. We learned exciting ways to integrate their marketing with the online work that we were doing through social media, blogging and YouTube.
Marketing also included having business cards, brochures, sales support pieces, and being sure that the website answered the necessary questions. The CBN inherited our websites in acquisitions and again had little money for making them the perfectly designed platform. So we did the best we could and we made sure that they were at least clean with good information. That was enough. The social media marketing added to that was what made the difference. Every week tweets and posts were consistently made. Blogs were written. Publications were created. A funnel of activity was produced and it began to pay off in a short period of time.
Good Marketing Assists The Sales Process
Marketing makes the sales job easier. It takes at least 7 touches to get the sale. If a person has already seen you on Facebook, looked at your Linkedin profile, and read your blog they have been touched 3 times before they even met you. It is now easier to get to the 7th touch. The sales cycle is shortened. Marketing is key to your business success. You must invest in it, and there is a cost to a successful marketing program. Time and money are necessary. Many companies make the mistake of investing thousands of dollars into their product and do not prepare the market to receive their product. The stage needs to be set and followers need to be gained so that when the announcements of new products come there is a group of connected people listening to that message.

At first we had no money so we put in lots of time and then we were able to hire a couple of people to help out and we put more time and money into it. Now it is a free flowing vortex of activity. But why wouldn’t you do it? Why would you spend thousands of dollars on a facility, IT, infrastructure and other things but not invest in your marketing? We spent more money on marketing that on any other expense and that is what made the difference. It is one of three things that we now tell people has created success for the CIBN network and our other affiliations.

We hope that you put some priority on your marketing. Tell us how you are doing.

Always Loyal2U,

Kerry George

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