I see it all the time. Someone decides to take the leap and start their own business, and the first thing they do is set up every social network they can. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and others. Then they e-mail a newsletter to potential clients, followed by posting comments on blogs and forums.
Then they wonder why no one calls, why their product or service isn’t selling and panic sets in as money runs out.
The Internet, and social networking, is a seductive mistress. They are fast, easy and most importantly, free. Free is a big draw to someone who is starting a business on a limited budget. And even though everyone is talking about the Internet, how effective is it as a marketing tool for you? That depends on your product or service, and who your clients are. The Internet is likely to be a far more successful marketing tool if your clients are under 20 years of age, then if they are over 70. Its success with business contacts vary widely too. I’ve seen survey results from some industries where the buyers say they completely ignore social networking, and ignore e-mails that come from people they don’t know.
There are two reasons why all this online marketing doesn’t work at making a business a success. The first is that it may not be the correct venue for their prospective clients. Someone starting a business needs to ask themselves several questions.
- Who are my clients?
- Where are my clients?
- What do they read, watch and listen to?
- What problem do they have that I’m trying to solve?
The second reason is that many people put all of their marketing efforts into the Internet, but in reality, the Internet is just one marketing tool out of many that a business needs to be using.
After you answer the above questions, you need to create a complete marketing plan. This may, or may not, include:
- Social networking
- E-mail campaigns
- Mailing postcards, brochures or other material
- Creating a magalog
- Writing articles to sell to publications
- Writing articles for your website, blog and free article sites
- Attending Chamber of Commerce mixers, business networking meetings and seminars
- Going to events where potential clients can be found
I know it’s very tempting to sit at home and use your computer to find clients, but to be successful you have to go out into the world, and meet people face to face.
Successful marketing of a business requires a detailed plan focused on your client’s needs and desires. There are countless ways to do this, and to stand out from the crowd. While putting together your plan, I would suggest reading 1001 Ways To Market Your Books by Kremer. It’s full of ideas that people in any industry can use. Also, read Guerrilla Marketing by Levinson. He has several other books, and a good website at www.gmarketing.com.
Fight your urge to play it safe, and get out there and tell people how fantastic you really are so your business will succeed.