Think Small for More Effective Marketing.
Trying to do too much often results in nothing being done well.
You don’t need to conquer the world – just your town. If you find marketing overwhelming, it’s time to think smaller for more effective marketing.
Social media is overwhelming. If you follow the advice online, you would spend more time creating posts than running your business. It may be time to stop thinking about what big brands do and concentrate on what works for your business, even if that means doing very little.
Big brands rely on generating thousands of enquiries per week and no doubt have a team of creative people to research, plan, design, post and engage. Not to mention the budget for paid advertising.
For a small business, there is no point in thinking along those lines. It doesn’t matter what companies like Anglian, Wren or Hammonds are doing.
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Just because they are more visible, it doesn’t mean they are doing it right.
Two years ago, Hammonds changed its marketing strategy ready for the January Sales. Traditionally, a lot of their inbound marketing came from leaflet drops. With a big fanfare sales meeting with the theme ‘The Greatest Show on Earth, the new director announced that they were stopping leaflet drops in favour of TV ads and Social Media. The difference was staggering. In the preceding September, they had taken on an additional 80 self-employed designers so that they could train them in time for the expected deluge of enquiries. It didn’t happen. They were left trying to feed too many designers which meant that inexperienced designers were sent on appointments while loyal, long-serving designers sat at home.
In addition, the enquiries were of lower quality. Over the previous three years, I expected 1 in 20 to be no-sits. (Nobody home for the appointment). With the change in target market, no sits increased to 5 in 20. Too many appointments were simply the wrong market for Hammonds or were of low value. ‘Bread and Butter but no jam’. Even now during COVID, a lot of the older generation prefer to buy high-value items from someone they know and trust. That was definitely the case, two years ago. We didn’t get enough enquiries from our usual source which naturally included mid to later years who were less likely to find a supplier on the internet.
The result of this was approximately 70 new designers who didn’t earn enough and were gone by the end of January. Morale in the sales teams hit an all-time low. The company surely must have earned less profit as we were having to drop prices lower than ever before to get the deal and the company had to guarantee our commission rate to incentivise us to sell.
According to Hammonds, the target was achieved in that they increased their market share. In my opinion, it was a hollow victory that damaged the brand.
You don’t need to be famous to be successful.
For more effective marketing, concentrate on closer to home. Micro famous in your own town. What’s the point of marketing that you can’t control? If you’re a local company that works within an hours distance, spend your time focusing on that area. Start with what you can do. More importantly, what you can do consistently. You do not need thousands of followers. Chasing the vanity metrics – building followers – is useless if those followers are never going to buy from you. Better to have 100 engaged followers than 10,000 who don’t engage.
Make your priority to be the best-known supplier in your town, in the area that you work. I’ve worked with several small companies who have been in business for over thirty years but have no local presence at all.
Of course, you are busy so it is typical that small companies go months without doing any marketing and then have a flurry of posting everywhere in a quiet afternoon. They don’t go back to engage with any comments or attempt to push the posts further.
If you’re short of time, work out what you can do consistently. The ‘know, like and trust’ factors are the most important. If you’ve researched marketing agencies, you’ve probably been put off by the cost. There are no guarantees, especially with SEO results that can’t be seen for several months. Start small. Use a marketing Virtual assistant to design posts for you or to engage with local groups, to follow other local pages and comment.
Start with the nucleus of what you have and make sure that when you are found, you have the best chance of converting those enquiries to sales.
If you make the most of everything you have and work outwards optimising every opportunity, you should not need to waste time in vain on marketing platforms that are not right for you.
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