Almost daily, I (Roger) get an email or call from a business owner lamenting how they have their “strategy” all mapped out. What I typically find, after talking with them for 5-10 minutes, is that they have a group of disjointed tactics that they’re planning to test out. They’re confusing being “busy” doing tactical stuff with having a strategy.
How Marketing is Like Sex
Yep, I said it … marketing is like sex because everybody thinks they’re good at it. Rarely do employees tell a business owner they’re not good at marketing so the lie only gets reaffirmed in their mind more often than not.
Consider this … even when sex is bad, it’s still pretty good right? Marketing is the polar opposite because it can make you look like a complete buffoon when you screw it up yet you won’t take the hint. You’ll blame it on the market, economy, some consultant, or the timing.
Take some time to read this post right now because it could save you from making a buffoon out of yourself.
What a Strategy is NOT
Let’s be straight with one another … running a business isn’t easy. Being a strategist isn’t either so let’s understand what strategy is not before defining what it is, shall we?
If you go from chamber meeting to chamber meeting then BNI group to BNI group looking for a stockpile of leads while running a Yellow Pages ad and you just overhauled your website to look “prettier,” that’s not a strategy.
If you’re planning to implement SEO and PPC within the next 3-6 months, that’s not a strategy.
If you do a bunch of tradeshows every year, that’s not a strategy.
If you have an outside sales force that’s making 100 cold calls/day, that’s not a strategy. That’s a tactic!
Even if you do everything just outlined, you’re operating tactically. In fact, that’s what I like to call “Silo Marketing” where you do a bunch of separate tasks in hopes that they somehow deliver a windfall at some point in the future.
What a Strategy IS
A strategy enables you to leverage a combination of marketing vehicles to build your business seamlessly and systematically. A strategy also has a defined timeframe associated so that results can be measured.
For example, a marketing strategy may involve the following:
1) You create a special report entitled “The 5 Things You Must Know Before Buying Your Next Widget That Can Save You Thousands” which you offer to new prospects free of charge. You also repackage that report as a video and a podcast to reinforce your message.
2) You then develop a lead capture form on every page of your website so that prospects can get your report in exchange for their contact information and permission to follow up.
3) Their registration to get the report feeds an auto-responder follow up sequence in the background that also triggers telemarketing efforts at pre-determined intervals to prevent leads from slipping through the cracks.
4) You then rent and mail to targeted lists (email and/or snail mail) to promote your special report on your website.
5) Next, you craft a press release announcing the availability of your lead magnet on your website which you distribute nationally.
6) Maybe you run radio, TV and trade journal ads promoting your lead magnet on your website.
7) You print up special business cards that promote your lead magnet and how to obtain it on the back of the card.
8) You team up with complementary businesses to promote your lead magnet with the ability to pay a commission or exchange services should someone buy from you.
9) You write and distribute articles, documents, white papers and produce short online videos promoting your lead magnet that you spread across the web.
The nine steps outlined form the baseline of a marketing strategy because everything builds upon one another versus just doing a few separate tasks that merely serve to make you look busy.
The timeframe to implement such a strategy can be anywhere from a couple of days to 6 months depending upon where you are today. Ditto in terms of when you’ll likely begin to see tangible results.
Strategic Questions to Ask Yourself
Here are some questions to answer that will help you formulate a strategy versus a tactical silo effort.
What are your lead generating offers? Who are the best targets for those offers? How are you reaching them now?
How many leads are generated via the following, and how much does each cost per month (whether it’s time, money, or barter)?
- Internet (website, SEO, PPC, banner ads, etc.)
- One-on-one interactions (BNI groups, referrals, cold calls, social networking, mobile, etc.)
- Education (white papers, case studies, buyer’s guides, etc.)
- Public / Media relations (press releases, articles, features in the news)
- Events (trade shows, lunch-n-learns, seminars, etc.)
- Advertising (sponsorships, radio, TV, crusty Yellow Pages, ValPak, etc.)
- Sales literature (brochures, business cards, slicks, etc.)
- Partnerships (JVs, endorsements, affiliates, etc.)
How many leads does it take to close a deal? Is that number increasing or decreasing?
How long do you have to follow up until they buy? Is that time period increasing or decreasing?
How much of your initial follow up is automated?
What’s a typical first deal worth? What’s the upsell process? How many people take the upsell?
Should you need help piecing everything together, please give me (Roger) a call at (502) 394-0460.