Building from a “Brand First” concept, I’d like to address the most common trouble areas that businesses have when taking their ideas to market. Here are three situations I commonly find our clients in when they first come to us—and what you can do to avoid them.
You’re Looking For a Silver Bullet
Let me save you hours of time, thousands of dollars, and (in some cases) your business.
There is no silver bullet. There is no “get to the number one spot in Google tomorrow,” and there is no social network that will make you millions of dollars with little-to-no effort.
Marketing in general has always been plagued with seedy “get-rich-quick” tactics. Online marketing has traditionally played the same tune, by guaranteeing that anyone can set up a “push-button” system to bring you leads, referrals, and millions of dollars with practically no effort (or spending budget) from you.
This isn’t going to work.
There isn’t a system out there (no matter how many marketers try and tell you otherwise) that will instantly make you a million dollars.
When you’re chasing silver bullets and get rich quick schemes—you’re only distracting yourself with shortcuts. You’re wasting time that could be spent building a permanent brand around your business. In fact, more than likely, these get-rich-quick schemes are going to hurt you in the long run.
Once a week, we’re approached by someone who wants to build a new membership site, application, and/or social network. They are generally looking for a profit split for us to build and develop a full network for them. Almost every single one says, “as soon this gets out there—it’s going to blow up overnight.”
I’m sorry to be the one to tell you, but your “idea” isn’t worth anything. Successful marketing execution of that idea is worth everything. If you’re chasing shortcuts because your “idea and business is so good,” then you’re really going to be in for a tough time.
Stop looking for silver bullets, and work on building a foundation for sales and marketing strategies that will sustain your business well into your retirement.
You Don’t Have a Strategy
My company, Jay Nine Inc, has been around for 5 years now. Before day one, I spent 5 years using online marketing at different jobs/management positions I had—including music related promotions (from bands to recording studios and start-up publishing companies).
Hundreds of clients later, I have yet to see a business bring me a social media/marketing strategy. Sure, sometimes they have different goals and mini-strategies at work. A lot of times they have posting schedules and sometimes even dedicated staff members.
But they don’t have a clear strategy for tying in their business goals, brand, and similar to their online marketing efforts. One of my favorite quotes comes from The Art of War:
“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win”
Read that quote about a hundred times until it really sinks in. There’s a reason large corporations spend so much time on a central strategy, tying all of their marketing efforts to one goal. If you don’t identify the foundation of your brand, you won’t be able to succeed with online marketing, or any type of marketing for that matter.
What you’ll become is a coupon king, or worse, a bankrupt business. Coupon kings are the companies that only see successful marketing campaigns when it comes with a coupon. While coupons and other incentives are great icebreakers, you never want to become the company that people only use when there’s a deal, or a low price.
Your Business is Broken
The final (and often the biggest) reason I’ve seen business fail at online marketing is that some part (or a vast majority) of their business is broken.
Maybe it’s the owner who should have retired ten years ago (but can’t because of the economy) and now has a vague sense of self and lack of ambition. His goals are now “just getting by” until he can finally retire.
Maybe it’s a business where there are several people who all “think that they’re in charge” and each have a different “vision” of where the business should be headed.
Whatever the issue is—don’t use online marketing as a scapegoat for a much, much larger issue. It’s really no secret that the most successful clients of mine have been the ones who had their act together before they ever picked up the phone and called me. Or, understood that there was more that needed to be addressed than their new website.
These are the most common foundational marketing issues that I’ve come across in my career, but there many more hurdles that I’ve come across individually with unique and interesting clients. What about you?