You know that you must promote your business to succeed. After all if no one knows you exist, you kind of don’t. You read in a forum post that Facebook has millions of users and that every business should have a presence. You create a fan page and write updates for a week. Five people like your site.
The next week you see an article that talks about the value of article marketing. The author shares her success with article marketing and how it drove traffic to her site. You write and upload ten articles to article directories.
You receive an email from a well known marketer that shares the value of press releases. You hire a freelancer to write a press release and upload it to press release distribution sites.
Later that day, you read a forum posting touting the value of twitter for small business marketing. Eager to succeed you immediately sign up for twitter and write your first update – “Trying out twitter.”
At the end of three months, your traffic is stagnant, and you have signed up for so many sites you have lost track of where you’ve been. Yet, the only business you have is the result of old fashioned networking and meeting. You go back to one of the online forums and declare that online marketing and social media do not work. You join the ranks of those who profess that this “social media thing” is nothing more than hype that will soon be exposed for a lack of results.
I tried Twitter but it did not work.
I sent a press release but they didn’t respond.
Social media is nothing more than a time suck.
If you have ever uttered any of the above phrases you may be among the hit and run drivers. None of the above tactics are bad but the only results you will get from a hit and run strategy is a pile of bodies in your wake so deep that you will not even remember the roads you traveled.
The best marketing tactic is the one that you do consistently. You do the work in advance to develop a strategy. Where is your target audience? What is the best distribution channel to reach them? What are you goals? What will you measure? How will you measure it?
You plan, implement, monitor, test, tweak and repeat. You refine your approach but you do not give up.
Social media and digital marketing strategies are not a replacement for all other strategies but another tactic for your marketing toolbox. Decide how and where it fits into your business and then choose a tactic that you can sustain.
When you commit to a marketing tactic, give it your best. Do it well and do it consistently. A self promotional update on Twitter every 5 days is not a strategy. Think a self promotional piece of drivel labeled a press release uploaded to a free site is going to land you on the pages of the Wall Street Journal? Think again.
You can market your business successfully using the telephone. If that’s your thing and you commit time to do it consistently, it will work.
If you are looking for a magic bullet that will cost you neither time nor money, then you should pack up your marbles and go back to the ranks of the employed. There is always a cost to marketing even when it’s free. However, if you do the work, you will get the results and with more business you can enhance your marketing even more.
How about you? Have you tried and abandoned techniques believing that they did not work? What marketing do you do consistently?
Karen Swim says
David, today more than ever there are shiny distractions calling for our attention, and far too many people hawking their new gadgets and tools as the best thing since sliced bread. You are not alone in your distraction. However, you are far better off picking one channel and maximizing it to the fullest. Where and how do you have the best chance of reaching your target audience? Let that guide you in your choice. And of course if you need help or answers, I am here. 🙂
Karen, I felt you were talking to me directly. I have flitted around social mktg like a demented butterfly. I have even paid for ‘likes’ on Fiverr 😉 I know in my heart that consistency is the key but their are too many distractions and way too many smooth talking gurus on the IM forums.
Totally agree, way to many business owners try a little bit of this and a little bit of that and never focus on something specific.
Focus and you will succeed. Do hit and run marketing and you will fail. It’s as easy as that.
Relationship building and trust are definitely keys to building a long-term business relationship. I have several small businesses as SEO clients and I meet in person with each of them at least once a month. This has proved to be invaluable, particularly when they need the inevitable explanation for the inevitable SERP changes week to week. Thanks for the post and the spot-on reminder.
Wendi, you hit the nail on the head! Trust – it is built over time and requires a stick-to-it strategy rather than a drive-by. Once you’ve developed that trust you can vary the frequency, think of well established brands who don’t always advertise. Thanks Wendi for sharing, your thoughts as always add value to the conversation.
Wendi Kelly says
Great thought- Hit and Run Marketers..it really puts a spotlight on the concept of how much persistence it takes to get your personal and business branding to stick in someone’s mind. Although I think there is nothing more valuable than building a personal trusting relationship, repetition is still key, there is always a new shiny penny to distract clients- and even friends- away from our business.
I think the key for me is to find the Social Media tool we like and stick to a few strategic ones and build on them. So far, Facebook and Buzz are two I am on daily, and Twitter I catch up on when I can but don’t keep it on all the time because I find it is distracting to my work. No Social Media is valuable if in the end it keeps me from getting the original work done in the first place!
Karen Swim says
Hi Alina! Yes it’s so true isn’t it that if you have unrealistic expectations you will not be satisfied with the results? The exciting thing is that we really do have a huge opportunity to teach people how to effectively use new media. The majority are not yet using or are not using effectively. No magic bullets, as you say, just good old fashioned work.
.-= Karen Swim´s last blog ..Hit and Run Marketing =-.
Alina Popescu says
I don’t know why people associate social media with fast results…Maybe because they have seen movies stars joining Twitter and getting millions to follow them? 🙂 In the real world, social media does work, but it depends what part of it you choose, they don’t all work for all companies and how much time and thought you dedicate to it. Some invest hoardes of time, but lack focus. Others now what they should do, but either do it for 2 days or once a month, and miss out on…well, a lot!
People are quick to understand that one channel or another works, but don’t take the time to find out how, this is how we get to magic bullets and overnight miracles!
Great post as always Karen!
.-= Alina Popescu´s last blog ..5 Ways to Prosper in Social Networking =-.
Robyn, great insight and it makes sense that this would apply to the receiving side of marketing. When messages are heard consistently we default to thinking of the brand for that particular solution. Interesting!
Robyn McMaster says
Karen, consistency makes a difference in anything we do. Our brains are wired for doing things a certain way and when they change we have to rewire. Once won’t do the trick since the brain goes to default, which is the old way of doing something. We have to do anything new many times to reprogram our default.
.-= Robyn McMaster´s last blog ..Listening Beams from the other Side of Questions =-.
Joanna, it’s that sense of adventure. For a time I simply ignored everything new and focused because I was becoming overwhelmed. Recently, I’ve struck a balance with testing new and shiny things one day a week but remaining committed to just a few things. I play without guilt but don’t set up shop there.
Brad, it’s so true about repetition. I find that sometimes I forget what people do for a living even though I may interact with them often via social media. If they don’t occasionally remind me I don’t remember. Then there are others that I absolutely associate with what they do because they have consistently branded their services. I have not always taken my own advice so this post is my very public accountability tool. 😉
Ulla, you might look into other promotional vehicles. There are tons of free directories and online ad services. You can also automate some of your promotions to help you manage it more effectively, just be careful to balance automation with live interaction.
Deb, there’s a great post on Web Worker Daily today on avoiding social media burnout. My advice is to pick one thing that you can sustain with your current resources, decide on your level of engagement and stick with it. You can always add or use other platforms just for fun but for business choose just one thing and be realistic with your choice. Questions to ask: purpose? best place to connect with my target audience? resources to sustain? Be realistic with your expectations and your commitment. If you need additional help, let me know.
Deb Frawley says
I definitely agree with the others that this can’t be said often enough, thanks Karen 🙂 I confess I’m one of the HIt and Run marketers and I should know better by now! Anybody have any really good secrets for keeping me on track when it comes to marketing?
.-= Deb Frawley´s last blog ..How to Network With Other Business People =-.
Ulla Hennig says
Very good advice, Karen! And one that I’ve got to repeat like a mantra. I’ve got that small zazzle shop and promoting one of my products every two days or so is just not enough. There’s so much going on in the webs that persistence is all that counts.
.-= Ulla Hennig´s last blog ..We need a name! =-.
Brad Shorr says
Karen, You can’t repeat this advice often enough. Why? Because in marketing and many other business disciplines, repetition is essential. Messages don’t sink in the first time around. As Joanna points out, social media engagement is exposure to bombardment. That goes for the receivers as well as the senders.
Joanna Paterson says
Sensible advice Karen! I think part of the problem with spending time in social media space is that you’re constantly being bombarded with the next bright idea so it’s hard to remember it’s worth sticking with that thing you’ve already started…
.-= Joanna Paterson´s last blog ..This is Not a Memoir =-.