Instant gratification might be OK if you are buying an ice cream cone. But in my world of internet marketing, it can quickly kill your business.
While a good percentage of my clients have ongoing, years-long marketing and advertising programs, there’s another business owner personality type that wants results from the start. I get it. They want to do a marketing “pilot” (test) program and see return on investment right away. But let’s summarize what they’re saying:
They built their business over 30-years, put years of hard work in. Hired. Fired. Grew. Expanded.
Companies quickly admit they are clueless in a 2020s world of technology and culture they’ve never faced before, and need a marketing boost…but they’ll give it 6 months!
(I’ve had some clients give it only 1 month!)
No marketing or advertising works that way. OK, maybe Popeye’s and their chicken sandwiches figured it out, somehow creating a viral buzz that caused drive-thru’s to be packed overnight. But for the rest of us, we need patience and sound strategy.
Be encouraged, I’m not recommending a long, unchanging, 3-year marketing campaign. That’s where strategy comes in. You need to start with a plan and be flexible to change it. Some of my clients run Google ads and find they are too expensive. Some are a niche business-to-business company so we don’t advertise on Facebook. That’s all fine, and smart, too.
What I am recommending is that you do consistent, ongoing, never-ending marketing or advertising of some kind. Generally, my advice is you go where the people are, which right now is still Google, Facebook and email marketing.
If you don’t market or advertise, or if you stop, you will lose your business. Today’s culture jumps to new trends, stores and companies faster than ever. The 24-hour news cycle mindset is affecting businesses as well.
Each day your audience is getting younger, and they don’t remember your commercial jingle from 5 years ago. You need to stay in front of your audience consistently.
I heard today of 450 Pier 1 Imports store closings. When is the last time you heard them advertise? New stores are the flavor of the day. In Chicago right now we hear ads constantly for Bob’s Discount Furniture, Ashley Furniture, and “The Dump” furniture (the worst name ever!). They are “top of mind” and they are where people are going. Pier 1 stopped caring in their marketing and advertising, and so did their customers. At the very least, they should have done online and mobile banner ads. Even small businesses can afford them. Read more here: The Fastest, Cheapest Advertising For Your Company Today.
If you run a company that has been around for years, think about the time when you finally got an influx of referrals and growth. It probably wasn’t 6 months in. It took a few years. You hit a kind of “tipping point” which I believe also happens in digital marketing and advertising. You need to become a known entity, and you can’t earn trust in 3 months. If you give up too soon, you’ll never know if your marketing program could have worked, and been the best use of your budget.
People are busy and inundated with ads. Initially they’ll ignore you. But if you stay the course, you will become a name they trust, buy from, and recommend.
Your audience doesn’t care if you’ve been around for 30 years and have a great real-life reputation. If you have a poor or non-existent online presence, you are starting at Square 1. A brand new competitor with a good “web guy” getting their name out there can beat you in days.
What you can do if you are stagnant online:
If you’ve tried things before, and haven’t stuck with it, there’s still hope. Every business, no matter how small and specific the audience, can benefit from brand awareness. My top recommendation is that you find someone outside of your industry who is sharp, and can view your company with external eyes, like a customer. They should be able to translate your internal business lingo to the common person. Let them research and discuss with you where your audience is spending time. Make a plan, don’t overthink it, and spend enough to see impact. Don’t skimp. How much you should spend of course depends on your ROI. If you install furnaces and make $2,000 per installation, you should easily spend that monthly to grow. If you are a restaurant hoping to get more people to stop in, you might be lower at $500/month.
How long should you stick with it? Plan on forever: Some level of budget, some amount of outreach marketing and/or advertising. Check in every 6 months or every quarter. Make changes to the plan as needed. Of course, jSinger Marketing would be happy to help you along. We offer a no-obligation initial meeting. Contact us to set something up.