What we most certainly know is most business owners can be lazy when it comes to marketing. Easy and cheap options are not a recipe for success.
I’m a true believer that to be passionate about your business you have to take ownership in every facet of your business. You have to know, not just believe that the efforts you make and the steps you’ve chosen to follow are a recipe for success. This chosen direction is based on facts, research, industry trends, and other reliable sources. It involves not only how your day to day operation is run, but also how the business is perceived by existing clientele and how it is advertised to the general public.
I believe many business owners have ignored the truths about how to best market their business or just try to follow someone else’s model instead of really thinking about what will work best for them. Some simply cannot let go of “what used to work” and look to current marketing trends. I cannot say it enough, Every Business Is Unique, Every Industry Is Unique and Every Product/Service Being Sold is Unique.
Being the marketing experts, we are also in a unique position because our business is in business to help others market their company and we must show our clients that we have a recipe for success for them to follow. Whether they choose to or want to listen is an entirely different issue and is truly where what they think and what we know shows its true colors.
I recently have been working with an existing client and through speculation or hearsay they have put together assumptions as to what their competitors are spending in online advertising. We researched their claims and found them to be highly inaccurate and nothing more than speculation. It worries me when business owners take the easy way out and do not do the research themselves. It also worries me when they are so quick to judge or to assume they know better than we do about what is best for them or why something is working for one business and not their own.
Unfortunately this is a growing trend among business owners (primarily small businesses) looking for marketing solutions. They simply do not trust the marketing industry as a whole. Whether they have been burned before, promised the moon and the stars and left with nothing to show for it, or just not convinced that marketing is as costly as marketing companies claim it to be business owners simply seem unable to accept and trust that some of us are being truthful and honest about pricing and what it will take to be successful within a certain industry.
Online marketing in particular has become increasingly more difficult to steer customers in the right direction. The reason for this is most are convinced that their way or the few ways they’ve heard of other businesses marketing their products/services is enough. For example, social media has become some businesses sole source of promotion. Anyone who read our article Social Media Cannot Replace a Website definitely knows where we stand on that issue! That literally could be the worst mistake a business can make since your target audience is so limited and basically chock full of people who are already aware of your business and its services. Other businesses have a hard time seeing the value in ongoing services like SEO which doesn’t guarantee a return on your investment but simply gradually increases your relevant traffic to your website over time.
I also believe many business owners have a hard time comparing a tangible service to a virtual one. For example a direct mail postcard campaign is much easier for them to feel comfortable investing in because it’s a physical product, which arrives direct in the hands of would-be customers. They can also calculate postage, printing, and design costs upfront and know that roughly 1.5% of people who receive the card will call or visit their site if the campaign is successful. The value in this method is more evident than it is for an SEO campaign that is an ongoing cost. The reality of that scenario however, is that when a mailing is done, the money you have invested into it is lost and the only way to recoup it is to get new clients from the mailing. Online marketing is far less expensive than traditional marketing and leaves a much more permanent lasting impression if it is maintained regularly. Stubborn or old-school business owners do not realize that over 80% of the world uses online search to find businesses providing certain products or services that they need. Of that population of search users nearly 70% are searching for a local business which clearly makes the need for an online presence and online advertising even more imminent if a business hopes to survive in anything but a highly specialized market. Most people today are more likely to work with a company they find online than one who litters their mailbox with flyers and postcards.
Therefore that means several things are true:
- To not have a website is crazy
- To not market a website you DO have is even worse
There is another group of individuals who do not take advice or refuse to listen when we advise them on the best methods and practices to follow when building a new website. Some general points to think about if you plan to hire a marketing company and/or design company to build your site or help build awareness are below:
- If you are hiring someone else to build your site, you should assume they know and understand your market and will build a site that would appease visitors looking for the products and services you provide.
And if you are hiring someone else to build your site or help with online advertising it’s safe to assume they DO know more about online marketing than you do in the first place, otherwise you would just do it yourself right? So give them a little credit.
- However, always ask and make sure they are aware of your industry and what some special requirements might be that would benefit your marketing project. That is not always apparent even to the most seasoned marketing professionals.
- When working with a professional agency or experienced design team do not take their advice lightly. Professionals in this industry make recommendations based on what is best for your website, best for your business, and for your customer’s needs.
- Let the website be designed for your customers not for you. This is the biggest mistake a business owner can make and often does. Your preferences are typically not universal.
- Always ask a lot of questions. Any reputable website design company will offer up copious amounts of information supporting their reasons or beliefs as to why your project should be handled one way instead of another. Many can even help educate you on marketing in general. If they do not or cannot give you legitimate answers or advice than find another company to work with.
- Do your research on the company itself and find out if they can deliver as promised.
- Get a second opinion or a second quote from a competitor. Although our prices are not the cheapest we do know that for the money we deliver a top notch product that does what it claims to be able to do with our clients best interests at heart. We are not so sure about many of our competitors.
Final point to all this:
If you are hiring a professional marketer or web design team to help with your online marketing presence and strategy, give them a little credit and trust that their advice is in your best interest. Our business thrives on repeat business and happy customers. It costs us 1/10th to retain a client of what it does to have to constantly find and sign new ones.
We at Vinci-Designs & Publishing believe in treating each of our clients fairly and honestly, and in giving them the best possible assessment and answer to any of their questions. In the end, what we tell our clients or prospective customers may not always be what they want to hear, but the truth is more important. Our clients know we will always deliver a fair and honest assessment of their needs, goals, and options available.
I personally would rather turn business away if I do not believe I can help the client rather than taking the customers money. My happiness and the success of my business rests in the knowledge that we are hired to do a job, that we can do that job, and that we are the professionals who can turn someone’s dream into a successful reality.
In the end, we do understand and appreciate that a business owner must focus on their business and its clients first, and marketing always takes a back seat. However, if you want to continually grow and reach new customers, find a company who is honest, fair, and has your best interests in mind when helping your products and services gain exposure.
Delegating your marketing projects to a capable company and being a lazy marketer are by no means the same thing so do not fall into a marketing rut!