Does marketing feel like a game of hide and seek? (how to get found)
Owning a business can be exhilarating – and it can also be exhausting. When you’re making sales and serving people, it feels great, doesn’t it? When you’re on the hunt for prospects and leads and customers, sometimes it doesn’t feel so great. Even when you do all the marketing things “right” sometimes it doesn’t seem to work, or work as quickly as we’d like. How do you know what the “right” things are in the first place? I’ve been in marketing for decades and I will admit it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach, there are many variables at play, including type and size of your business, messaging, target audience, platforms, traditional vs. digital methods, and more.
The bottom line is, you aren’t in business if you have no sales, and sales will occur one of only two ways: 1) people find you or 2) you go out and find the people. Good marketing plans usually are a combination of the two. How do you know which one to focus on at which time, and how do you know how to scale your activity to get more bang for your buck? Here are a few ideas and tips.
How People Find You (Pull Marketing)
- Asking a search engine (Google what they want)
- Asking for referrals – friends, colleagues, referral partners, online communities
- Hashtag searches on social media
- Online directories (Yelp, TripAdvisor, industry specific)
- Seeing ads on traditional or digital media (TV commercials, radio, billboards, print, paid online advertising)
How You Find People (Push Marketing)
- Researching prospects
- Cold calling prospects
- Organic (free) social media posts/stories/engagement
- Paid traffic (ads on social and pay per click)
- Traditional advertising
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization) on website and social media
- Asking for referrals (from customers, referral partners, vendors)
Think about it – the more people you are pulling in, the less time you have to spend going out searching for them. Sounds ideal, right? It is ideal to have people looking for you and knocking on your door, whether that door is real or virtual. The truth is: people are already looking for you – or someone like you. Millions of people are searching right now for something you offer. The truth ALSO is you have to do certain things to BE FOUND when and where they are looking.
Different types of people will look different places, so that’s where your work begins. Having a well-defined ideal client is critical, and knowing where they are and what their searching behavior is becomes even more critical. For example, if your customers don’t even know what a hashtag is, don’t waste your time with the hashtag strategy. If your customers are asking for referrals, you had better develop some really strong relationships with people who will refer to you (and of course, you’re willing to refer back to them).
How about searching online? Who doesn’t do that these days? Very few people. There are over 70,000 Google searches each second of each day. Read that again. Mind-blowing? Yes! Are they all searching for you? Probably not. But I think you’d agree we would all be willing to share that traffic.
Having a strategy to be found online is important. SEO can be pricey and out of reach for many companies, particularly small entrepreneurial-led businesses. Being able to out-bid the 800-lb gorillas in your industry may not be feasible. Learning some basic organic SEO strategies can be helpful, however. These things can really make a difference:
- researching the right keywords and phrases (what people are searching for)
- researching your competition to see what they’re doing right
- using keywords in your copy and headlines
- using keywords to tag images
- changing your page titles and descriptions
- refreshing website content often
Your website developer or marketing consultant may be able to help you with some of these basic SEO strategies or refer you to someone who can. You can also research free online training or paid courses to learn basic SEO on your own. You can ask me who I know and what I know and how I can help. What else can you do to help people find you?
- Look at the two lists above again. Write down the items you currently practice- what’s lacking?
- Make sure your ICA (ideal client avatar) is narrowly-defined and you know how they search
- Create content and repurpose it
- Network authentically to build referral relationships
- Have a plan of action for organic posting on the right platforms
- Stay up to date with website changes and SEO
- Create a high-level strategic marketing plan
Balancing your time and resources between strategy and tactics is one of the trickiest things to do in marketing. Business owners often get caught up in the tactics of content creation, posting, selling, and networking; and sometimes can’t see the forest for the trees. It helps to spend a little time discovering or reminding yourself of your forest (the big picture). Let me know if you need help making a realistic plan that suits your business.
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