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I learned the importance of marketing shortly after college. Back then I thought – if you were good at what you did and had a good product or service; you’d be okay at the end of the day. That’s how I thought at the time. I was wrong. There are lots of people out there who are good at what they do but fail anyway. If American Idol, America’s Got Talent, The X-Factor and all the other shows like them across the world have shown us anything it’s this – there are plenty of unknown, talented people out there. They’re struggling because not enough people know what they can do.
Keep in mind, that’s just in the world of music and entertainment. That’s just scratching the surface.
At the end of the day, enough people who are interested in your type of product, service or skill have to know you exist. They have to who you are, where you are and really want what you have to offer.
There are times, however, when even that is not enough. That’s when you’ll learn what I call the “hard marketing lessons.”
Hard Marketing Lesson #1
You have a good product in the wrong market. If you have a good product and no one is buying it, it’s quite possible you’re in the wrong market. You can remove the word “market” and replace it with location. This is a common problem that exists for new restaurants. The food may be good… but it’s also good in dozens of other locations, too. It may be that the area is saturated with good restaurants! The average person doesn’t go out to lunch or dinner seven days a week. When you have a load of “good solutions” – one right next to the other, the consumer wins while most of the businesses – lose.
Possible Solution: Find another market. It’s not enough to have the right product. You need the right market, too.
Hard Marketing Lesson #2
You’re on a shoe-string budget and can’t afford to buy advertising. On the bright side, advertising in traditional media isn’t the cure-all it used to be. Far from it. Less people are reading newspapers, magazines and the other traditional forms of media. The Internet has changed everything. While certain things like postcard marketing can still be very effective (as well as other forms of direct marketing), these forms of advertising are well beyond the shoe-string budget campaign.
Possible Solution: Invest your time and energy into developing a simple website strategy. Be sure to buy a domain name that contains your keywords (e.g. BurlingtonHomeRenovations.com). Update your content regularly and share your links on sites where likeminded people gather. Many start-ups have used this strategy and experienced good results. You can, too!
Hard Marketing Lesson #3
Online marketing doesn’t work as well as you thought or hoped it would. This is a hard lesson that loads of people are now discovering for the very first time. Is online marketing just a bunch of hype? It depends who you’re learning from and how much experience they have. One of my business partners is fond saying, “All the experts are right, and all the experts are wrong.” What does this mean? This means that although a certain technique worked well for one person – it doesn’t necessarily work for another. In fact, it sometimes bombs when another person tries it. What you have to realize is, each business (even within the same market) is different. Just because your competition is using email marketing effectively doesn’t mean you’ll be able to do the same. They may be better at writing email content than you are. If one thing worked for everyone across the boards, you’d know it by now. In fact, everyone would know it and everyone would be making the big bucks doing the exact same thing as we speak. It just doesn’t work that way.
Possible Solution: You can never go wrong blogging. Here’s why. Google loves content. With good content, you can grow a following (even if they’re not purchasing from you at the present moment). That same content can later be repurposed or recycled to produce books, ebooks, sales materials and lots of other things to promote both you and your business.
How To Make Social Media Work For You
Social Media works much better for those who use it to socially connect with other people. If you’re the type of person who’d rather keep your business, your interests and everything else to yourself, you’ll be hard-pressed to succeed on social media sites. Social media works best when you use it to meet different types of people and different “crowds.” If you’re the private-type, and that’s okay, you’d be better off using other methods to generate traffic and publicity for yourself and your business.
Regardless of what you’ve been told, social media IS NOT FREE. It requires a time investment and those who benefit the most from it invest their time in it on a regular basis. How much is your time worth to you? We all have the same amount of time in a day, so invest it where it will bring your biggest return. For some people, social media is a golden key for business. For others, it definitely isn’t.