By Gil Effron
Growing up in marketing, advertising, and direct mail, too often I saw business owners load their guns with a single, magical marketing bullet — a silver bullet — and pull the trigger.
They hoped and believed — erroneously — that they could deploy a single message that would bring them instant fame and fortune.
What they failed to do was to rely on two very helpful friends in marketing: repetition and frequency. Instead of thinking in terms of a campaign, they took what they considered to be their best shot.
I certainly can relate to business owners who panic when the economy isn’t cooperating and business is bad. I can also empathize with their need to deploy that single, magical marketing bullet. But in all honesty, a single reactive message or tactic cannot and will not replace proactive strategic marketing planning.
So what do you do when you need a silver bullet and don’t feel you have the time to sit down and do some serious planning or the resources to implement an expansive campaign?
First, focus on customers and clients you are serving now and/or have served within the past several years. The old adage still holds true that it’s easier to sell more to someone with whom you have an established relationship than to create a new relationship. Contact those customers and clients. Do it as personally as you can. Don’t do it as a sales call, but to chat about business, challenges, threats, and opportunities. Certainly feel free to ask for referrals.
Second, look at your client attraction process. If it isn’t pulling as well as it has in the past, that’s a sign that it needs to change. The change may involve the message itself and/or the offer. But — and this is more of an issue today than ever — you may be delivering that message through the wrong channels. Thanks to social media, we have more channels than ever to choose from. Depending on your business, pick one, create a plan, and get some help to keep messages flowing to an ever-expanding target market.
Don’t knock social media because you think it is beyond your means, time, or abilities. With one of my clients, for example, we created a simple way to use LinkedIn’s InMail to generate a healthy flow of contacts and leads. This process included searching people who met our client’s criteria and sending them a short email that did nothing more than invite an open conversation about how our client and they could work together.
Third, take a look at your website. If your website is not current… if it does not fully represent and accurately reflect your business as it is today… then you have a problem that needs to be fixed. Regardless of what business or market segment you are in, consumers turn to the Internet to learn more about a company, to compare, and to consider their options before taking their next step.
In my opinion, it is better to have a small website that IS current and reflective of where you are today than a dinosaur that isn’t doing you any good. With our clients, for example, we’re solving outdated website problems like this through WordPress and simple templates that can be easily and quickly personalized. The best part is the speed and ease with which you can create new current copy and plug it into the WordPress template. What used to take many months can be accomplished in a matter of weeks or even days.
While there are no magical marketing bullets or silver bullets, there are small, relatively inexpensive steps that any business can take to gain more traction and improve their results.
© 2011 Gil Effron
About the author
Gil Effron is a New York City based marketing consultant and author of the book How to Give Your Business an Extreme Marketing Makeover. For more information about the book and the five-step process mentioned above, visit 10dayMarketingMakeover.com.