Within the last week, two potential clients (one a start-up, another an established consulting firm) asked me how they should market their business; how could they best let people know about their company? Actually, I think what they’re really asking is: “How can I get customers…right now?”
And they both used the same line: “I want a Magic Bullet.” They wanted to know exactly what it was they should say, what marketing channels they should use and what audience they should target that was guaranteed to succeed.
A Magic Bullet is defined by Webster’s as: “Something that solves a difficult problem easily.”
I wish deciding on the ideal marketing approach were that easy.
Unfortunately, I’ve yet to discover that Magic Bullet (sorry). But of course, if I had, I could have retired by now.
We’d all like to find business success, right here, right now. And with a minimal expenditure of time and money.
Malcolm Gladwell, in his book, The Outliers, talks about the “10,000-hour rule” which, simply stated, says one needs to do something A LOT to gain proficiency. In other words, practice, practice, practice.
If you’ve ever asked for your Marketing Magic Bullet, I can recommend you answer some questions and take these simple, inexpensive first steps to improve your company’s marketing:
- Know your audience – who’s the ideal client for your product or services?
- How does your audience get their information; what media channels do they access? Interview some existing customers and colleagues — find out what their perception is of your business.
- See what your competition is doing – visit their website, social media profiles, check out the content they’ve published. What kind of marketing are they doing?
- Is your brand message clear and concise?
- Can you define your niche?
- Could you promote yourself as the “go-to expert” within a particular niche?
- If not, spend time “deciphering” your brand — write a Positioning Statement — what’s the intersection of your ideal client, their wants and needs, what you offer and the benefits of working with you?
- Create a Mission Statement, Vision Statement and Core Values Statement — these are the roadmaps for your business destination
Do Some Pre-Marketing:
- Think about marketing efforts that you’re comfortable with (not a fan of public speaking or an avid networker?), that could best represent your business and will be seen and well-received by your customer
- Build a Mailing List – every business owner knows it’s less expensive to work with past or existing clients; acquiring new clients requires an increased expenditure of time and money. A mailing list of customers you’ve worked with and business connections you’ve made will be invaluable in your future marketing efforts.
Spending time on the above efforts (much less than 10,000 hours) will guide you towards:
- Better understanding the wants and needs of the audience you want to appeal to
- The message you need to craft to best communicate your brand offerings
- The benefits of working with your company
- What marketing opportunities exist for your businesses within your time, personnel and budgetary guidelines
While not a magic bullet, I can give you one other piece of advice that will do more for your marketing efforts than anything else, it’s “Do Something, Don’t Delay, Start Today.” In other words, stop waiting around for the Magic Bullet and pull the trigger already!