Excerpt from the book “My Area Marketing” by Scott Channell.
Believe in Something.
When faced with multiple marketing choices, different opinions, a sewing circle that hates the approach and a sales rep with a “great deal” is making a convincing case everything that used to work is now “dead” and the one tactic they represent will be a game changer for you…what are you going to do?
Well, if you do not possess core beliefs to guide you in such times, you are going to make a lot of poor marketing decisions. You will discount the proven because some people don’t like it. You will favor the familiar, the popular and the marketing shiny object of the month over what would work best for you.
Your core beliefs keep you on track. Your core beliefs keep you in the high-probability zone.
1. Good Marketing Moves Numbers.
What numbers are you trying to move?
Choose from some combination of gross revenue, profit, margin dollars, number of new accounts or clients, average account size, percentage of repeat or referral business or number of first-time clients. Establish some combination of specific measurable objectives.
“Getting your name out” or “building your brand” is woefully inadequate.
You sharpen your marketing approach with specific measurable goals you can track against.
2. Gain Clarity About Ideal Clients.
You need a clear description of clients who are most profitable, most satisfied, most likely to buy again or refer, contribute the most to your bottom line and those you enjoy working with.
Now, here is where many local marketers start to slide down the greased chute to marketing frustration and wasted money. They think, “Wait a minute. I don’t want to limit myself to just ideal clients, I also want average clients. In fact, I have a good number of less than average value clients I barely make any money with, but I like them and don’t want to miss out on them.”
Gaining clarity about your ideal clients is about sharpening your marketing message and making better decisions about placement.
Focus on reaching ideal clients in your marketing bullseye. You will project a clearer, more powerful message to all. Even those outside of your bullseye will better recognize what you do and your competitive difference.
When your ideal client bullseye resembles the side of a barn more than the center of a target, your marketing messages and placements get watered down with less impact on all potential clients: Ideal, average and below average.
3. Identify The Most Successful: Do What They Do.
It does not matter what service or product you are selling locally. Similar companies, somewhere, doing pretty much what you are doing or want to do are much more successful than most.
Using easily available, many times free tools, you can identify the largest companies in your space, those in business the longest, those with the highest gross revenues, those whose websites get the most traffic and have the highest SEO value. You can identify those in your industry successfully using pay per click, review the ads and keyword placements they use and extract other useful information. There are many things you can do to get “recon” on those that are where you want to be and most successful.
There are companies in your space who learn from marketing trial and error and survive to try another day. Others paid competent people to advise them to get their marketing right.
Get on their email lists. Study what they do. Visit them.
The closer you align your behaviors with the behaviors of the most successful in your industry, or those in a situation like yours that grew and prospered, the greater the odds of your success.
4. Pick Your Mentors and Your Information Sources Carefully.
Unfortunately, too many local marketers have wasted tens of thousands of dollars on marketing tactics or tools to generate not one dime of results.
Incomplete, inaccurate or biased information seduced them. You need not be a marketing expert, but you must know enough to tell a real marketing expert from someone pretending to be. You must know enough.
Many years ago, having been burned too many times, I decided to ignore advice from anyone who has not “been there, done that.” As soon as someone says “(fill in the blank) is dead,” buh-bye. Anyone preaching ONE THING is the answer. See you later.
If you follow the crowd and do what most do, you will take a long walk on a short marketing pier.
5. Understand Concepts of Reach, Frequency and Impact.
Consider this true story. A law firm draws almost all of its business within a 10-mile radius. It airs commercials on a regional television station watched by those within a 100-mile radius.
That campaign has a reach of 100 miles. As the station is regional, ad time is expensive, so they do not run many commercials, just 2 a week. There is low frequency.
As for the clients most likely to hire them, those within 10 miles of the office, that marketing campaign had little impact. Why? As the firm ran only two spots a week on only one station, their potential future clients, if they saw them at all, saw them infrequently so little impact was made.
What about all those who saw the commercials located over 10 miles from the office? Well, besides the low frequency they were too far away so there was no impact on them. 90% Of that firm’s spend was wasted.
That firm tired of spending a lot of money with few results. They changed their strategy. They broadcast on local cable for more focus on their target bullseye and less waste. Their reach was to a smaller geographic area where most of their clients and prospects were located.
As spots were more affordable, they ran a ton of them on multiple stations. There was smaller reach, but more frequency. That campaign impacted their ideal client prospect pool and was a great success — and at 30% of the cost of the failed campaign.
This Was a Very Poor Marketing Bet.
A couple of pages ago I made a harsh statement that small businesses marketing locally do a lot of dumb marketing stuff. The above is an outstanding example of that.
I am sure the sales rep or agency pitching that regional TV station produced a ton of stats, testimonials, and social proof to justify the choice. But it was a really dumb idea, virtually certain to fail. You cannot make mistakes like that. The law firm told me they went with the regional station buy as it was the same station they watched “The Three Stooges” on as kids and “everybody” watched. Talk about knuckleheads.
This was the largest amount of money they ever spent on marketing. 90% Of the people reached were not likely prospects as they were too far away. 10% Of the people reached were local and prime prospects, but as the spot aired on only one station sparingly, there was low frequency and did practically nothing to alter awareness and shape perceptions of those most likely to be ideal clients. There was no impact.
Consider Reach, Frequency and Impact, for Every Marketing Tactic You Consider.
It may be marketing tactics you are familiar with and very much wish would work, just will not reach enough potential ideal clients to move your marketing numbers.
6. To Create Awareness, Build Credibility and Stimulate an Action. Be Where Your Potential Clients Are.
What are your best potential clients interacting with before and during their “who should I do business with” decision-making process? You need to be where they are.
You must interact with enough perfect prospects to even have a chance of reaching objectives. Sounds basic, yet local marketers make this mistake far too frequently. They spend money on marketing tools that don’t reach enough solid prospects.
If your best prospects are going to be thinking on some level about a major purchase or life event change for 12 months before settling on a short list of vendors or service providers, you need to be interacting with them during those 12 months.
You might have great SEO and local paid search visibility. When an active buyer starts checking out providers, you show up. But, if an active buyer has already formed favorable impressions of others and don’t know you, those competitors have an advantage.
How many potential buyers in your area are “thinking about” or actively searching for a vendor or service provider like you?
Which marketing tools will reach them? Which tools will enable you to interact with them in such a way favorable perceptions of you grow?
Manage your visibility at each stage of a prospect’s buying journey. Be where they are.