For growing small businesses, is marketing today completely different? Many say yes. It’s all about social media.
But this is not the whole story. Despite all the effort I put into social media, I still get 80% of my business the “old fashioned” ways:
— former clients coming back
— public speaking
— networking at small business venues
— my website
People I meet via LinkedIn and other forums, from ezines, via selling ebooks on Amazon, etc. account for the other 20%. So getting my face out there is still #1 by a long shot.
An example: Last Friday at a birthday party for a friend, I got to talking with a woman whom I learned works for chain of schools for massage therapists. When she heard what I do, she said, “We should bring you in to teach our soon-to-be-graduates how to run their practice as a ‘real business.'” Now I could get more business from this one dinner conversation than from all the social media I’ve ever done.
Also, there are the eternal verities of marketing that are just as true with online marketing. Things like:
— Your branding has to be consistent and appealing
— You have to know what your targets want, what message will appeal to them, where they hang out, and how to reach them there. You must know who is NOT your target, so you don’t waste time on them.
— You must take people through the stages of marketing, not try to ram your product down their throat, build relationships, address their concerns.
— You’ve got to ask for the sale!
— You must give excellent customer service.
These rules are just as true for Facebook and Twitter as for people walking in through the front door of your brick and mortar.
This doesn’t mean you can ignore social media and web presence. Even people you meet face-to-face immediately check you out on the internet. But you must view your online presence, including social media, as an integrated part of your broader marketing strategy. More on what this looks like next post.