So many entrepreneurs and business owners are working 60, 70 or more hours each week mastering their business, networking, meeting with their teams, tracking reports, evaluating profits and loss, meetings with the accountants and their department leaders while also doing everything else that is important to them in their business.
The endless options of things to do when starting, building and running a business can feel daunting and are certainly exhausting at times!
Then someone like me comes along in their journey and shares how the internet is disrupting or is about to disrupt their business and that there are things you will have to consider if your business is going to grow.
Last week I was sharing with some extremely successful entrepreneurs near Washington D.C. how mass marketing is being replaced with a newer form of marketing that is more direct and attractive to their consumers.
Here was the interesting part; everyone in the room knows things are changing. They see it in the number of prospects they are receiving, where the prospects are coming from and the fewer sales they are earning compared to four years ago.
Marketing and sales is getting harder; not easier thanks to technology.
In the room the following industries were represented:
- Government contractors
- Engineering firms
- Energy and Construction industries
We talked a lot about clarity and what clarity is (which I’ll share below) and how clarity informs strategy (see this image of how the internet works).
It is a lot to take in and how does an entrepreneur decide where his or her time is when they are maxed out? How do you devote time and energy to something as big and overwhelming as this?
How the Internet is Changing?
While we can all sense and see the effects of change, understanding it and knowing what to do about it is something completely different.
For most founders, entrepreneurs and business owners they have something they are offering or selling and are focused on creating the business and product or service for someone to buy it.
They know and understand their business and their product or service but over a short period of time they become a jack of all trades and end up focusing and prioritizing based on which fire is burning the hottest or where their attention is being drawn; or worse yet where they feel most confident and comfortable.
Let’s be honest; most of us don’t have degrees let alone experience in marketing. It’s a learned skill that is continually evolving online and keeping up is a massive pain the…
In the old days (which isn’t so old and for many it’s still current) advertising was the way to grow a business.
In over 20 years of experience in both the for-profit and non-profit world I’ve learned that marketing is generally a mutually responsive process. It requires interaction
Advertising on the other hand is a one-way form of communication. I solicit something to a very broad audience based on price or a unique message and hope that a small number of people respond.
How does advertising work?
- Disrupt the audience and get their attention (think of tv commercials at the high point – they know you’re watching, lol…)
- Once attention happens persuade
- Convert into action (i.e. a sale)
In advertising, the audience is loosely targeted and the results are rarely cost effective for small business.
Advertising can be in the form of:
- Direct mail
- Door Hangers
- Newspaper advertisements
- Internet bulletin boards or directories
- Television ads
- Radio ads
- Magazine ads
- Cold Calling
- Business card marketing
- News websites with pop-ups and banner ads
The goal is to earn a high number of views that result in a product or brand being creating in the mind of the person who sees the ads over and over again.
According to a report by Harvard Business School, In 2013, the average American was exposed to about 52,000 TV commercials. I remember reading in 2011 in the Harvard Business review that on average it took over 150 impressions for an offline person to think about your product or service.
Would you like to see the troubling trends that Harvard has identified when it comes to marketing? Check out this pdf from them titled “The Rising Cost of Consumer Attention: Why You Should Care, and What You Can Do about It” written in January 2014” written in January 2014 (PDF)
While prices are going up it’s interesting to note that consumers are paying less and less attention to advertising. They are listening less. They can skip the ads, go to another website to get what they want or purchase ad free entertainment options through resources such as:
- Spotify, iTunes, etc
- Satellite radio
- Digital magazines
- Blog articles
Marketing is Changing at an Alarming Rate
We know that people are now looking for products or a service on their own terms based on their own needs, wants or desires; hence the rise and popularity of content marketing.
Content marketing is a form of digital communication that is designed to attract, engage and develop competency with an individual who is able, willing and ready to buy.
What is content marketing?
It can be a website, landing page, blog article, video, podcast, social media post, email, case study, virtual conference, webinar, white paper, research report… anything you can create online that provides value.
What is Value?
One of the most over-used and least understood terms; value is defined by:
- Solving one problem, for one person, with one solution
- Meeting one need, for one person
- Fulfilling one desire
Value is a tool that creates competency and demonstrates that we as businesses understand our prospects and customers and are here to serve them over ourselves.
Content marketing is not advertising; it’s a form of communication that educates and informs; and then asks the audience to do something with what they have learned. Content marketing is designed to demonstrate over-and-over again that you are competent, capable, and understand your specific audience.
Back to You Mr or Ms Business Owner Who Doesn’t Have Time
Okay, so you recognize that things are changing and that you don’t know what you don’t know. You’ve been experiencing the negative aspects of the change as a result but before now couldn’t piece it together.
I hope that this is beginning to make some sense?
But what are you supposed to do when you already have a million things that is clamoring for your time and energy?
What is your role?
It’s my belief that as a business owner your chief responsibility is to ensure the growth of your company. Everything else pales in comparison.
Every company is built on five pillars in successive order:
- Product or Service Delivery
- Customer Service
On Thursday I asked the group in DC where do most business owners spend their time and energy?
If you’re like most you recognize it’s in the area of administration.
Yet admin doesn’t make you money… it sucks your money up.
If you learn one thing from this article it ought to be that the number one thing you do is ensure the growth of your company and you do that by MARKETING!
It’s your job to learn:
#1: The complete clarity around your business by learning and discovering:
- What specific problems you’re passionate about solving
- The tangible values your customers experience through your business
- The “SPECIFIC” problems each tangible value solves
- Who you “specifically” solve the problems for
- How your product or service is a part of the solution
- HOW TO MESSAGE YOUR BUSINESS SO THAT YOUR AUDIENCE KNOWS “WHAT BUSINESS YOU ARE “REALLY” IN”
#2: Take the information from above to create specific strategies and measurable and specific goals as it pertains to what you learn.
You create the strategies based on the information above, measure the results against the goals and then execute them to earn more customers who are able, willing and ready to buy from you.
All of this takes time! But, it’s the type of time that if you master it will change your business forever!
It may be that you’re not necessarily the person who needs to do all of the writing or be in the videos.
But let me say this and I hope you hear me really clear:
It’s your job to gain the clarity your business, team, vendors and customers need so that they know “why” and how they should buy you!
That’s not your team’s job, it’s yours!
No one can do this for you.
It has nothing to do with what you sell and yet 100% of the time even when I say that it’s where my clients will want to start.
The truth is that what you sell isn’t all that important and there is likely someone else out there doing what you do just as well as you; if not better.
The difference is in how and to whom you communicate.
In some recent articles I’ve talked about:
- How to network online
- How I got featured in a Fortune 500 company blog
- Been featured on some amazing and highly popular blogs through articles, podcasts and webinars
- Been linked to thousands upon thousands of times over the last year
- Earned a ton of sales
What was the key?
It was clarity!
Mr or Ms Entrepreneur; You Don’t Have Time to Not Be Clear and Then Execute
While I understand there is a lot to do in your business and the marketing can be overwhelming my advice is simply this:
- Recognize that the marketing world is changing and so is how you will have to message your business
- Get the complete clarity you need
- Create the strategies and goals
- Execute one at a time
Don’t get overwhelmed by doing too much too quickly. That is just as counter-productive as not doing anything.
Start small and do one thing. Master it and get in the habit of doing it and then expand to the next thing.
Here is the reality; you can’t do this by yourself. If you could you would have already done it.
You need someone who can guide you to gain clarity and then help you discern where to get started and how to grow into it.
Recently I had an incredible opportunity to work with blogging superstar Adrienne Smith and here is a snippet of what she had to say;
“Don helped me understand what I was doing wrong and how to make my message much more clear so that I would start attracting that particular crowd. Thanks to Don I’m on the right path, I can see the changes happening and am much more excited about my future. “ (See Adrienne’s full testimonial)
If that’s you and if you want to discover how to get more clear, focused, organized and prioritized for your business; I want to encourage you to contact me today by clicking here to get on my calendar. There is no obligation or commitment on your part.
I do hope to hear from you and I want to learn more about you and your business so be sure to click here and schedule one hour with me.
Do you have a question, comment or idea you would like to share? Please, engage with me in the comments below and talk about it!!!