In many cases, business owners seek out professional marketing assistance in their darkest hour. Unfortunately, they may not have the natural resources to repair the damage of going it alone without the proper marketing. In some cases, though, even when initiated amidst dire circumstances, when viability hangs in the balance, marketing can add new life to the struggling business saving it from demise.
I enjoy working with businesses on both ends of the spectrum, though there is a certain sense of heroic satisfaction that comes from being able to help an entrepreneur in his darkest hour, I would rather the independent business owner could have known that marketing should have taken priority in those earliest of startup days.
The Hard Way
It is difficult to start a small business in bootstrap fashion, especially when the owner is reliant on a portion of the proceeds to support his or her self and/or family. This causes an extra drain on the business’ potential of being able to support itself in those early days. This is why most businesses fail in the first year and many more by year five.
In most cases this could have been avoided by bringing operation and marketing costs into proper balance, allocating an adequate amount of resources dedicated to establish proper marketing (including branding efforts). Also, novice business owners are not always cognoscente of the intricate details of their cash-flow. If not monitored adequately, revenue can evaporate and the cause may never be known.
Digital and Social Media Marketing
A general understanding of current digital media platforms can be greatly critical to the financial health and wellness of a startup – or an existing business – for there is not better return on investment, due to the low cost, if one’s digital marketing program is somewhat effective (and is not squandered).
Certain care must be taken to assure that the business owner is not lulled by the latest bells and whistles, only by constant and meticulous testing and tracking can one discover what works – what doesn’t work – leading to even more testing and tracking.
Free Digital Tracking Tools
Fortunately, the many of the digital platforms (like Google and Facebook) have tracking systems built-in to monitor their performance and specifically select prospects with the precision of a surgical laser.
Gypsies, Sharks and Thieves
If you are a current business owner, you likely have received telephone solicitation from Google (or telemarketers posing as Google representatives) in an effort to help put your business on the Google map. There is normally no charge for the assistance offered by the “Google representative,” in an effort to build a relationship with the business owner (or mark). Once trust is gained, the scam ensues.
Unfortunately, the digital landscape is littered with pirates and criminals who engage in this type of fraud due to the ignorance of less-Internet-savvy entrepreneurs. (This is nothing new; I have wasted lots of money on advertising schemes that promised impossible results thanks to an aggressive ad salesperson, back in the day.) So beware, there are sharks in the waters.
Number 9, number 9, number 9…
Remember, it is not possible to test a campaign unless it is written 9 times. After the 9th time, you can get a good idea about the actual results from a particular marketing effort. (So, forget about the one-time save.)
You must set aside a portion of each dollar that your business takes in earmarked for marketing; to not, is entrepreneurial suicide.
“But Masters, I heard this story, about overnight success that came without…”
Yes, there is the one out of a thousand (more like one in a million) business successes that inspires such a story. Realize it is the exception – not the rule – and is not duplicatable. This more actively represents what I call Lightning Strike Success (which can be a valid strategy, if you’re ready).
Market Budget Review
If you haven’t done it yet, evaluate how much of each dollar you are spending on marketing and make sure this portion is commensurate with what your business success expectations are.
See also: 7 Steps to Effective Marketing