Do these two things and your marketing efforts will be much (much) more effective:

  1. People ask me all the time, "What the best marketing strategy?

    While there are many good marketing techniques and strategies, the best are the ones that you will do, regularly, over time.

    There are so many ways to market your products and services. The reality is that if you can't or won't do it, it won't work. So, start with what you know you think you can do, consistently, over time. Then add other things for a balanced approach to your marketing.
     
  2. People also ask me "How do I know if the marketing strategies I choose will work for me?"
    The answer is that you don't know, nobody does, at least in the beginning. Once you do your research and make an educated guess you need to set some criteria for success (what will happen if it works and when)*. Then you run with it and monitor it. If it doesn't meet your criteria for success it's not working and you STOP. Do NOT keep pouring time and money into something that isn't working.

    *Do be realistic about your "criteria for success."  Going from $100/month to $20,000/month in two months is probably not realistic. On the other hand, a more realistic goal might be increasing your newsletter signups and sales 10% within six months.

I took a marketing workshop years ago and the VP of Marketing for Disneyland told us how they make decisions about their marketing: Their strategy is to put their heads together and make their best educated guess. They don't actually know what will work. They set criteria for success. In other words, they decide what has to happen to show that it's working. They set a reasonable time frame to give the marketing a chance to work (for example, number of tickets sold in three months). Then they run with it. If it doesn't meet their criteria for success, they STOP, even if they have poured tons of money into it. If it does work, they "milk the heck out of it."

Remember the original Electric Light Parade? It was a two-week filler for another parade that wasn't ready. People went wild for it and it ran for ten years. I recently saw a news article that they've updated it for a new parade. Love it.

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There are so many ways to market your products and services: Websites, SEO, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, blogging, email blasts, direct mail, presentations, events, workshops, teleclasses, videos, postcards, business cards, brochures, newsletters, seminars, shopping carts, advertisements, meet-and-greet events, and many more.

Each of the items listed above comes with its own set of "rules" on how to use them to best advantage - you know, the stuff you read about in all the marketing newsletters and books, best practices that tell you how to set it up and make it work, what it should looks like, how many and when... Advice everywhere, good advice, time-tested and very helpful.

However, there is one rule that overrides them all and that helps make marketing decisions sooooo much easier. It's a rule that we follow in everything we do for you because it's the very most important one of all: PEOPLE FIRST.

Of course, it's important to know those best practices and to incorporate them into your marketing so that you maximize your return by following time-tested guidelines. But always, always remember this first:  It's about real, honest connecting with the person on the other end. What problem do they have that you can fix? Put yourself in their shoes and view all your marketing as if you were them. Then structure your marketing. If connecting with your audience violates one of the marketing "rules" then ignore the rule.

Photo caption: Unamed climbers on a hard-glazed Rulten. Lofoten, Norway. MARKO PREZELJ

Photo caption: Unamed climbers on a hard-glazed Rulten. Lofoten, Norway. MARKO PREZELJ

Yvon Chouinard of Patagonia built his business by following that one most important rule of putting people first. 

Yvon loved climbing, didn't love that all those pitons got left in the rock, so he decided to make reusable climbing hardware. He was 18 years old, he set up a shop in his parent's back yard. By 1970, Chouinard Equipment had become the largest supplier of climbing hardware in the U.S. In his catalogs Chouinard broke just about every direct mail catalog rule because he designed his catalogs to help people become better climbers and not to just sell them merchandise. For example, the well-known rules for success said do this many images to that much text, have an 800 number for orders, and so on. Instead he had oodles of pictures, and a 14-page essay on "clean climbing." 

In his book Growing a Business, author Paul Hawken (of Smith & Hawken) profiled Yvon & Patagonia and mentioned how (in the beginning) they had an 800 number, but only for talking about climbing. If you wanted to place an order, you had to pay for the call. 

He knew it was the right thing to do, he knew it was more important to connect with his readers than to follow rules.

Now, go out there and break some rules!

-Robin

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AuthorRobin Sagara
CategoriesWorking Smart