I meet many business people who say they market in spurts. In the beginning of the year they kick off their marketing initiatives and get going like gangbusters. And that lasts for a while. But then they get busy or distracted by other needs of the business. By around this time of year their marketing is just about forgotten.
So let’s talk about ways to consistently and continuously have your marketing working for you. The first thing to do is to consider a shift in your mindset. Your goal should NOT be to make money. If that’s the ultimate goal, you’ll always be chasing the next buck. And that’s inefficient. Rather, your goal should be to create SYSTEMS that make money. There’s a big difference between these two.
Consider this definition of a system. A system is a repeatable series of actions that create predictable results. In other words, if you do A, you can always rely on the result being B. Let’s suppose you have discovered that if you place a specific ad with tried and true wording, you can count on 100 leads being generated from that ad. Place the ad, get 100 leads. That’s an example of an advertising system.
So, be thinking about where you can place Systems in your marketing. If you just look at partnerships with synergistic businesses, for example, you could develop systems to predictably generate leads such as:
- Advertise in each others’ publications
- Link to each others’ websites
- Send a letter of recommendation to your mailing list for your partner (and vice versa)
- Share mailing lists
- Incent your partners with a monetary token of appreciation for a lead
- Join a leads group
- Meet periodically to brainstorm potential leads for each other
- Create coupons or incentives for your partner’s customers to use at your business
- Create an affiliate program – whereby your partner can earn a commission on product they sell on your behalf
- Pay to have your brand “advertised” with your partner
- Place co-op advertising (if advertising is a bit too pricey for you, consider sharing the expense with another business). This can apply to print, trades show booths, etc.
- Place business cards and/or brochures at your partner’s place of business
- Let another business offer your services as part of their suite of offerings. In other words, you could act as a subcontractor for them. They do the prospecting, the advertising, and the closing. You offer the service at a discount to your partner – for covering the costs associated with the above. If you’re starting out, it can be a good way to quickly generate some cash flow.
Don’t forget electronic systems. I’m a big proponent of leveraging technology because it can reach such a broad audience at a reasonable cost. It pays to invest in having someone work with your website to make sure it’s optimized, search engines can find it, and you’ve got the right keywords. Just consider this. What would it mean to your business if your website was consistently generating 10, 20, or 100 more leads than it currently does? Wouldn’t that be worth it?
And remember to leverage the use of email and ezines (if appropriate). These are inexpensive ways to continually be in front of your prospects and customers. Talk about visibility – this is it!
The beauty of a marketing system is that if your sales start to tail off, you can kick in one of your marketing systems and get a predictable upswing in leads. It’s like turning a crank on a sales machine!
Here’s one final thought. To create a system you need to set it up, test the results, and then fine-tune it. It’s not a true system until you can rely on a predictable, consistent result. So it takes time. Through trial and error tweak the method until it gets the results you want, each and every time. And try to make it simple. Sometimes we make things so complicated and tedious that we abandon it before it has a chance.
My challenge to you is to create one new marketing system before the end of the quarter.