Myth-Busting Your Marketing Strategies and Objections
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So here’s a little bit about me before you read this article. I’ve been a marketing professional for over 10 years. I’ve worked with thousands of businesses in the Chicagoland area and currently have 300+ customers on retainer annually through the company I work for. I’m a pretty relaxed/even keeled individual, but every so often I get a customer that infuriates me and/or wishes to go in a different direction. Sometimes it makes perfect logical sense, other times it boggles my mind. So in an act of pure frustration, I wrote down some of the objections that come out of my customers mouths and try to do a little myth busting. My apologies in advance if the wording isn’t the most politically correct.
Myth: Our product is so good, we don’t need to do any marketing.
Let’s get real, real quick: “If you build it, they will come” only worked in the movie Field of Dreams. I cringe every time I hear the words “Our company’s product/idea/website is awesome. All we need to do is post on social media or rely on our repeat/referral business.” Never mind the fact that more than 80% of small businesses go out of business in the first 5 years, your brain-trust idea of recent success on Facebook will beat the national statistics. Awesome (sarcastic). Every business has its ebbs and flows. You’re going to lose people to attrition. Technology advances, cultures change. If you do not adapt to how people are finding a product or service, you will soon wonder why you aren’t being found. Pretty soon your business will go in the same toilet that Blockbuster, Woolworth’s, and Pan Am. (There really could be an article dedicated to just this. objection alone) For more information on how a business owner should think differently about marketing their business on 2015, click on my recent blog post “It’s time to Think Differently About Marketing Your Business.”
Myth: I’m a small business, I don’t have the budget to do marketing and everything seems so expensive.
This by far, the biggest question and objection I have when I write an article, meet with a customer for the first time or tell a customer it’s time to expand their marketing portfolio. Yes, marketing CAN be expensive. It’s all relative to what is your profit margin for your products/services and what is your Return on Investment (ROI)? Harvard Business School and the U.S. Small Business Administration says that you should be spending 7-10% of your Gross sales on marketing and advertising your business each year. Why do you think the top business school in the nation is telling you this? Because you’re going to lose business. Every year this will happen. People are going to move or die (attrition), people are going to want to try something different, you may raise your prices, and people are going to be unhappy with your service. As a business owner you need to actively bring in new customers to fill those empty spots. A new customer has a lifetime value of about 3 referrals to your business. Why wouldn’t you want to get those new customers and their referral base? For more information on advertising on a budget feel free to read my blog post about “Advertising on a Budget.”
Myth: We spent all this time on a new website, so our work is done.
Yes, you’ve developed a great-looking new site. Congratulations! Your colleagues and staff told you to do it and you FINALLY caved. Maybe some of your current customers took a look at the beta-version or newly launched website and loved it. All done? Quite the opposite, in fact. Now the work really begins. It’s crazy to think that new website with a few more pages and an updated look is going to turn your company around or impact sales. All a new website does is create a better business card for your product or service online with the hope that you will FINALLY put some marketing behind it. A new website does NOT equal new sales. A New Website does NOT equal more people finding your site. In fact, many new websites take a step BACK in the rankings once they are created. I equate a new website to putting lipstick on a pig. You can pretty it up a little bit, but at the end of the day, it’s still a pig. And to get the pig a blue ribbon at the fair, you have to market it aggressively! For more information on what to do one you create a new website, feel free to read my article on the next steps for marketing a website once it’s created.
Myth: Even if my website stinks and has a low conversion rate, I should blame all my web failures on my SEO or social media agency
This objection is something internet marketers hear all the time. Most websites NEED to be updated every 2-5 years. Technology advances so rapidly and you can only do so much with what you got. Most small businesses who built a website in 2008-09 (which is what we regularly see is the case) think that their site is just as effective as a website built in 2015. It’s asinine. Do you have the same phone you had in 2009 (wait, don’t answer that)? Trying to teach the old dog (website) new tricks (SEO) is possible, but highly unlikely to convert to the same or better success then a website created and developed in today’s standards. Google made 500 algorithm changes alone in 2014. You should have a company that isn’t afraid to tell you what’s wrong with your presence online but if you’re unwilling to adapt they can only do so much. For more information on simple SEO strategies, feel free to read my article on SEO Strategies 101.
Myth: People will buy our product because it’s cheaper than the competition’s.
Really? Cheap prices don’t automatically translate into massive word-of-mouth, PR, and market share for your business. People have to actually know you exist. Offering a cheaper price than your big name competition doesn’t do you any good if no one knows about you. Cheap prices also have a double edge sword. It can get temporary cash flow coming into your company, but after awhile, you’ll lose those clients to other “cheap/quick fix” companies or the other companies to who market to them consistently. You’re attracting the Groupon mentality where there is no customer loyalty. Once a consumer tries someone else for the first time, it makes them coming back to your company less likely. Who is to say that they will even come back to you?
Myth: We need to get as many people as possible to our website.
Traffic to your website is an amazing thing. The more amount of eyeballs the better right? Honestly, there is a big difference between getting traffic and getting the right kind of traffic, especially if you’re spending time (SEO, social, content marketing) and money (PPC, PR, advertising) to generate it. Which is better: getting 200 highly targeted visitors, of which 25 become leads, or 2000 wide-ranging visitors, of which 15 become leads? The goal of online advertising is conversion ratio. Targeted online marketing to the right group of consumers is better than spraying and praying. If you’re curious on if your company should be implementing PPC or SEO strategies, check out the blog post discussing that topic.
Myth: Our brand needs a mobile app.
Mobile is a vehicle or channel, not a brand strategy. The only branded apps that have an impact are ones that serve a need. In other words, apps must be developed the way new products and services are. How many small businesses actually have an app that gets downloaded? How many small businesses have an app that gets turned inactive/deleted users after 60 days? The idea of an app is something that is hot right now, but not for the small/medium businesses.
Myth: You should ignore negative feedback/reviews .
Social media is a spectator sport. It’s not about making the upset customer happy or solving the customer’s problems right then and there. You can’t always solve people’s problems and some customers are just difficult and want to vent. Being active on review websites is about making sure your brand is on record as listening and caring, because thousands of other customers or potential customers will read them. My own catchphrase is you’re either going to manage your reviews, or the reviews will manage your business online. It’s incredibly simple for anyone to write a review (positive or negative), and the sad truth is business owners don’t pay too enough attention to what’s being said about them. For more information on the biggest pitfalls small/medium size businesses face, click on this blog post.
Myth: Google+ is dumb.
Don’t discount the tremendous SEO value in Google+. Posts from Google+ are being indexed in the SERPs. Even if you’re not seeing a lot of engagement on Google+, you might see a bump in your organic search rankings as a result of your activity there.Answer every comment – positive or negative – and do it FAST. Your Google+ page is what is helping you show up on Google Maps. Without one, the likelihood on showing up on Google Maps is a long shot.
Myth: Your social media manager should be really young, they’re the only ones who “get it.”
Many small businesses have “a guy.” There’s a “guy” for everything nowadays. The difference is these “guys” don’t really do much. Because you’re probably not PAYING them much (You get what you pay for)! What’s worse is that business owners take the time to give their professional business marketing to their kids or recently graduated college kids who use Facebook in their personal lives and try to incorporate that for businesses they work for. You need someone who has been working in the industry for years! Young people may know how to use the website, but they have no experience MARKETING the website yet. A business should have a marketing portfolio managed by a professional marketing department. If you cannot afford a marketing department, there are outsourced marketing agencies who can manage a wide variety of marketing services. Much like payroll, HR and other outsourced agencies to handle the things you’re not an expert in, marketing agencies work with a wide spectrum of budgets and their sole purpose is to provide opportunity for you to generate more sales so you have more cash flow to increase your advertising budget in the long term.
Myth: I’m getting most of my new business from Social Media.
This is honestly the most hilarious thing I hear in my daily marketing life. Most of the people with whom you are communicating in social are your current customers. Research from DDB found that 84% of the fans of company Facebook pages are – on average – current or former customers of the brand. Of course they are. We “like” what we actually like. Social media is not designed to generate new business. You’ll have a few referrals when someone may ask, but those are usually few and far between. Be honest with yourself. When you have a need for a lawyer, plumber, doctor, HVAC contractor or whatever issue you may have in your day to day life, you don’t think to Facebook search it. People confuse REFERRALS from Social Media as Social media advertising. It’s simply not.
Myth: I don’t need video Marketing – Nobody Will Watch It
Marketing is about being where the people are, right? People spend up to 20 hours a month on average watching videos online on sites like YouTube and Hulu. There’s a reason why YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google. Some people prefer to learn visually and find it more entertaining to watch a video as opposed to reading a blog post or an article. If you aren’t using video to improve your brand visibility online and boost your SEO efforts, you should be. Every business has a website and is fighting for a prominent search engine presence, but there are very few businesses fighting for a YouTube presence. That means that creating and posting videos provides you with more opportunities to target specific keywords. These keywords have a great potential to rank for SERP’s. Many businesses are hesitant to create videos but in the long run it should produce great dividends.
Myth: My Video isn’t Professionally created. It needs to be up to Hollywood Standards
If you are a multi-billion dollar company like Nike, that’s one thing. But if you own and operate a small business nobody expects you to have a video that looks like it cost a few thousand dollars to produce. A marketing video needs to be professional looking, have proper sound and image quality, and provide value. Most phones you or your staff have in your office have cameras that will work just fine and there are numerous free or inexpensive editing programs available that can get the job done.
Myth: Too much content will give away your secrets
Why are personal trainers even a thing? Why are there life coaches? We all know what to do and how to do it but the fact of the matter is we just don’t. We need a kick in the ass every so often. As business owners we could look at or know most of the things we should be doing everyday to improve our company. But there are only 24 hours a day and we don’t have time to do what we need to do to improve our businesses. But you see many individuals who use their talents to teach you for free the generalities of everything. You can find them all over the internet. How many videos are out there about repairing the brakes on your car, or unclogging a garbage disposal, a great exercise program or a new recipe? Even if there is free information out there, we still call the experts! Also remember, a list of ingredients doesn’t make someone a chef. Don’t be afraid to let customers peek behind the curtain a little. Free content helps generate your personal or company’s brand and ultimately, increase your sales.
The sad thing is a small to medium size business owner doesn’t know what they have until it’s gone and for the most part, their pride and ego won’t admit that they made a mistake leaving their vendor. We see that all to often that the saving of a couple dollars feels good temporarily but it only hurts them in the long run. If you are one of those business owners who is questioning your current marketing agency, before you make a rash decision find your KPI and conversion ratios. If you leave your vendor for a new one, make sure you compare previous results from new ones. If you leave to pocket your marketing investment then you better make sure you have a pulse on what they were bringing in vs. what you receive after the point of termination. And don’t be afraid to contact them back and admit when you need help again.