Marketing isn’t art or science – it’s savvy

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“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.” -Peter F. Drucker

Marketing is easier – or harder – than you think, depending on how you do it. Standing on the shoulders of giants is a great quote, but doesn’t always translate well to small business marketing. If you’re not willing to do some homework to customize your approach, chances are you’ll find yourself frustrated.

Reconsider advice from self-proclaimed gurus

If you’re sold on a strategy to mimic what others are claiming made them millions, you may want to reconsider. Some are honest, many are timely and others are just plain hucksters. Beware or swagger. Most true success stories (and good leaders, for that matter) share without boasting. Regardless, what worked for someone else isn’t guaranteed to work for you or your prospects or your clients. Think carefully if your plan includes the following:

  1. Offering freebies thinking you’re going to convert the “gimme more” crowd into buyers simply because they land on your list. A small sample of great makes sense but the way most are using it to build their lists doesn’t work for most niche businesses. If you’re selling cookies, go for it. Non-fiction horse titles – think again.
  2. Sell hard every time you communicate with your followers. This includes blog posts (call to action mandates aside – do you really think your readers are that dumb?), social media, speeches, articles and anything else where you’re putting yourself out there. Sell soft or indirectly. Those who are interested will figure out what you do and sell.
  3. Spam your lists with weekly (or daily) affiliate offers. Do you really want to lose your credibility by coming off as the “used car salesman” of former days? Sure, some are boasting great sums (long-term proof, please), but does that really feel right to you? If you’re not confident enough with your created wares, find something better that puffs your passion.
  4. Faking it. If you’re not real (nor credible about your knowledge claims), people will know sooner or later. Go with your strengths and let go of the fads.
  5. Send “oops” messages as an excuse for more visibility. Are you kidding me? You want to earn trust by claiming you caught an error five seconds after your first “bad link” message. Unsubscribe me.
  6. Offering $300 or $3000 in free products as an inducement to buy. OK, I get infomercials have a proven successful method . . . “But, wait . . . “. Still, is sleazy satisfying to you? Those you’re likely to hook may not be the smart, motivated clients you seek.

Get real for better small business marketing results

Find great small business marketing tips at http://NanetteLevin.comInstead, consider what you can offer that makes you stand out – and stand up – among a crowd that’s masking old-school manipulative selling with new “social enlightenment” terms.

  1. Expect to be paid for your time (or products that require time to create). Sure, you’ll convert some who sign up for your free offer, but most don’t convert to buyers. For decades I’ve offered discounted recommendations and strategies reports (I’m quick on my feet and can ask questions that lead to solution extemporaneously – that may not work for you) instead of the marketing/advertising/PR industry norm of a free proposal. People value what they pay for and continue the relationship to see a return. Not so much with free proposals or sign-up gimmicks.
  2. Give people something that grabs them. You shouldn’t have to close hard if what you offer helps a prospect solve a problem. Quick credibility (wow, that worked) leads to happy customers and referral agents a lot more quickly than bullying a buy.
  3. Show what you know. This whole idea of offering “to be continued at a price” is manipulative and annoying. If you’re going to start an idea, finish it without a buy button. Putting your best stuff forward is smart. If you don’t see this, write a sales letter, a landing page or an ad that’s honest. Savvy answers to burning questions lead to sales naturally.
  4. Use 90% of the messages you send out to your list to offer ideas for quick results. They’ll appreciate the 10% that tells them how to use you to get there faster. This may sound contradictory to point one, but marketing costs either time or money. If you choose the former you need to provide people with a reason to consider you as an ideal resource.
  5. Make sure you have personal experience using what you’re hawking affiliate products, a good reason for your audience to embrace it and a guarantee you’ll stand by.
  6. Focus on building a highly qualified list rather than a big one of poor prospects. Knowing who you’re talking to can make your marketing strategies and messages a lot more effective.

It’s not hard to find creative ways to turn prospects to clients. If you can listen and hear what your prospects are (or aren’t) saying, you’ll find delight in the fun answers you invent. People see marketing as painful. Done right, it’s a blast – for both you and those who enjoy the gift of your messages. Consider how much more effective your strategies will be when you get to know your audience well enough to laugh together over the messages you invent.



4 responses to “Marketing isn’t art or science – it’s savvy”

  1. It’s hard to know when it’s time to stop and remind the prospective client this is what you do for a LIVING and not to manipulate the soap box to be more visible. But, I’ve found those that resent you NOT giving them free advice and solace are only interested in the free and not the best.
    So, I don’t feel sorry or bad when they walk away. Because I only want enthralled clients.

    • Thanks, Roy, for your comment and insight. You’re singing to the choir. I’ve bucked industry norms for decades by offering a sample of ideas a client can implement immediately without me (time consuming on the learning curve but all they need to proceed is there). I can’t recall a client that’s said “I got this” after a Recommendations and Strategies Report. That first low pay fee does a pretty good job of eliminating the tire kickers or cranky sorts. Like you, I want engaged and active clients. I don’t mind referring the rest to others :-).

  2. I believe numbers 5 and 6 upset me the most. If seems all the big names are adding an “Opps” I did it wrong so I am extending this Once In A Lifetime deal for another week for those that missed it because of my mistake.,
    And the 6 to 10 bonuses they “give” you, showing how the $97 dollars you spend is really a $4500 dollar deal that only a fool would pass up. In most cases the bonuses do not even have anything to do with the subject of their product.
    It’s good to see your knowledge is here for those of us that want to take advantage of it, thanks for sharing.

    • Numbers 5 & 6 are big ones for me too, Chef William. I shake my head when I see these things wondering how dumb these people think those on their list really are. I’ve never been a big fan of manipulate selling (it was really in vogue when I started this business – I suppose that’s part of why we were able to establish such a strong niche following so quickly – and that was before the internet). So sad to see it seems to be surfacing as a fad again. Good point on the irrelevant bonuses. Perhaps that’s a subject for another post ;-).

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