Gifts & Talents

Have you ever asked friends or colleagues what they think about your do-it-yourself website? Do people say, “Wow that’s interesting?” Or, when they look at your website, flyers or marketing material, do they say things like “nice”, “interesting”, or “hmm, that’s different?” The truth is, most of your friends are probably not marketing professionals, nor would they have the guts to tell you the truth about what they really think about your web design or marketing pieces.

We live in a world where people constantly sugarcoat what they are saying instead of giving real feedback, and we are often not even truthful with ourselves! One famous movie line that we all know rings true: “You can’t handle the truth”. And most of us can’t.

If you were to honestly evaluate the efforts, design and, most importantly, return on investment of your marketing material, you would probably have a wakeup call when you realize the conversion rate is not what you had hoped it would be. An essential element of good marketing is that it has to show a return on investment.

In my company, I see it weekly. Clients come to us for one particular thing, whether it is business cards or a Good News ad, but they ignore the “800 pound gorilla” that their company’s image looks more like a preschool instead of an established, professional organization. When companies choose to use “do it yourself” design tools such as clip art, and then use primary colors and crazy fonts (bolded and followed by five exclamation points), they end up with a complete disaster. These types of “designs” have never been used in a professional marketing campaign, nor will they ever. That is, unless you really are a preschool and your target audience is all under the age of five!

The key to success in marketing is to recognize that your results are based on your actions, not your intentions. People will respond in different ways –whether positively, negatively or not at all – depending on what you do in your marketing and advertising. This means that when you irritate your leads by pushing bad marketing at them, they will usually respond negatively.

Many small business owners have the attitude that what they do in their marketing is never spammy or unprofessional, but they fail to put themselves in their customers’ shoes. They feel that since their intentions are good, it is perfectly okay for them to add you to their mailing list without your permission. Or, they feel that it is okay for them to ask you for a recommendation on LinkedIn, even though you’ve never even met them, because they just know they are decent, honest people.

Likewise, they feel it is just fine to send you Facebook messages with their sales pitches, since they feel that their products are special and warrant that kind of marketing. And, they feel it is a great idea to broadcast their sales messages all day on Twitter, since they know with a certainty that everyone wants the information. The truth is, when bad design and irritating marketing tactics are a part of your small business marketing plan, you are not likely to get the results you are after.

My aim for you is to seriously consider the professionalism of your business image, as well as what marketing initiatives actually drive revenue, before the beginning of 2013. Now is the time to evaluate and strategize for great success in the new year. Haphazard marketing leads to haphazard success, and inconsistent marketing leads to inconsistent revenue.

Keep in mind that, just as you are a professional in your own industry, professional marketers are more qualified than you to do the things that you are attempting to do with your advertising. And, when your marketing is done well, it brings the return on investment to your business. I may not be the best mechanic, although I could change my own oil if I wanted too. But why on earth would I attempt to do that if I’m not the best man for the job? In the end, trying to do all things in all areas of my life or business just costs me more time and frustration than if I just hire someone to do it effectively in the first place.

Blackstone Media has a team of professionals that are the best men and women to handle all of your marketing needs. Please call us for an evaluation at no cost, and the honest truth, which we always love to give our clients. We are here to help your business grow and succeed!

Grif Blackstone is the president of Blackstone Media Group, a full scale web design and marketing company and publisher of the Good News, the largest Christian newspaper in Florida. Grif has helped hundreds of businesses build an effective brand identity to help them communicate who they are to their target market. Writer, speaker, and consultant, Grif is known as the “Efficiency Guru” for technology and business and is a coffee fanatic.

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