Marketing Or Advertising Your Business

Yesterday I gave a presentation on the above topic to a consultant’s group I belong to, The Professional Consultant’s Association of Central New York. I’m also on the board, write the monthly newsletter, and I’m the webmaster of their website.

Anyway, it was interesting talking to these folks, most of whom are older than I am (scary since I’m 50), and though I got through it all, it seems they all got hung up initially on social media and just what its purpose was. One guy kept asking the question “did you get any business out of it”, to which I could answer to each one “yes”. He didn’t ask if I got a lot of business out of it, but he was missing the point.

The idea of doing things online isn’t always to immediately get a return on your investment (ROI). Yeah, that would be pleasurable, but the truth is that unless you’re already well known, or fill a need that the market has nowhere else to turn to, it will take some time before you really start making money. Sometimes it takes years, but I digress.

The basic thing about marketing a small business as opposed to a large business is that you probably don’t have a budget set for advertising. Oh yeah, let’s get the definitions of the two terms out of the way, just to be clear. Marketing is planning for how you want others to learn about your business and products. Advertising is money spent on producing materials to help you market your business and products.

Small businesses usually start out doing the same thing because it’s the only thing we know. We buy a lot of business cards, which isn’t so bad except often we haven’t fully defined ourselves before we buy the first batch. We either buy or make brochures, which means we spend a lot of money buying supplies or paying someone else to design and copy these suckers. We buy a lot of paper and envelopes to attack things that way. And we try to make endless calls (well, those who have the mettle to do it; I don’t) trying to talk to people who won’t return phone calls. It’s a tough life sometimes.

What we all eventually find out is that, through some kind of networking, we finally have a chance to make some money and do some business with others. It can be a long struggle for some of us, whereas others find success pretty quickly. There is no one way that it happens for everyone.

It’s the same with marketing online. We have read some of the stories of marketers who seemed to hit the ground running into success with internet marketing, and that’s good for those folks. But that’s not the norm. Even Darren Rowse didn’t make money initially, and it probably took him a couple of years to really ramp up his empire, so to speak. And here’s the next part; almost none of these guys continued making money the way they started out making money.

Don’t believe me? Joel Comm started out making money through Adsense; he’s moved on from there. So has Darren Rowse, who actually makes his money through many other services rather than just blogging. Lynn Terry and David Risley make most of their money in other ways than blogging, and John Chow has always said he makes more money from other sources than just blogging. Everyone has to be ready to diversify in some fashion to keep making money; you can only prime this particular pump so many times before the effect wears off. Think about 10 big name internet marketers from 6 years ago, then think of how many of them you still see on a regular basis, unless you’ve stayed on their mailing list forever. If you need to, check out Gurudaq, which I wrote about back in October 2008.

Enough of that. I figure that some might be interested in my outline for the presentation, and at the risk of someone stealing it, well, I really don’t care this time around, although it seems some of my content has been stolen by a site calling itself Lua Cheia (they stole an entire article from my business blog; I wrote them and they said it’s a version of Digg & Stumble Upon, only I got no attribution; here’s the link to it if you want to see it, but I’m not making it an active link: http://luacheia.soup.io/post/44468305/When-Protecting-Your-Reputation-Isn-t-Worth). Anyway, here’s the outline; enjoy, and do NOT ask me where I got the statistics from, as I just took the first stat I found on each of these from wherever I could find it.

Traditional Marketing Ideas

1. Mail
     A. Letters
     B. Flyers
     C. Postcards

2. Printed Materials
     A. Flyers
     B. Brochures
     C. Business Cards

3. Networking
     A. Join Groups
     B. Get On Committees
     C. Work on getting people to know you

4. Hire someone to market you
     A. Agency
     B. Sales people

5. Phone calls

6. Media
     A. Magazines/Newspaper
     B. Radio
     C. Television

New Ways Of Marketing

1. Email

2. Websites

3. Blogs

4. Social Networking

5. Speaking/presenting

Costs of Advertising

1. Printed materials can cost a lot of money

2. Cost of postage

3. Costs of joining groups

4. Costs of labor in hiring others

5. Websites can be expensive to create, but are easy to change

6. Blogs are inexpensive to create and maintain, but still need to “advertise” in another way

7. Social media is free, but can be time consuming

8. Email is free, but some people don’t respond well to it

Effectiveness/ROI

1. Mailings only convert at an average of around 1%, and only if you submit in high volume

2. Business cards only convert at an average of around 2%, but once again, volume drives the figures

3. Websites have a 2.5% conversion rate, based on high traffic

4. Blogs can help conversion rates go up by 3% if you have a niche market

5. Email converts at less than 1% for people you don’t know, around 25% for people you do know

6. Phone calls convert around 2 to 3% for product based companies, less for service based companies

7. Speaking engagements convert around 1% initially, but can increase to 5% over time for some

8. Networking converts at around 1% short term, but can increase to 5% over time for some

9. Advertising on media depends on product & location; products always do better than services

10.No figures on social networking yet, but people have gotten business from it

What Personally Affects How / What We Do

1. Comfort level

2. Finances
     A. What can we afford to spend on stuff
     B. How much in need are we of making money “now”

3. Control

4. Knowing our market too well / too little

5. Trying too hard / giving up

Big Question – What do you do in marketing/advertising & how does it work for you? Are you missing ways that might be beneficial to you long term?

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Will Social Media Change In 2010?

I came across an article that was actually a guest post on a blog called . The article was titled 10 Ways Social Media Will Change In 2010. I thought that since the post already have 50 comments and the writer hasn’t responded to any of them that I would comment on what she wrote here and let them have the trackback, if they’re predisposed to accept them. By the way, going unprofessional for a quick moment, I think she’s hot. 😉 Anyway, you can read the same article on her site, and it’s pretty good; pick your poison.

Anyway, here are her top 10 predictions:

Social Media Will Become a Single, Cohesive Experience Embedded In Our Activities and Technologies – This is a very good prediction, and I think it’s right on. I think we saw a lot of this already in 2009, and I think it’s even going to be bigger. Facebook is actually trying to go that way by finding a lot of different platforms and integrate with, so obviously they see that as the future themselves.

Social Media Innovation Will No Longer Be Limited By Technology – I’m not so sure that this one will be able to take place in 2010, but I think it could be very close to happening. Everyone doesn’t have to wait for new technology to do things these days, and I think that’s been evidenced by how many sites seem to crop up trying to copy something that’s already out there.

Mobile Will Take Center Stage – I think this is a bold prediction, but one that will probably take at least another 3 years or so to really get there. Right now, we still have issues with access, dropped calls, and overall costs. Are you one of those folks already paying $150 a month for your iPhone?

Expect an Intense Battle As People and Companies Look To Own Their Own Content – I think this battle has been going on for years, but it all ready started to change up in 2009 with news organizations such as Rupert Murdoch’s companies (which I’ll call “faux news”) griping at Google for linking to their content. I think that’s a stupid move because Murdoch seems to believe that people will just go to his site without first finding the link on Google; ain’t gonna happen. Of course, another minor controversy on this front concerns who actually owns comments on blogs. Stay tuned.

Enterprises Will Shape the Next Generation of What We’ve Called “Social Media” – I had to think about this a little bit before figuring out what side of the fence I was on. The truth is that many large companies are now hiring people with the title of “director of search” or “vice president of search”, which would’ve been unheard of even going back to 2008. Also, more large companies are hiring internal people to not only write their blogs, but to write posts for them on Twitter and also to check streams for any time their company names are mentioned. So, I think she’s on point with this one.

ROI Will Be Measured — and It Will Matter – I don’t know that this is anything new across the board, as companies, especially in 2009, have been taking crucial looks at the bottom line. ROI has always been a buzzword in business, so I’m not sure exactly what supposed to change.

Finally: Real, Cool and Very Bizarre Online-Offline Integration – She paints a very interesting picture with this one, but somewhere in my mind I’m still not sure we have the technology to do this efficiently yet, or cost effectively yet. That plus I tend to think that we just don’t have enough people even now who are computer savvy enough to even manage the Internet, let alone some of these other things.

Many “Old” Skills Will Be Needed Again – Man, am I hoping she’s right on this one. How many people are there who can still add up a string of numbers in their head without needing a calculator to do it? For that matter, what if we let people write it down on paper and figured out? And isn’t it a shame that when you go to a fast food restaurant everything is now in pictures rather than numbers on a cash register?

Women Will Rule Social Media – The funny thing about this one is that when blogging first started, it was mainly women who were doing it. Men passed women when they figured out they could make money from blogging. Now social media takes into account so many things that it’s hard to determine who is really running what. So, it’s possible women are already ruling social media; I’m not sure where to find any real answers on this one, but I don’t have any real opinion either way.

Social Media Will Move Into New Domains – This is another bold prediction that possibly may have already occurred, at least in some fashion. I have to admit that I’m amazed at some of the people and some of the businesses that have finally figured out what social media is and what it can do for them, but there’s so many more people and companies to go. Personally, I think my main business would profit greatly if more of them were into social media, especially since I rank so well for those main search terms. Once again, I really hope she’s right on this one.

There is my commentary; what are your thoughts?

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