Spoken of in hushed tones and shrouded in mystery, it is apparently too powerful to be grasped by the uninitiated. Only with years of work can you truly come to know the secrets of the gurus. Only with years of study can you truly understand…marketing?
Yes, unfortunately, marketing. It can seem daunting.
With proprietary systems, detailed terminology and competing theories, marketing appears highly complicated. But it’s not. It’s simple.
We sometimes get so caught up in the mechanics of lead generation, driving traffic and sales funnels that we lose sight of the broader picture. Things get complex and overwhelming. We start to bog down. Pretty soon, we’re bloated with theories and paralyzed by hopelessly impossible plans.
In this situation it’s good to go back basics and take a 40,000-foot view of the subject. Some may think this over-simplistic, but fundamentals are always the most powerful ways to ramp up your marketing.
Oddly, these basic points are also the ones that are most overlooked by many people I run into. One in particular is constantly missed, though crucial. This is the concept that:
In order to market something, you have to reach out to people.
You wouldn’t think I’d have to write an article about this. But I do. And I’ll probably write more.
Marketing is about communication and sales. Thus, at its core, marketing is reaching out to people and getting them to want to buy something. Yet people overlook this all the time.
They need leads and sales. They want to launch a business or a new product. They want to expand their current revenue. What do they do?
They build snazzy websites. They make cool logos. They talk about branding. They work out strategies. But…they don’t really reach out.
They’re sold on the fact that their product is awesome—why isn’t everyone else? They’ve got compelling closing arguments. Their corporate identity is impeccable. They have a well-considered brand strategy. Their messaging is clear and thoughtful. Their product is good and their customer service to die for.
What gives? People just don’t seem to be interested.
Maybe it’s the economy or current buying trends—possibly the consumer confidence index. Often it has to do with “industry timing,” competition and an over-saturated market….
People who think that sales volume is determined by the public’s “interest level” are missing the point. Marketing is what MAKES the public interested. It includes surveys to find out what they’ll will buy. It involves product development and manufacturing to actually make it. Then at the end, it involves promotional actions to get the word out and generate sales. Marketing creates interest.
But, no matter how you cut it, you’ve got to reach out.
More businesses could rocket their sales by applying this one principle than you’d care to believe. Yes, there are those who already are sending out an avalanche of communication to their prospects. However, usually that isn’t the case. More often, it’s the opposite.
I very often encounter people who are sincere about growing their business—who WANT to expand—but, who, at the same time don’t do the most basic reach-out actions. They don’t even write emails to prospects or follow up on former customers!
This is not a complicated proposition: Growth comes from marketing. Marketing requires that you reach out to people. Therefore, the more you reach out, the better off you’ll be.
Publish. Write. Call. Reach out. Marketing isn’t a one-time thing. It’s constant…and it’s big.
Think of it this way: You have high-quality products or services. People want them. They are willing to pay good money for them. In fact, they are willing to buy from you right now. The only problem is that they don’t know you. They haven’t met you yet or, if they did, they forgot how awesome you are.
You don’t have to be brilliantly persuasive. You don’t have to craft the perfect sales pitch. You don’t have to be a silver-tongued genius who can work a crowd into a frenzy. But, you do have to reach out.
Figure out who your prospects are and then regularly reach out to them in some way. They’ll respond. Of course, there are methods of getting better responses, but this really is about how simple it is.
Who should you reach out to? In very basic terms, there are three major categories:
- New prospects. You can reach out to people who have never heard of you in order to gain new prospects and customers.
- Repeat customers. You can reach out to people who have already bought something from you to remind them you exist and encourage them to buy again.
- Referrals. You can ask people who know and like you to send prospects your way. This is as simple as asking friends and happy customers for referrals.
There are a million ways to reach out to these people. The main thing is just that it has to be done. Every week. Forever.
If you stop, then the leads will stop. It’s just part of life. You have to continually reach out and make yourself known or people will stop knowing about you.
It’s not as bad as it sounds. You can actually stay on top of it relatively easily. The simplest way to do this is by making a schedule of promotion and then sticking to it. Work out what types of marketing you need to do on a weekly or monthly basis. Then work out the volume required.
After you figure out your schedule, stick to it every week no matter what else is happening. This is how you avoid “booms and depressions.” If you’ve been in business for any length of time, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about: You need more business so you get desperate and start reaching out to everyone you can. After a while you pull through and have a ton of work. Now you’re fat and happy. You’re rich! Yay!
But then you aren’t desperate anymore, so your marketing falls out. Your business starts to dry up and you get worried. All of a sudden you’ve got nothing. In a fit of panic you start marketing again…and the cycle repeats.
The way around this is to implement a regular promotional schedule—just keep reaching out no matter what happens. Then you have a steady stream of new business that never stops.
Of course, there’s always the chance that you’ll get so busy you won’t be able to handle a single additional lead. What about that? What then? Should you slow it down then?
This is that painful point which causes people to succeed. When you are super busy, that’s the exact time to do even more marketing.
How do you keep up?
Take on more employees, open another location, raise your prices—whatever expansion means to you. Just expand. The key is to just keep doing it no matter what else is happening and never stop.
Marketing is about communication. It’s about reaching out. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does have to be done.