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Is your marketing just one big cop-out?

by Alison Bradford

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Definition of cop-out – “Avoid doing something that one ought to do”

Running your own business you will have quickly discovered that you need to do some marketing in order to get people who want to pay you for your services or products. In other words, get customers!

But what you do you think marketing is? How would you describe it?

Perhaps you see it as building awareness of your brand. Or maybe you see it as advertising. Or perhaps you think it’s about reaching out to people.

Whilst these may be right to some extent, your marketing all comes down to communication.

You have an idea, you make this into a product or service, and you want to tell people about it, in the hope that they might buy it.

Effective marketing means communicating the right message, to the right people, in the right place.

But understanding the right message, the right people and the right places, is unfortunately not always easy, as you’ve probably already realised.

It takes time and it takes effort.

And you probably didn’t start your business because you want to become a brilliant marketer.

But to grow your business, you simply cannot avoid marketing – it has to be done.

Like most things, your marketing then falls victim to the old time versus money struggle.

Should you invest your time or your money in this?

A desire for speed (i.e. let’s get more customers, quickly), can lead to a short sighted view on what effective marketing will be for your business.

You’re looking for the ‘magic wand’ approach.

What happens is you end up throwing money at it, thinking you can ‘buy’ customers, and then sit back and wait for the phone to ring or the orders to pour in.

If you don’t spend the time figuring how to communicate best with your prospective customers, and getting to grips with the right message, right people, right places, then you are wasting your time and money, and will be feeling very frustrated that no-one is buying.

‘Build it and they will come’ is simply not true!

You’ll end up spending money on advertising in the local magazines and then wondering why no-one has responded.

You’ll have boxes of leaflets stored in your garage that you spent money getting designed and printed, but now you don’t know what to do with them. Maybe you give them out to people you meet or get someone to put them through local letterboxes, but still no-one is calling.

You’ll have a stash of more promotional gimmicks than you know what to do with, and that you’re giving out left, right and centre, so that someone will finally get the message and buy something from you.

Now don’t get me wrong, advertising, leaflets and promotional giveaways can work – but only if you have put the time in beforehand to figure out the right message, right people and right places.

Truthfully, what do you do with leaflets that are given to you? My own system is something like this: put in my notebook, then about every 2-4 weeks my notebook starts to feel a bit cluttered with loose papers, take out leaflets, throw in the bin, repeat.

If you’re feeling frustrated with your marketing right now, it’s very likely because you haven’t spent the time figuring out your right message, right people and right places.

And do not underestimate how difficult it can be do this by yourself – when you understand perfectly well what you are selling, it easy to expect everyone else to.

If you want some help on doing this, and if you haven’t already had a strategy call with me, then maybe you should book one in soon and see if I can help you get some clarity and starting building your marketing on a solid base, instead of going for the cop-out options.

As always, please let me know any comments you have on this subject!

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Alison Bradford

Alison Bradford is a business coach who works with smart, ambitious business owners to get clarity about how they can grow their business and increase profit. Sign up here to learn 6 easy ways you can boost profit in your business today.

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