I am a member of the baby boomer generation. Admittedly I am on the tail end of this generational grouping but we did not grow up with the kind of technology that we have now. I have found that there is an interesting phenomenon going on with business owners that is crossing over the baby boomer, generation x and y categories. This phenomenon is that they have embraced or are embracing technology through just simply creating accounts or purchasing a website. As a business coach, I absolutely love seeing people make decisions to create positive change and even learning the how to when it comes to social media and website engagement. Interestingly enough though, just simply establishing a presence is only the first step in the process. It is great that the electronic world can find you, see who your friends are or even see what your interests are.
If you own a business, what message are you sending and who are you trying to appeal to? It is important to understand that the fundamentals of marketing has not changed. We must market our business using A-I-D-A. (Attention, Interest, Desire & Action). Being present and discoverable is one thing but it does not do you much good unless you get AIDA. Whether you are a small business marketing to prospects or a large corporation, this fundamental applies.
For some of you the internet or digital marketing landscape seems a bit overwhelming and intimidating. The pace of change in this digital revolution is hard to keep up with, even for those of us who have some acceptable base of knowledge and education. I would like to challenge everyone who is reading this blog to stop and see if you are driving your marketing or is your marketing driving you. Many business owners are guilty of allowing their business to drive them and therefore the success, or lack of it, instead of taking charge of what happens in their business. Since this is so prevalent it makes sense that when it comes to how business owners are trying to market in today’s digital age the same behaviors are trickling down to the manner in which they market their business.
Here are 3 questions that I would like for you to consider. If you can answer affirmatively to each of these then you are well on your way to creating the success (leads and engagement) that digital marketing can provide.
- How much time have you invested in gaining the knowledge that you need to possess to understand how to be relevant in the digital environment? This should be the first step but is often not taken until something has not worked (and a good deal of dollars wasted). Google is the leader in the digital marketplace and they place an ultimate value of “relevance” for your marketing compared to everyone else. Investing some time in educating yourself how to be relevant is critical.
- How much time have you invested in actually creating a strategy for your marketing? I mentioned AIDA earlier. What about your target market(s)? Doesn’t it make sense that will need a different message for different target markets as they have different needs? Which market are you going to penetrate first and what will be your strategy to touch them enough to gain their trust and interest? Marketing without a strategy is the equivalent to gambling, the odds of guessing a winning campaign are against you.
- How are you going to implement or execute your marketing strategy? Are you going to do this by yourself and if so, how many hours per week do you have allocated to execute your marketing? Remember, living in the digital age is a very public activity. Visitors to your social media and digital media sites can easily ascertain if you are consistent or not. When I visit a website that has not been updated in over 2 years, it causes me to exit the site quickly. If you are going to market your business digitally then you must make it a regular, consistent part of your business activities. If you do not have the time then delegate the strategy to someone who does.
The bottom line is that all things we do in our business must be strategic. Isn’t it interesting that you may be the best Doctor, Dentist, CPA, Roofer, Landscaper, etc. by investing a great deal of time educating yourself on how to deliver your service or product but when it comes to marketing yourself you continue to allow yourself to remain undereducated in how to actually reach those who need your services!
I realize that this message is direct. After all I am your business coach. The message may sting a little but when you achieve your goals the pain or discomfort of planning is always forgotten with success!
It is amazing how many different answers that I get when I ask this question. In most every situation the answer is Yes, I am. When I ask to see those goals then there is usually more to the story. They are not written or they are not updated in most cases. As the speed of our world has increased through technological improvements like smart phones and tablets, I believe we have lost touch with some of the simple, basic things that allow us to prosper. You do not own a Busyness! You should own a Business. Our definition of a Business is a successful, profitable enterprise that works without YOU!
So what does this have to do with goals? Quite simply, without written goals we are left to perform based on what the world hands us daily instead of having a tool that keeps us focused on what is really important in our business. Good goals allow us to keep ourselves and our teams accountable.
Some years ago, a study of Harvard Business School graduates showed that upon graduation only 3% had written goals, 13% had thought of some goals and the balance were just thrilled to be out of school. Ten years later the 13% with non-written goals were making TWICE as much money as the 84% without any goals at all, while the 3% with written goals were making TEN TIMES what the other 97% were making. So if it is so compelling to have written goals, why aren’t we all doing it?
We do not have to re-invent the wheel when it comes to our business. What we have to do is to change our mindset about our goals. Here are some tips on how to get started.
- Decide what your business will look like in 5 or 10 years. How much revenue will it be producing, how many jobs will it have created and how many locations will it have? How many hours will you be working?
- Determine where you need to be with your business in 1 year to achieve the long term goals you previously established. We know you cannot do it alone so who do you need in your business. What revenue levels will you need to hit quarterly to achieve your annual goal.
- Complete quarterly goals (that can be measured weekly). Plan some time each week to work “On” your business instead of just “in” it. I host a GrowthCLUB planning day for my clients each quarter in which we all take the day to plan our goals for the following quarter. We do this because it has been proven over and over again that having a written plan is where true success starts!
Right now would be a great time to develop a strong plan for your business with clear goals and action items that you can share with others for added accountability. Make sure to include clear milestones and chip away at each goal a little bit every day. If you do this consistently, you may soon be making TEN TIMES more than your competition.
Remember, failing to plan is planning to fail!
I want to talk about the importance of facing your fear. We all possess this human emotion. What separates us, and our businesses, is what we decide to do with that emotion. The acronym that we use for FEAR is False Expectations Appearing Real. When you think about it, the fears we focus on usually do not present any real risk to our business. Where we get onto dangerous ground is when we let our fear cause us to postpone important decisions or even worse causes us to spend time and money trying to fix a challenge that does not really exist. We must understand that the things we fear happening are usually a result of something else. Instead of focusing on the result of that fear, focus on the real issues that are causing you to feel that way. I would like to address a few common failures that fear can create in our businesses.
- “I cannot find good people to work in my business because no one can do what I do and how I do it.” This truly a fear based statement. What’s left for you to do if someone can actually perform the work you do? This means you will have to learn something new and that makes us uncomfortable. When you decide to quit allowing yourself to be a victim of this then you will change your expectation level. A replacement will be found and it will be the first step for you to become a business owner instead of a job owner.
- “I just need more cash flow to be able to grow my business or hire the right team.” You are right; you do need revenues in order to grow. What are you doing to increase revenues or cash flow? More specifically, what are you doing differently to reach the new cash flow goal? If you continue to do the same things and hope that your bank account is going to suddenly increase then click here and listen to my radio show archive on business insanity.
- “I have a plan, I am just waiting to implement it as soon as I get everything in the plan worked out.” The only perfect plan is one that gets started and gets measured. Waiting to make a decision on what to do next is based on fear. In our society we call this procrastination. Not sure what to do next? Order a book, research the topic or get some advice from a mentor. You do not have to possess all the answers and the sooner you realize that, the faster you will get results.
You are a business owner. We must evaluate our risk with any decision we make. The next step is to invest our time on ascertaining the amount of reward to be gained with that risk. Once we quantify what that the reward is, make a plan to achieve that. We only have a certain amount of hours in each day. You can choose to focus on the risk you are taking each day and how to manage those emotions or you can focus on what you are doing to achieve your goal. Write your fears down and then intentionally decide what your next step has to be for each of them. I work with business owners each week educating and providing them with the tools that create great rewards. For many of you, facing your fears may mean that you realize it is okay to invest in a coach to provide the direction to get you on the path to wealth. Often times, admitting we need help is the fear we must address first.
In today”s interactive world, video is becoming more important to engage with your prospects and communicate with your clients. Video also provides a tremendous opportunity to increase your web presence.
Executives with little time to spare for fun and games do take time to watch a video, according to the findings from Forbes Insights. In some cases, they actually prefer video to text when learning about products and services.