Top Ways Businesses Sabotage Themselves
Like any small business owner, you stepped into this world of self reliance for a few big reasons. This is your passion. You started this business because you have something to offer to the world, you have products or services that really help people. You can make life easier for someone, you have a better product than the big-name brand, and you have something to make the world a better place to live. Now that you’ve become your own boss, you have the freedom to live the way you want to live. No boss breathing down your neck, no one to have to ask permission to take a day off so you can care for your sick child.
You’ve been marketing your business, you have a steady stream of customers, but yet you’re still working on building your customer base. You want to get to that nirvana where you don’t have to keep pounding the streets for clients/customers. You are ready to be that household name, the first person/brand people think of. You are currently spending every dime that you can spare on marketing and yet you know you’re not even close to tapping the market. What is the next step?
In my 10 years of online marketing, I have seen businesses do the work necessary to get to that next level, and I’ve seen more businesses compromise and sabotage their greatness in order to feel safe, to market the “tried and true” way. But I’m going to let you in on a little secret. The “tried and true” way in the digital age is doing the things that seem like the biggest risk.
We are still tangible beings, we want to see the paper or magazine that runs our ad. We want to see the billboard and the digital impressions. We want to see how many people opened our email and if they clicked through to our appointment scheduler or buy now button. Tracking is easy online, but the real issue is our need to feel like we have control over the placement of the ad. We want to put our ad in the most viewed media website, we want our billboard to be on the most traveled street, and we want to have the biggest email list possible. I could go on.
In digital marketing, when we simply try to control an ad’s placement on someone else’s digital product (website, social media, news outlet), thinking that their visitors can be my visitors; we are missing half the picture. And that half of the picture could be the majority of your profits. This leads me to the first self sabotage of your business…
1. Ignore online sales funnels
Every business I can think of needs an active online sales funnel. That doesn’t mean that every business has to have a product for purchase online with a buy now button. It means that if you do not have an active email marketing program, active YouTube channel, or active social media accounts driving traffic – good traffic, to your website or appointment calendar, you are leaving money on the table.
Ask yourself what you believe about marketing. Do you think that you must put out ads on various platforms, like print, billboards, media websites, or the yellow pages, and then wait for the ads to work, because they’ll work if you have enough of them… Or do you believe that you must send a monthly e-newsletter to your mailing list that you created by capturing your customer’s emails, and put up a blog post on your website and share it on your social media accounts that you are marketing sufficiently?
Simply going through the motions of putting out ads and newsletters to customers may get you repeat business, and don’t stop doing that because its cost effective to keep customers, but the way you attract more new customers than you could ever think possible is to create an active online funnel of potential buyers, then give them every amazing reason you can to become your customers.
This kind of sales funnel is created with care and planning and usually takes time to set up and get going. But once it’s in place, you will wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. This will allow you to work in your business and not “on” your business, giving you more time to do the work you do best, and less time working on your marketing. But here’s the kicker, unless you want to be a full time marketer, you need to find a professional or a team of people that can help you set it up and even run it for you.
As one example, our company had a client in a small town in North Dakota. They sold an agriculture related product and were looking to boost their national sales, as they could not simply rely on their local sales or they would go belly up. They traditionally put ads in lots of magazines, went to national trade shows, and already had a well known brand in their industry. However, their online sales funnel consisted of Google pay-per-click ads and not much else. After about 6 months of building their online funnel of new customers, their sales increased 5 fold. They increased their sales to $20 million per month. (Remember this is an ag product with a 5 to 6 figure price tag.) But the increase percentage is just as valid for you. They still were not doing everything possible. But the things they now focused on were more effective and high quality.
2. Dismiss the importance of website content
You wouldn’t believe how many businesses dismiss their website content. 98% of our past web clients have simply given us a brochure to copy and paste the text as their content; given us some photos they took themselves (I’m not including you, photographers, you understand…) and a few paragraphs of text with words misspelled and bad grammar. AND they’ve chosen not to hire our professional content writer (or any pro copywriter) for their content. They made one of the biggest mistakes you can make with your new website – mistaking a web designer for a content creator.
How many times have you thought that your graphic designer who makes your brochure or your web designer who builds the structure of your site is also an expert in what it should say. Big mistake. You’re expecting Picasso to write like Shakespeare. Visual artists often are mainly that – experts on the look of something, making it pleasing to the eye. They look at balance and structure, color and contrast. They will copy and paste your words. That is it. You would be lucky if they caught your spelling and grammar errors.
If you are not a wordsmith, you are sabotaging your business by not hiring one to say what you cannot say yourself – but must be said. You must woo your web visitors. You must inform them with not only a call to action but inspiration and motivation to action.
Great content on your website will move people to becoming a customer; it will move timelines for customers who thought they will eventually get around to it, to wanting it done now. It will remove the common objections that a good sales person can overcome in a conversation, but remember, you haven’t had that conversation yet, and they are on your website, at 11 pm on a Sunday night.
Great content is personal. It tells visitors you are – or were before your product – just like them. How working with you or your product will make them better, prettier, stronger, sexier, or what ever the benefit is, and told in a way that makes them believe and want it all to be true. And for crying out loud – put your bio on your website! I admit that we have gone many years without putting our faces on our websites. But I’m here to tell you that most of the time when I’m looking for a new service provider for most things, if they don’t show me who they are, I keep looking. I want to see their face. I want to know that they’re real people. I don’t care where they are in the world; I just want to feel some kind of personal connection to them.
3. Use social media the way all their friends use social media
Somewhere, some marketing guru made a quick capture video telling people to use social media for their business, and then some of the folks who saw the video and didn’t buy the “system” think they know how to do it. Post stuff about your business on Facebook and Pinterest. Tweet about random things and sales for your product. Share other blog articles that are sort of like your business. Yup, you’re using social media to promote your business.
Has it worked?
There is more to it. Social media is a quick tool for getting information to your followers, but it’s not as easy as just posting your products and then waiting for the phone to ring. Your social circles are finicky, they’re busy, they want the sexy stuff, the wow stuff, the things that make them angry, the puppy videos that make them cry, the pictures of their friend’s 80’s hair, and loads of b.s. that is a waste of good brain cells. But yet, there are businesses whose social media followers make all the difference to their bottom line.
ow to tap into the power of social media is truly an ever changing beast. The listacles and quizzes that every one clicks on one week are totally out the next week. Following the fads of the day are sometimes the thing to do and sometime the thing to avoid. How do you know what is right for your business?
The thing that is right for every business is to communicate with your followers. You must attract followers who engage with your pages. When you involve your followers, you will always have a feel for what makes them respond to you and communicate with you. If you listen. The biggest mistake people make with social media is to constantly put out content without ever asking for engagement. They’re busy finding articles to share, photos to upload, videos to share, and yet they’re not listening. We’ve all made this mistake. We mistake quantity for value. Before you know it, you lose value and fall into the drone of social noise that everyone says is the worst part of Facebook. Too much crap.
What is a person to do?
Fine tune your message in all its form and formats.
Our mission has always been to give people tools and teach them how to use their new tools. With that in mind, we’ve come up with a series of group classes to help you drown out the noise and focus in on your own music. Your business is unique to you, and you have a role to play in your success. We want to help you become greater than where you are at.
If you are like so many other people who see the online courses for learning to market your business, and you want to take the course but stop short of signing up because you would rather be in a room with real people; this learning group is for you.
We meet on a monthly basis to not only learn new marketing skills and knowledge but to put it into practice before we leave the room. Everyone brings their laptop and any content files they want to work on for the evening and we work on their real content plans.
Don’t have a content plan? You will develop one during the class and know what to do with it before you leave.
I’m tired of going to lectures where speakers talk about their experiences and then give us hypothetical scenarios to problem solve in small groups. PUKE! I want to have skills when I leave the room. I want to have implementable assets before I walk out the door. And if I want these things, I think other people want them too.
If you go:
Sign up for our learning group first by emailing lynette @ suite171.com (obviously with no spaces in my email address) and I will send you the schedule. Right now the monthly classes are held in Fargo. This isn’t a public course that just anyone can take. This group is made up of business owners who are committed to helping themselves and helping each other with openness, curiosity, honesty and full commitment. It is not industry exclusive, like a networking group, because there is enough business out there for everyone to thrive. Even if you are a marketing guru yourself and just want to add some tools to your kitbag, you’re welcome to join us. I work with people who want the same thing I want – to have the knowledge to do it themselves. If this sounds like you, I want to hear from you.
Don’t sell your self short by sabotaging your business any more. Join us!