A marketer whose advice I generally respect recently published an article about how to find your comfort zone and stick to it in your business in order to create a more harmonious work environment.
In theory, it makes sense. Most of us have gone into business for ourselves to have more control over our own destinies, financially and otherwise.
In reality, however, settling into a routine can wreak havoc on your marketing, making you complacent with small rewards when taking tiny risks could give you a major business boost.
Small risks can't hurt
Recently a large corporation I did some marketing work for developed a product that was head and shoulders above the anything like it anywhere in the world (really!) in terms of quality and price. We “oohed" and “ahhed" over the product and everyone wanted one.
You'd think the company would want to capitalize on their new winner. But management wouldn't allow any comparisons to the competition in the marketing campaign for this product because it had not been done in their market before.
However, it's a tactic that is proven to work in just about every other market, it's perfectly legal and could easily have been launched on a small scale just to test it. It wouldn't even be expensive. If it worked, it would pay for itself 20 times over and could be implemented elsewhere for a small additional sum.
"No, " said Mr. Top Marketer. “We want to have 1 launch because it's what we've always done, and we've been successful so far. " So they used the same approach they always had.
And you know what? Despite the fact that their product was phenomenal, they lost the battle. Another brand name now owns that market.
Unless the competitor goes out of business sometime soon (unlikely, since this product rejuvenated their business), the corporation I mentioned will never make it in that particular market. Last time I checked, I couldn't even find a product from this risk-averse company in that section of a department store.
It's easy to see that the corporation I mentioned should have known better. After all, they have a whole team of marketers dedicated to bringing in more business and could have spent minimal money to try a more effective approach. But . . .
How do your small business marketing plans fit in?
Although I used a big business example, corporations have no monopoly on making decisions based on how they've always done things. And most decisions to stay with the status quo anywhere are based on one thing: fear of change.
I get lots of requests for help on marketing issues. People want to know how to get more clients to hire them, want advice on an upcoming direct mailing, are frustrated because they feel like they've tried everything and want a new direction for their marketing, and so forth.
But although it seems like a major challenge when you haven't yet achieved success, marketing isn't as hard as it seems. I can think of a few dozen tactics offhand that - if you used just a couple out of the whole lot following some simple rules - you would see results almost overnight.
But that's where the word “but" rears its ugly head.
Stop being a “but"!
Some entrepreneurs don't even realize that they are afraid when they say, “But my clients won't respond to that, " “But I'll hurt my reputation if I actually ask them to consider buying from me/hiring me, " “But I tried that once and it didn't work. "
How do you know your customers won't respond? Most good marketing practices are based on fundamental human psychology. Although we love to believe our clients are different, they're still human, just like us, and it's less than 5% of the general population that can't be marketed to.
Are you sure you followed the rules? Oftentimes when you put out a marketing piece on your own, you miss certain critical points. Did you follow a checklist?
Did you have an expert marketer review it before you sent it out? Even just getting an outsider to proofread your upcoming sales letter will often illuminate problems in sales copy.
Did you try this once with 3 people or with 300 or with 3,000? It takes quite a few rejections to get a single “yes" using even the best marketing tactics. And a handful of “nos" shouldn't discourage you. All it takes is one affirmative response to give your bank account a boost!
Turn each “but" into an opportunity
Rather than focusing on the negative, think about what you have to gain by trying. I'll use myself as a guinea pig to show you what I mean.
If I hadn't gotten past my own objections to moving abroad 8 years ago, I never would have had a great career as a creative director/copywriter because the opportunity never would have arisen in my hometown in Alabama.
If I hadn't moved beyond the “But it's a pain to move to another country" excuse when my husband and I decided to move to Los Angeles from Hamburg, Germany, recently, he and I would still be suffering from major health problems due to allergies we don't have here in sunny Southern California.
And to bring this back to the subject of small businesses, if I hadn't gotten past my own fear of self-promotion (which doesn't make much sense, given that I make my living helping others promote themselves, but kicked in for a short while early on), you wouldn't be reading this article today, and I wouldn't be able to help people around the world grow their small businesses.
I could tell you another 30 or so other small, but calculated risks (far less scary than international moves, I can attest) that I have made in my own small business promotions just since opening shop a few months ago. And I'll bet you've probably also been postponing a particular marketing activity because of fear and doubt.
The power of “yes"
Whether you believe it or not, every time you say no in your marketing efforts, you're stating in no uncertain terms that you don't want to succeed. What do you have to lose by saying yes?
Trust me, once you've tasted success, it will get easier to make more bold (but calculated) moves and get your marketing on track!
Are you a coach, consultant or other solo service professional who's struggling to grow your business? Small business marketing strategist Jennifer McCay will show you how to attract more clients more easily. Get her FREE audio course and FREE weekly small business marketing lessons at http://AvenueEast.com