I’ve been watching Alex Polizzi – the Fixer again! (Don’t groan, it’s packed with good lessons in business.) In this episode Alex was helping a struggling pet shop in Wimbledon. There were all sorts of problems: uninviting windows and shopfront, illogical displays which bore no relation to sales, clutter, staffing issues and a lack of management. However the one I want to talk about is a lack of marketing. If people don’t know about your business or all of its products and services they can’t buy them.
‘Marketing doesn’t work.’
In the programme we see an exchange between the owner and his partner in which the owner is defending his lack of marketing. In the ensuing argument he says, ‘I’m the one with the degree in marketing.’ Pardon? Did I hear that right? He has a degree in marketing but isn’t marketing his business! He thinks marketing doesn’t work. What did they teach him on that degree? I digress.
Marketing does work! It’s not easy. Not everything we do brings about the returns we want but that’s why we try and test and tweak.
Making your marketing work.
Your marketing needs to resonate with your target customer. No-one else matters! So here are some questions you need to ask yourself before you start:
- Who is my target customer?
- What problem do they have that I can solve?
- What impact does that problem have on them? What have they got to gain from solving that problem?
- How do I solve that problem for them? Think of the benefits not just the features
- How can I convince them that my solution is the right one? Think guarantees, testimonials,evidence etc.
- What one action do I want them to take? For example, book an appointment, call for more information, download a checklist etc.
Do a sanity check!
When the owner of Creature Company finally got round to producing a flier we see an interested prospect asking for his phone number. It wasn’t on the flier! (No wonder his marketing doesn’t work).
Yesterday, at a networking event, a business owner gave out her flier, someone had to ask her when the event she was promoting would be taking place!
It’s easy to get things wrong. So when you’ve drafted your marketing material put it to one side for a period of time to give yourself the distance which will allow you to spot some mistakes. Then check:
- You have answered the above questions
- You have thought of the questions your prospect needs the answer to and have provided the answer or signposted where they can be found (e.g. visit our website)
- That crucial information is there e.g. date, time and place for an event.
- That your contact details are obvious. (You will be more trusted if you have a physical address and perhaps a landline number).
- You have one clear, unambiguous call to action which is appropriate to your target market and their problem.
When you think you’ve got it right show someone else. Ask them if it is clear. Would they know what to do? Do they have any questions you haven’t answered?
Until March 31st 2015 I am offering a free check of one piece of marketing material. Just send it to firstname.lastname@example.org, no explanations, no questions, just your contact details. I’ll check it out and get back to you within 7 days.