In the last few weeks since starting my consulting business full-time, I have had the opportunity to have several conversations with friends, family, and associates. I’ve noticed a trend.
This trend happens to be acceptance of marketing advice when given by a professional or accepted by an industry. (Here I am a professional giving advice while dogging other professional advice….)
Anyways, one of my hats is that of consultant, another is that of small business owner. So I also have the privilege of sorting through this advice as well.
Does the marketing advice apply to your specific market?
The absolute must in your research is to question what you hear. You should question everything that comes out of my mouth, too.
In one instance, I was speaking with a family member, who shall remain nameless, but let’s call him…. my dad. He is a very successful real estate agent in Alaska, where I am from originally. He tells me that he went to this seminar where they were talking about LinkedIn and he learned that he absolutely must be on LinkedIn and engaging to establish himself as a subject matter expert.
He’s doing great already, but would like more clients. My first question to him is, “Is your ideal client using LinkedIn?” He isn’t sure but from the presentation he has learned that LinkedIn is growing and “will overtake Facebook“… I’m not so sure about that, but apparently he saw some facts and figures that suggested this. Okay, even if this were the case, I’d still be asking, “Where does your ideal client hangout online?”
Don’t get me wrong, you should be on LinkedIn, and you should be making an effort to establish yourself as an expert. In fact, if you aren’t on LinkedIn, please go sign up right after you read this.
What I am saying is that you should prioritize your actions and marketing based on what makes the most sense for your target market. Get the greatest bang for the buck.
It doesn’t matter AT ALL what research suggests if you are not paying attention to your current clients and ideal prospects. It’s the same thing with Facebook and Twitter. Ask a lot of business owners why they have profiles and the answer will probably be something like, “well, we know that we have to be on social media to stay in business…”, right…. How do you use those platforms? Having the page doesn’t matter, in fact it looks even worse if you haven’t updated or engaged in a long time. Don’t just have the platforms, USE THEM!
Interviewing your ideal clients will tell you exactly where you need to be.
There is a huge disconnect between how people use the web and how businesses try to integrate social media. Look around you, see what everyone is doing, pay attention to what you yourself are doing. You have adequate access to a wealth of knowledge in your everyday life. If you already have a number of clients/customers, you should invest in surveying or interviewing them to learn what makes them tick.
So far I have framed all of this around social media, but the same applies to any other marketing tactic. One that is absolutely crazy to me is the insistence of businesses to keep running phonebook ads. If your ideal client is 65 years or older, then maybe there is a possible valid reason to run one. But, many of the businesses I talk to are not targeting the elderly, and I can guarantee you that their phonebook ad does not produce a return on investment. They don’t even use the phonebook themselves but still think it works…
Are you measuring the ROI of your marketing efforts? Where could you focus your efforts to better serve your clients?
I’d love to hear some of the common advice you get regarding marketing. Please share in the comments below.