“I don’t care what you do, just make my phone ring today!” I’ve heard this phase and many like it from small business owners all over the country. When they begin to market their business, they want results immediately. I can’t blame them. Who wants to dole out thousands of dollars for marketing without seeing an immediate return? Reality, however, suggests that things don’t always move as fast as one would hope. Therefore, I always encourage my clients to turn their patience-dial to 10 and forge ahead.
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A close friend of mine, who also happens to be a highly successful financial advisor, once told me a story about a gentleman that made very little in terms of salary. He drove an unimpressive car and lived in an average neighborhood – no bells, no whistles. Apparently this same individual managed to accumulate an astounding nest egg due to simple diligence and saving over the years. At first glance, you’d think this man was like every other struggling worker. In reality, he had more security than those making several times more.
The point is successful marketing is a lot like investing. Most times, you don’t get rich overnight. It takes relentless discipline and fortitude to get the return on investment you’d like. All too often, small business owners are looking for a marketing windfall – overnight success due to running one ad.
Rather than looking to sprint past your competition for a month or two, focus your efforts on participating in the marketing marathon.
Here are a few things to remember:
Be Wary of Big PromisesIn an effort to get things moving more quickly, you may be tempted to entertain ideas that may prove too good to be true. For instance, there are many shady companies promising that they’ll make you no. 1 on a search engine. Or you may get someone telling you that you’ll easily recoup all of the ad money spent on the medium they are trying to sell you.
Be In the GameIf you happen to be on a shoestring budget, you may be inclined to sit it out until you have more to spend. I happen to believe this is a terrible idea. You’d much rather have some type of presence in the marketplace than none. Go back to the guy in the above example. Despite the fact that his contributions to his nest egg were relatively small, he stuck with it. Overtime, those smaller efforts compounded on one another and grew. The same is true for your marketing.
Be VigilantWhile it is advised to stick with it, be sure that you don’t find yourself going down with the ship over a failed marketing idea. If you notice that you are getting little to no response from your efforts, be attentive and agile enough to make adjustments on the fly.
I’ve always likened marketing to the snowball effect. Your company name may not be the biggest thing around, but with time and persistence, it will be.
Walter Dailey is a former ad agency partner and experienced marketing professional. He is the lead consultant and executive producer at Dailey Sound Vector Media, a creative services organization that specializes in developing commercials, jingles and marketing campaigns for small businesses throughout North America. Ask Walter your questions firstname.lastname@example.org