Or are you talking industry jargon? Many businesses think that because they are in a certain industry they must use industry terminology. The more you work within an industry the more you understand and thus modify the language to what is often quicker and more efficient. For example, acronyms and shortening of words. This is ok but not when it comes to marketing and communicating to your audience.
The problem with industry terminology is that people start to communicate in a certain way. For example, a case study in the Solar Industry is often used to sell the brand and the idea that Solar is a good thing to install. So, when these stories are written it will generally talk about the size of the system, how many “PV” Panels and what brand was used, what inverter brand and size etc. Everyone in the industry knows what that means and they get it. The thing is you are not selling your product to people within the industry.
External industry customers
We must remember that most of our customers are not in the industry we exist in. They are in other industries (or no industry for domestic consumers), so they may not understand what “PV” means. So why do we communicate this way?
It reminds me of Rob McKenna from the story “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy”, an ordinary lorry driver who can never get away from the rain. He has a log-book showing that it has rained on him every day, anywhere that he has ever been, to prove it. He was described by the scientific community as a “Quasi Supernormal Incremental Precipitation Inducer”. Someone suggests that he could show the diary to someone, which Rob does, making the media deem him a ‘Rain God’ (something which he actually is) for the clouds want “to be near him, to love him, to cherish him and to water him”.
So why is the scientific term given?
Is it because sometimes industries like to own certain things. A need for control. So, they create terms that only they can explain. If someone wants to understand the term, then all they need to do is ask the industry insider and all will be revealed.
We are marketers not industry insiders.
The better option is to make your industry understandable so that your potential audience will own the terms themselves. When you give someone a sense of ownership they start to take control and need little convincing that it is a good idea.
So, the before mentioned Solar story should go something like; “Customer X needed to save on their electricity bill and asked our business to find a solution. We suggested our product (solar) as it would be perfect for their situation. We are glad to say the Customer X is receiving good savings from our product.” No need to mention what technicalities were involved. If you do, then it is an afterthought not the lead for the story.
Are you using Local SEO to your advantage?
Using free directories is a great way to utilize local Search Engine Optimization to help increase Google ranking. This is all about utilizing the directories for their SEO potential. Every time your site is referenced Google puts it up a notch in its ranking. This strategy is not so much about having people find you although that is good, but about using the sites potential to have you listed in their SEO activity.
Are you listed in the following online directories?
To start with you should look to see if you are listed on these sites. It is a good exercise just to see what they have listed and if the information is correct and up to date..
- www.whereis.com part of yellow pages
Add your listing to the other sites
Here are just a few sites that you can add your business to if you are not listed on them. You can also find out other sites that are relevant to your industry. Sign up to these sites to see what can be done. They may have a no-cost listing service.
Internet marketers are on the rise
Do you get those emails that suggest that you could be getting more visitors to your website? They have visited your site and found that you aren’t ranking very well. Often they have a list of all the wrong things your site is doing.
So are they real? Well, the ones who are spammers anyway. Can They really get you to rank #1?
Can SEO Internet marketer X really get me to rank #1?
Hate to say it, but yes, they can get you to rank #1. However, they will use shady techniques, like adding heaps of keyword focused pages to your website and add your website to a blog network for links. This is a problem! Your traffic will rise, your rankings will go up, and if you are lucky, you will obtain that number one spot in Google for a particular keyword. What they don’t tell you, is that they tricked Google into ranking your website number one.
Google will find out! After some time, you will see your traffic drop, slowly or all of a sudden. This is the time Google needed to figure out what was going on with your website. This is the time when Google finds that your (SEO company) was luring it into liking your website. And this is also the time that you lose all your traffic and find your site in the gutter of the internet, way after page 2 in Google.
Don’t Waste Your Money
There is a saying. If it is too good to be true it probably is! The best to rank highly with Google is to always optimise your website the right way. Quality content is the key. Write about the things your customers and visitors want to read about. Entertain and inform them via great articles. If your website is impressive enough, your rankings will go up. And you will reach that top spot in Google the right way. Search Engine Optimisation is not a trick; it takes time but doing it the right way will be the better investment.
What is the best way to manage your Marketing?
So, you have decided to do something about your Marketing. Your first step is to start looking at who may be able to help you. There are 4 standard ways of doing this:
- Do it yourself
- Hiring an internal person (Marketing Manager or Coordinator)
- Hire a Marketing agency
- Hire separate contractors for different segments such as SEO expert, or AdWords expert, graphic designer, Website designer and manage them all yourself.
Now you must go through the options and see what is best for your business.
1. Do it yourself
As previously mentioned in the article “How do you get good marketing on a very small budget?” most small business really knows their business and their market. Because of its personal nature, they live and breathe the product and business. It is what they know and in many ways, a representation of who they are. So, on the surface, this seems to be the best option.
Time. Do you have time to manage it all yourself? Ask yourself where are you most valuable? Most of the time small business people are more valuable running the day to day operations and bringing in business to keep the business going.
2. Hiring an internal person (Marketing Manager or Coordinator)
This option has advantages as you can nurture the staff member to understand the knowledge that only you know. You can also work with them to plan the best communication to your market.
Do you have the money to employ another person? There are risks involved in hiring any new staff. A Marketing person will bring certain skills that will come with a price based on experience. You can hire a junior but that will also mean that you must dedicate your time. This also costs not just money but opportunities elsewhere.
3. Enlist in a Marketing Agency
Marketing agencies really know what they are doing. It is their role to understand what is happening in the world and to give you the best possible representation. This skill is based on years of experience in understanding people and how they are communicated to backed up with constant learning. So, they are a good resource to have on your side.
They can be expensive. Because they also hire their own staff they need to recover overheads. Because of this, they are reluctant to break down the Marketing activity and go for the lot. For example, they will generally suggest an overall change of your branding, new logo, new website everything. This is expensive.
4. Enlist in separate contractors for each segment such as SEO expert, or AdWords or advertising expert, graphic designer, Website designer and manage them all yourself.
This is also a very effective way of getting the job done. By using experts in certain areas, you can fine-tune the areas of knowledge and expertise to your advantage.
Time. Do you have the time to be coordinating these activities?
The only way to understand what is best for your business is to ask these questions; how much time can you give to your Marketing and where are you better off spending your time. If your time is better off spent on Marketing, then you can do it yourself. If time is better off spent on your business, then you will need help.
Marketing takes time, effort and persistence. If you do not have all of these elements in your Marketing activities, it will show. This can lead to Marketing fatigue where it all becomes too hard and too expensive. So, you just give up and move on. The worst decision you can make is to do nothing at all. Money is important so we must spend it wisely. We all know what ROI means. But remember ROI in Marketing can also mean Risk of Inactivity.
How can you fix the problem when you don’t know the full story?
I had an issue with an appliance (tablet) and rang the service department to find a solution as I couldn’t talk to the retail outlet direct. The person on the other end of the phone was very polite and asked “how can I help you?” I told him my problem and he immediately went into their “troubleshooting” process. Have you tried this? Yes. Have you done this? Yes. After an hour on the phone he said we can’t help you it must be a software issue and you must call the software provider. So, I called the software provider and they went through a similar troubleshooting process. Their conclusion was that it must be the product manufacturer.
So, I went back to the manufacturer and a different person went through the same process. I had only bought the product the day before, so I said don’t worry I will go back to the place of purchase.
The retail shop
I went to the retail shop and said I bought this appliance yesterday and I can’t seem to do this… The person looked at the tablet and said there is nothing wrong with the appliance it is just that it is not built to do what you want it to do. He then explained why. It was so simple and made perfect sense. He then said to do what you want you need to buy an adaptor. I bought the adaptor and it now works perfectly doing exactly what I wanted it to do.
The problem was that the people from the call centres assumed I had an android phone and not a tablet. Their process was all worked out for the android phone. The issue was not the product but the communication. I thought I was telling them all the information that was needed. I don’t think they were asking the right questions. They didn’t know the full story and tried to solve my problem with the wrong information.
This is very similar to a business that doesn’t give the full story about themselves. If you go to the market with the idea of selling the ‘result’ then how is it possible to get the sale. If you have a preconceived idea of how to solve someone’s problem, then you may just end up wasting their time.
So how do you go to the market with the full story?
The best way to do this is to tell them why you do what you do. If a potential buyer doesn’t know the full story of why you are in business, then they are only getting half of the story.
Let me explain. Do you ever get those emails talking about how the sender can get you number one on Google? This is an unsolicited annoying email that doesn’t really give any information about who the company is or why they are trying to sell you something. For all you know they could be a scammer (and there’s a good chance that they are). You can’t decide on using their service because you don’t know what is in it for them.
Now if this company said that they wanted to introduce themselves to you and they gave a brief explanation of why they do what they do then it may be different. You will start to understand that they are doing what they do because they want to help or advise or something that triggers something in you – a sense of trust or belief.
The point is why are people just trying to sell things without building a relationship with you first. There is an old sales training method that goes like this:
Befriend – Disturb – Solve – Close.
Ok, this all sounds like 1960’s insurance hardcore commission selling, but the principals are still the same in all sales. More on the Sales Process. With this process, you can’t sell a product without all the pieces in place. Miss one and the sale goes horribly wrong. The befriend element is important here as this is the building of a relationship with the potential buyer. By letting the potential know why you do what you do this will either cause a resonance or not. They will either like it or not. And let’s face it if they don’t like why you do something then they are not a good customer to engage with. If they love what you do, then there is a synergy between your beliefs and theirs. Now the trust is formed. They now know your full story and will know if you fit in with their goals and what they want to achieve.
So how do you get good marketing on a small budget? That was the question that I’ve had to answer for most of my marketing career. For years, I was a Marketing Manager for smaller family businesses. This is the type of business that has been in operation for a while and generally does well.
The Small Business
This business would either have one owner or be a husband and wife team. Their staff would be a loyal bunch of people that just enjoyed doing what they do within the close-knit environment. The owner(s) would often make decisions based on what is happening in their life at the current moment in time. Be it family issues or financial issues dealing with the work/family operation. In fact, I did hear one of them say that the husband and wife used to make business decisions over “the dinner table”. That is of course when they weren’t working late in the factory.
These decisions are based on things like how the family is traveling. For example, are the kids going to University or will they eventually work within the business? Either way, it is personal and precious to them. But any decision they make will affect their home life be it good or bad.
There is one thing that is certain and common to all the businesses and that is cash flow is tight. It is “Key” as they say.
You know your business and your market
The owner(s) all have another thing in common. They really know their business and their market. Because of its personal nature, they live and breathe the product and business. It is what they know and in many ways, a representation of who they are. They love what they do because of the freedom and control that it brings them.
During my time within these firms whenever I would come up with a marketing idea, the first question would be, “how much is that going to cost me?” In one business, I used to walk into the owner’s office with a jar, looking like a charity donation can, to see if I could raise some funds to do what I wanted to do for the business.
The answer would always be “let’s keep doing what we are doing and when we get more sales we can put it back into the marketing ideas that you have. We just need to bring in more return first”. But often this never happened.
You don’t have money for marketing ideas
The unfortunate and frustrating thing about having my ideas knocked back was watching our competitors (who had bigger budgets) do these very things. I didn’t resent my boss for not taking up my ideas because most of the time I knew money was the issue. Although there were times when I would see them spend on non-marketing activities without a question. Especially in engineering and technical environments. In these cases, making the product is more important than selling it.
You don’t have time for marketing
The next vital issue was time. These businesses are a full-on all-hands-on-deck mixture of getting the job done and family life balance. Even if some of the ideas had been adopted there were not enough people to get the initiative successfully completed. And that was the companies with a marketing manager, what if there was only the owner(s). There simply is not enough time for marketing.
Over the years, I really started to understand the psyche of this kind of business owner. Most of the time decisions would be made on “what they have always done”, as this was proven safe. In a small business, risky decisions can have a major impact. And as mentioned earlier this can affect everything including family welfare.
It was this frustration, for all parties concerned, that I started to talk to people in the marketing industry such as; graphic designers, web developers, and marketing managers to see what could be done to alleviate the fear of marketing that small business had.
Assertive Marketing was born
So, a group of marketing executives decided to find a way that we can take some of the expense out of the process. Thus, Assertive Marketing was born.
For years now the concept of getting good marketing advice has become too expensive and often out of reach for the smaller business.
The result of this collaboration is what we do.