What company doesn’t want to excel online to meet their marketing, sales and production goals? Yet, most companies remind me of the kid who was extremely talented at football but only wanted to play in the games. He wouldn’t practice and felt he had it all together and didn’t need or want the coaching or interaction with his teammates.
Preparation, what preparation? Who needs that? That’s for the people who aren’t any good. Right?
I was recently talking with a marketing executive at pharmaceutical company who felt that they were ready to take the next step and become an online pioneer in their industry.
How awesome is that?
It was an exciting conversation that went something like this:
Company: Don, we believe that our competition isn’t seeing the bigger picture online. Our industry tends to stay with what it knows.
Don: It’s funny you say that because their marketing messages on tv and radio are so well targeted. I can’t watch a sporting event without hearing about the little blue pill in the background, lol…
Company: That’s the point Don, there are some markets that are easily accessible based on the product and then there are others that are simply not. It’s a waste of money. We’ve even figured out that marketing to the end-user has created a perception problem for our industry.
Don: How so?
Company: Well, for one people don’t see us as helping them they see us marketing to them to make money. Of course we want to make money but we also are in business to help improve people’s lives.
Don: Maybe that’s the problem, you’re not messaging that properly or using the right tools or talking to the right people to help you get that message out. How much homework have you done on your niche markets?
Company: That’s the problem; it’s hard to market for many different types of things in a company like ours. We are just hoping to reach 5% of any given audience and it’s too small to justify the cost. We really don’t have a clue where to start online but we know we want to and need to. We just don’t really know where to start.
Are You Playing the Game Without Practicing?
Like our pharmaceutical company, many big companies know exactly who their target markets are, but just like small businesses they have a tendency to blur the lines when it comes to the Internet.
Because they don’t prepare well and it takes a lot more work online that it used to. You have to know a lot about your business and your niche target markets in order to effectively reach them.
This week begins another season of the NFL. I don’t know about you , but I can’t wait!
There is just something special about football. I grew up on it and I love it.
For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a HUGE New England Patriots fan for the last twenty three years. They were 1-15 the first year I started following them. So don’t give me a hard time about how easy it is to be a fan, lol…
I’m sure you can guess who my favorite player is?
(Yes, I took this picture a few weeks ago on the field before the first preseason game between the Patriots and Washington Redskins).
There is one reason Tom Brady is so good in my mind. It’s because he believes in preparation. He works at know every single detail so much so that the coaches are even concerned to speak with him.
Future Hall of Fame coach Bill Belichick said of Brady’s preparation:
“Tom and I get together every week and talk about the preparation for the team we’re playing. He’s a tough player to coach because he’s so well prepared; he’s seen all of the games, he’s seen all of the plays. You can’t walk into a meeting with Tom Brady and only have watched half of the film because he’ll bring up things that he’s seen in other games. You don’t want to be sitting there saying ‘I didn’t watch this,’ or ‘I didn’t watch that.’
You have to be better prepared than he is because he sets such a high standard with his preparation and his level of understanding. As a coach, you’re competing with that, trying to exceed that or else, what are you doing (for him)?
You don’t want to go into a meeting with him and say, ‘Well, this team didn’t hit a lot of outcuts against (this defense).’ He’ll turn around and say, ‘Well, in the Green Bay game last year they did. They hit five of them.’ You’ll want to have seen that game and make sure you know what happened so that he’s not telling you what happened when you should be telling him what happened.” ~ Bill Belichick
I remember a few years ago in an interview (which I conveniently can’t find) Brady said; you prepare for forty hours or more each week for a three hour game. What you do during the week determines what happens in that game. All that time, work, effort and sweat means nothing if you’re not ready to play at 100% and win.
How hard are you practicing for this online marketing game you want to play?
Are you reading, learning, experimenting and growing?
Are you taking the time to connect with others and build your community (link to my previous article on community building to grow your business)?
Have you taken the time to really know and understand what business you’re in? Have you done the hard work of laying out your business?
Do you know how your business functions and runs from marketing, sales, production, customer service and administration?
If you were to meet someone in the elevator right now and you had twenty seconds could you give them a reason to give you their business card?
If someone were on your website is there a reason for them to read your article, contact you or buy from you? After all, you only have a fraction of a second to help them decide what they will do next.
Business is More About Knowing Than Doing
Did you know that 75% or more of all businesses the start will fail within five years? Worse yet, most of those will fail within the first eighteen months.
Do you want to know why?
It’s not because they aren’t doing!
They are doing work. They are:
- Networking with all the wrong people
- Pushing out really bad blog articles no one wants to read
- Attempting to grow their social media followers
- Running from one networking even to another
They are doing, doing, doing and achieving nothing. Many have bought the lie that you have to just keep working hard.
It’s not about working hard, it’s about working smart!
Are you taking the time to learn?
You cannot grow into what you do not know!
If you have an industry or concept that you want to build your business around, you better know as much as you can about your industry.
To play the game online at the highest level you must:
- Know your product or service inside out
- Understand how it benefits people or businesses
- Be in touch with who your audience specifically is
- Develop strategies and goals both online and offline to reach them
- Be disciplined and structured
- Be flexible and able to see trends
- Be willing to be realistic and frank with yourself so that you can pivot and adjust your strategies
- Be sold out to highest standards
- Keep your priorities straight (God, family, work)
You can work yourself into the dirt, but if you don’t have a plan it won’t help you. Preparation and knowing what to do, when to do it, and who to do it for is critical to your success!
Are You Prepared to Win the Online Game of Marketing?
As you go, so go’s your business. It’s only as good as you prepare. If you don’t prepare well and don’t know your business, neither will your website visitors and online prospects. It is not enough to just put squeeze pages together and market people anymore.
People have gotten savvier online and they know what they are looking for and what they want. Are you giving them a reason to check you out?
In many ways marketing and creating sales opportunities for business online is like a game. Are you prepared for it? Do you know what all your options are online? There are over 400 social media applications, numerous blogging communities and directories, countless forums and other ways to reach your audience online.
If you’re not prepared you will fail to reach no one while trying desperately to reach everyone. Your goal is not to the super bowl in February, it’s to win the first game of the season. You take it one game at a time.
So you might be asking yourself at this point how do I do this? Have you ever noticed that in sports there are coaches? In football, here is what a coach partially does:
- Lead the team and gives them direction.
- They prepare meticulously by reading and watching game films and they pay attention to details that others might miss.
- They understand their strengths and weaknesses as a team and are always looking for ways to improve a players skill set or find other players who are better.
- They understand the team they are up against and create strategies to help them utilize their strengths while minimizing their weaknesses and exposure.
- They establish strategies and goals for every single play, player and game.
- They prepare
You have a lot of competition. What’s going to make you different is preparation.
Here are eleven practical tips to help you win more customers online than your competition:
- Create your own unique voice – just be yourself and say it the way you see it.
- Learn how to be a leader of people – it starts with being competent and knowing what you’re talking about.
- Leadership = influence; are you influencing anyone with your ideas?
- Do the hard work of defining who your specific target audiences are and engage with them.
Write original, compelling and interesting articles that people will relate to.
- Don’t just share out your articles to social media – get involved in a blogging community where your target market exists (click here to see a list of communities I engage in).
- Engage with other bloggers that serve the same audience you do but in a different way via comments and shares – build a lot of goodwill and help others first.
- If someone comments on your blog, always comment back.
- If you comment on someone else’s blog, look to see if you can contribute to another comment thread as well for the only purpose of contributing valuable and helpful information.
- Don’t allow your website to just be a blog – it has the potential to be so much more so that people know who you are, what you offer, and how you can help them.
- Build a loyal community who will become your raving fans (Read this article by Catherine Holt titled “5 Tips For Building An Engaged Blog Community”).
- Research your options for marketing online and create the strategies, goals and objectives to earn the business you seek from your target markets.
- Know exactly how your website is performing.
Here are the keys to the game:
- If you don’t know your business neither does anyone else. Figure out what business you’re really in!
Study hard. Know the trends and patterns of online marketing and stay current while getting ahead of the competition.
- Create your strategies. If you don’t know where you are going you will never get there.
- Be flexible and willing to adjust your strategies as the conditions require you to.
- Be ready to connect with your audience and engage with them daily.
- Never leave an opportunity wasted.
If you find you’re struggling then you would be right. Don’t be content and mediocre online. You cannot afford for that to happen. The longer the internet is around the more things are going to change.
Don’t waste your time by putting up the wrong stuff online. What you do is too important for those who need you to either be distracted by your bad online presence or ignore you or just as bad not be found at all.
That choice is up to you!
Are you tired of struggling? Learn how you can become successful at online marketing.