I received another message from Linked in this morning from yet another group inviting one to contribute and introduce yourself. I thought, great, must get on and do that, all publicity is good publicity! I sell photography and video services someone out there might need them.
But then I looked at the contributions from all over the world and realised they went on and on and on. How many people I thought actually read any of this stuff? How much exposure does this sort of marketing activity actually achieve?
Thinking about the digital age and the marketing budget is a nightmare all businesses must suffer at least on an annual basis. Where is it worth investing? What marketing activity will actually produce the results? Who can you trust to achieve market penetration?
There is no doubt that if you have big budgets, well known products and a team of staff or marketing professionals it is possible to make an impact in the digital world. The possibility of a tweet, article or You Tube video going viral is greatly enhanced if you have money time and technology to throw at it. But what about the majority? I sell photography and video services, but isn’t there a lot of others out there doing the same?
Medium, Small, Micro and businesses that go to make up the majority of the business world work hard at their web sites, tweeting, blogging and Facebooking. Paying other small marketing businesses to assist them quite often with a hope of gaining that elusive edge over their competition. But does it work? I suspect not.
Follow my limited logic here, not everyone can be on the front page of Google whatever the web promoters might say. I sell photography and video services so to get on the front page of Google is going to be hard. Yes a limited budget might get you promoted to the front page on an obscure search term but because it’s obscure what returns is that likely to get – minimal? Brilliant if you are a very particular specialist that has a very small target audience but running a general business genre that many other people do also how do you get noticed?
The time and effort filling out an introduce yourself Linked In comment is unlikely to get exposure beyond the person just above or below your entry. I sell photography and video services in the southeast of the UK – what interest would that be to an event organiser the other side of the world? These are all long shots, these are all lottery wins much in the same way a digital blog or video going viral is about as likely as a lottery win. Should you be wasting valuable sales hours like this?
It seems to me the way to be most effective these days is to be a laser. Target your website to your strengths, make sure your keywords are relevant and keep your blogging regular with automatic distribution to all the main sites to keep the search engines interested and aware of your existence. Get this done outside of your main sales time, once it’s done concentrate on your laser attack. Now do the thing that will make you stand out from the crowd and be remembered by potential clients – pick up the phone and talk to them! People buy people.
It’s obvious, time spent in actual direct contact with potential clients is going to produce far more information on what they want, what they need and when they need it than any tweet, Facebook campaign or linked in contribution.
The world has become digitised so that every Tom, Dick and Harry can broadcast to the world digitally, it potentially can cost nothing, so everyone is doing it, therefore the amount of digital ambient noise out there is so great that the results are going to be minimal.
Be a laser, target your audience. Take a stand at a relevant trade show, go to breakfast meetings, do commercial speed dating. Find a potential client and approach them in every way that others aren’t, in person where possible. I’d say stalk your client like a prey and be the professional with the answers to the problems they might be experiencing. Be a listener rather than a broadcaster.
Everyone likes the sound of their own voice, everyone thinks their opinions are important. Everyone is looking for the person to solve their problem whatever it might be. Aim to be the answer.
Small companies have limited budgets, limited time and limited skill sets most often. The dream has been offered to us all that the digital world can be ours. It’s a long shot, a lottery win. Nothing can replace the most basic foundation all companies need, the ability to go out and physically sell. Physically find your client and answer their needs. I sell photography and video services and it’s nearly time to pick up the phone and start selling, my digital downtime is nearly at an end, enough time wasted on the digital world, time to sell in the real world!
By Brian Russell
Copyright July 2014.