Marketing: Opportunity & Insurance

What is Marketing?

I get asked this question quite a bit; why are my sales down? I understand the frustration in the voices on the other end of the phone when I start asking questions instead of making excuses why the marketing isn’t working. The fact is, I don’t know if the marketing isn’t working or if there is something else going on that we need to know about and address. The reason is that Marketing IS NOT Sales!

Marketing Is Not Sales - Spark Marketer

If marketing is not sales then we first must define what marketing really is. Seth Godin says, “Marketing is a contest for getting people’s attention.” I believe this is true. However, I also believe in business, marketing is creating an opportunity to make sales.

Marketing is Opportunity

If you think about these two statements they go hand in hand. There is so much going on online and off in people’s lives that you have to be the one out there getting the attention of your potential customers as well as keeping your current customers attention so they won’t forget you. But once you have their attention, then what? Are you leading them into a sales funnel? Are you showing off your expertise? Are you giving them opportunity to engage with you by asking questions? Are you actively answering their questions? Do you have a set written plan how to lead them from one place to another through your sales funnel after the phone call or appointment form?

With this said, if your marketing efforts are not providing you with ample opportunities, then you need to take a hard look at what you are doing to get people’s attention in order to give your company opportunity to sell.

Marketing is Insurance

One of the most interesting things I have ever heard about marketing is it provides insurance to a company who understands and uses it correctly. We’ve all been through hard times and when many companies see their bottom line shrinking; their marketing budget shrinks with them. However, for those companies that realize without great marketing bringing them those opportunities, the bottom line of their business will shrink even further.

Over the past four years I could tell you without ever looking at the numbers, which companies we worked for would make it through the Great Recession. Without fail, every company that kept their marketing dollars the same or increased them has taken over a bigger share of the market they had before the recession. Why? While their competitors pulled back and went in hiding they came out and dominated their marketplace. And now that things are getting back on solid ground, those companies simply can no longer compete because no one knows about them anymore.

Marketing keeps you in the game in all types of conditions and is insurance for not being relevant anymore. It’s insurance that your name and company will still be in the game and we all know if you aren’t in the game it’s over.

So What Do You Do Now?

I believe that no matter where you are in life, you can always choose a different path by changing your attitude. Almost across the board the people who do well despite the conditions of the economy, their personal life or business do so by changing their attitude.

One of my favorite quotes in regard to attitude is from Thomas Jefferson: “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”

One thing we all have is choices and we are each responsible for the ones we make. If you do nothing else today, choose to have a positive and right mental attitude toward your business. Make goals and make a plan to reach them. Research and do the work required to get to where you want to be. Hire people to help you with marketing, sales, training, etc. if it will get you to where you want to go quicker.

It’s all up to you. You can do it if you choose to.

Twitter Basics for Marketing Your Business

In my last post, I talked about marketing your business on Facebook. Now I’d like to go over some basics of Twitter. It can be a great way to  market your company. However, it will take a concerted effort, and a willingness to have conversations with people…in 140 characters, no less! Here are some tips to get you started. Remember, these are just the basics. You will learn more as you get more involved in the Twitter community.

Spark Marketer on Twitter

  • When choosing a Twitter name, keep it as short as possible. With only 140 available characters in a tweet, shorter Twitter names are easier to retweet and mention.
  • Don’t follow everyone. Twitter is great for finding information, and for networking with others. Following everyone under the sun will only clog your news feed, and make Twitter harder for you to use.
  • Do follow people and companies that are interesting to you and/or are related to your business.
  • Retweet and mention those that you follow. This will encourage them to do the same for you.
  • Be sure to tweet to others and respond to tweets addressed to you in a timely manner. If you don’t engage with others, they will not engage with you. Twitter is a social platform, not a microphone.
  • Avoid ideological topics (politics, religion, etc.) that will alienate part of your potential customer base. Of course, that is unless you only want to do business with certain groups of people based on their ideology (not recommended). This type of customer selection tends to have a way of tanking your social presence and, in some cases, your business.
  • Add graphics and a profile photo to your Twitter account. The Twitter egg is the default profile pic, and no one is going to follow, or give credence to, an egg. At minimum, put up a profile pic of you or your company logo.

Take time to think about how you want to approach Twitter. Be intentional, and be willing to learn by doing. Most of all, don’t be afraid! You’re not going to break Twitter.

Facebook Marketing Basics for Your Business

Not everyone is going to understand how to market their business on Facebook right out of the gate. In fact, I’d venture to say no one  just “gets it” immediately. Marketing your business on Facebook takes a willingness to try new things, and be unafraid to do it wrong. It takes being willing to have a conversation with your audience, and being okay with letting them see your individual personality.

facebook-marketing-sparkmarketer

Here’s a list of basics I’ve put together to try and help small business owners get their company seen on Facebook:

  • Do setup a Facebook page for your business, and set your page to public. This helps it to be easily discoverable by both Google and potential customers.
  • Do NOT use your personal account for business. Besides annoying your friends, it will be difficult to impossible to for potential customers to see your content. Plus, business pages are the norm, and using a personal account for business looks amateurish. People don’t do business with amateurs.
  • It is perfectly acceptable to post the daily goings-on in your business. This comes with a caveat. Don’t put things like how your child lost a tooth or had their first grown-up potty. No one cares about that stuff. They would care about the charitable work your employees do or the new things you’re learning to better serve them.
  • Add a cover photo and profile pic for your business page; preferably a professional graphic that is consistent with your overall branding.
  • Post content, both original and from trusted sources, consistently. This helps you come across as knowledgeable. You will be seen as an authority.
  • Respond to comments on your page: both positive and negative. When responding to negative comments, never go negative in return. Ever. Negative responses only make you and your business look petty and unfriendly to customers. When people see that, they will flock to your competitors.
  • Posts with pictures get 120% more engagement. Choose articles that have images or post pictures of the work you do to get optimal customer interaction.

Follow these basics of Facebook marketing, while also experimenting with some things on your own. You can only learn to use Facebook effectively by actually doing it. If you’re willing to put in the time and actually interact with your customers, you’ll find Facebook to be a vital marketing channel for your business.