If somebody offered to give you three dollars if you gave them one dollar, would you take it? Assuming you trust the person, you’d be silly not to triple your money.
Nielsen, the research firm, conducted over 800 marketing studies in the past 7 years. They found that digital marketing has an average ROI of 300%. In plain English, that means the return on investment of one dollar, invested in digital marketing, results in three dollars of business.
Only 3% of Us Are Willing To Triple Our Money???
Yet, for those of us that are small business owners, only 3% of us are open to such an offer. Forbes has done research and found that only 3% of small businesses use digital marketing. In a separate study, Microsoft found that digital advertising outperforms TV, print, radio and signs.
How is it possible that the most effective marketing is the least used by small business? This is especially shocking considering that it is also the least expensive way to market!
I think this comes down to fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of failure. Fear of technology. It takes a lot more energy to take action when we’re afraid or confused. Marketing is a big hairy monster for many people. Because of this fear, it’s easy to continue down a comfortable path. For some, this means face-to-face marketing. Others may write well and stick to print ads. In some cases, they are successful. But, for most businesses, poor marketing is a constant source of worry.
A Business Has Two Primary Purposes: Deliver Great Value and Add More Customers
To grow, a business needs customers. To keep customers (and to help growth) a business needs to focus on providing value to it’s customers. If too much focus ends up on one of these two, the balance is off and the business will suffer.
A small business needs predictable marketing results. We small business owners need to know that we’ll be able to meet our goals, stay in business, grow, etc. If our marketing results are random and frustrating, our businesses will suffer.
So, how can a small business with little marketing experience succeed at digital marketing?
[Tweet “A business has only two purposes – delivering value to customers and adding customers”]
3 Steps To Growing Your Business
I recommend a three phase approach. As you’ll notice, my approach doesn’t leap right in and start marketing. That is a path to trouble. There is some housekeeping to do first.
Begin with your strategy. Many of you will shrink in terror at the mention of strategy! It’s almost as bad as marketing to many business owners. Relax. I approach strategy like anything else in my business. It has to be easy, inexpensive and productive. If it isn’t, I work on it until it is.
Your strategy must help you reach the vision you have for your business. It should answer one to three year questions and be high-level. Then, create a few goals for each strategic effort.
For instance, let’s say part of your strategy for the year involves adding two new products to your business. You might then set goals such as: researching the market, building a prototype, testing the product, refining it and launching it. This is over-simplified, but it helps build the picture of what strategy should be.
Then I look at my business model. This is nothing more than creating a one page model of how my business delivers value to customers and adds new customers. It helps me think through everything I need to do to make those results happen.
Your strategy and business model are critical. They ensure that your focus stays on areas of your business that make a profound difference. You won’t find yourself distracted by the latest shiny ball that bounces by.
Only now do I consider marketing and digital marketing in particular. Again, I break it down into small chunks so that it is easy to understand and manage.
Consider your digital marketing to have three stages that work together. First you need to have a place for visitors be “greeted.” That can be a website, blog, landing page, social media page and so on. This is a part of your structure or system that makes your digital marketing work fluidly.
Now, you have to have visitors come to your structure. Just like a normal store, your visitors will come in and browse. This is the place where your visitors get to know you and understand what you can do for them. Here is where you build the relationship and provide as much value as you can for free.
Next, you want to help your visitors further down the path and convert them to leads. A lead is somebody who has engaged with you beyond “browsing.” In digital marketing, our leads have joined our email list. Most leads will find their way onto your list by submitting their email in exchange for a bit of valuable content you give away.
Fear enters the equation here too. Many business owners fear giving away too much valuable content. They worry that their visitors will just go away and take action themselves. They worry that their competitors will copy their content.
In reality, some of your visitors may be able to solve their problems by using the content you give away. But those visitors who can do so were never good prospective customers for you. Instead, most people will find value in what you share, but be unable to take action for themselves. They may lack key areas of expertise, may not have enough time or may fret about trying to do it themselves.
Give Away As Much As You Can – Then Give Away More!
Give away as much as you can, and then give away a bit more. This is your opportunity to build trust, prove your expertise and position yourself as a solution. Your leads should wonder, “if this is the free stuff, how incredible is the paid content?” You will now be moving your lead closer to becoming a customer.
To make the sale, you have to know your leads well. You have to know what problem you solve. Most people buy a solution to a pain point or a way to reach a desired goal. Which outcome does your product serve?
What situation do your leads find themselves in when they need those problems solved? You have to reach them at that time. If you present your solution at a point when the need isn’t there, you won’t make a sale. Communicate the solution and circumstances clearly. Sometimes your leads won’t even realize they are ready to buy until you shine the light on the solution for them.
The message must resonate . Fortune Magazine found that 42% of businesses don’t communicate the value of what they are selling. Think of how much harder it is to sell if you rely on your leads to figure it out for themselves.
I use a simple framework to create effective communication too. I consider three things in crafting messages.
What problem does my offering solve? As I just noted, people usually buy a solution to something that is causing pain or something that helps them reach a goal. Get to know your market. What does your product or service do?
I also try to be specific in defining who has the problem that I can help solve. Who has a goal that I can help them reach? Don’t kid yourself and think that a bigger market or audience is better. It is easier to sell to a specific niche. You can make better connections and write better messages if your market is smaller and well-defined.
Then I try to picture when my market needs my solution. What circumstances do they find themselves in when my solution is the perfect fit for their problem?
I put these three parts together and use them to help create my marketing. This knowledge helps me create targets for ads. It helps me understand when to market to my leads. It also helps me build marketing messages.
I help ___ do ___ so that ___.
For instance, you can create a simple statement from the three elements:
I help ___ do ___ so that ___.
I help ___ do ___ when ___.
I help___ do ___ unlike ___.
In the last example you highlight your difference from your competitors to establish your unique value. There are any number of ways you can put the information together based upon the message you think is appropriate at the time.
Smart Company and Turnaround Management both found that 50% or more of small business problems and failures are due to mistakes. Strategy mistakes. Business model failures. Ignoring marketing opportunities. These are all typical problems, but preventable.
I’ve outlined some frameworks for you to use in your business. You can build out and customize the frameworks for your business. Some of you will be able to get started right away with this “knowledge nudge.” Many of you will need a bit more information or templates to make this easier for you to do.
Click on the button below and I’ll send you a quick report on overcoming these challenges. I also provide a list of some tools that will help you automate your marketing. After you sign up, you can watch a five minute video that will give you an example of how to use Twitter to get leads fast. If you flow through that video, you will find a 45 minute video that has some in-depth tips to make rapid leaps in creating the business you desire.