There’s a large maple outside my bedroom window. Two of three primary branches running eight feet up off the trunk are now gone. The first came crashing down during high winds, taking out the power lines feeding the house, barn and office. The second hung over the driveway, so was removed later. The third branch is still vibrant, but will soon be no more as the trunk continues to rot. The hollowed remains make a wonderful playground for wildlife.
A small, spastic red squirrel calls this tree home right now. He’s almost invisible as his coat blends into the bark and ground while his actions mimic the surrounding area being blown by winter winds. Blink and he’s twenty feet from where you just spotted him.
Another century-old maple sits halfway down the driveway. A black squirrel resides here. In contrast, his motion is slow, graceful and casual. He’s beautiful to watch as he savors every delight his senses discover.
It’s odd how two creatures with a similar genetic makeup can be so different in how they live life. Strategic marketing concepts can be equally different. How to best promote your small business depends on what makes you comfortable.
Quick provides strategic marketing answers for some
Cursory seems to be the trend with the advent of social media, smart phones, drop-shipping and online shopping. It’s curious that first on the scene has become the mantra of so many. Business owners used to carefully consider their words before going public. Now, people blast off e-mail messages, post to public forums, publish blog posts and respond immediately to prospects without reflecting on how the message may be perceived – or even taking time to proofread their missives.
As I watched this little red squirrel flitting around in the early morning hours, he seemed anxious to keep moving for fear a prize find might go to another, or concerned that a slower, more thoughtful approach would make him vulnerable. In some industries, this is reality.
Sadly, more often, I see small business owners staying busy to ensure they’re seen without investing the time to consider what they want from the exposure. This can lead to a frazzled and activity-focused approach that keeps one always in motion, but unclear about where they’re going. In fact, these people are rarely present – in the moment, for clients or for prospects. They’re minds are already on the next big thing, failing to see the opportunities right in front of them.
I’ve seen this tactic work well for some who have systems in place and delegate. It’s seldom effective, though, when the business owner tries to manage a rapid-fire approach to outbound communications without carefully considered goals.
Successful small business marketing can be leisurely
I had to chuckle watching the black squirrel in the background as the hasty red squirrel buzzed around. He was so casual in his approach. I saw and enjoyed his every move. The nervous counterpart seemed stressed and uncomfortable. The plodder showed delight with each hop he took – discovering something new and unexpected. His relaxed and steadfast approach reminded me of the methods employed by some of the most successful small business owners I’ve known.
Business success isn’t defined by revenue alone. Most people start a small business as a lifestyle choice. It’s easy to jump on fad bandwagons, but rarely effective if a good deal of prior thought hasn’t gone into the why. When you start reacting instead of planning with strategic marketing concepts, you’ll not only likely undermine your business foundation, but also your quality of life.
Plus, thoughtful actions are often more appreciated. Anyone can jump into the fray. Those who spend time to respond with the answers people really seek (this often requires reading between the lines) are the ones that gain an enviable client following. If you’re rapidly attacking business activities as daily chores, it shows. Conversely, enjoying and sharing the business building ride you’re on makes your passion contagious.
Are you shouting to the masses or carving a niche with prospects?
In observing the black squirrel, I noted he was fun to watch. His exuded joy for life and fascination with the simple pleasures drew me in and captured my attention for a long time.
I got dizzy watching the red squirrel as he’d scoot off fast to another focus. It was hard figuring out where he went or where he was going. Ultimately, the joyful, easy to follow critter grabbed my interest.
Some shotgun business marketing strategies work, throwing out messages to as many people as possible for a tiny percentage return. Most small businesses do better with a targeted, thoughtful and personable style that illustrates you can relate to prospect perspectives.
Direct mail, paid advertising (sans niche publications), telemarketing, form letters and cold calling have historically provided poor returns for most small businesses. While the internet provides a lot of opportunities for the little guy today, it’s unlikely you’ll win over prospects by bombarding them with quick, disconnected and loud sales messages.
Do you have great stories on small business marketing tactics done right – or wrong? How about exciting wins you’ve had with strategic marketing? Consider adding your experiences in the comments below. Also, please be kind and share this blog post through the clickable links on the left side of this page. Thanks!