“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.”

Marketing a business is not about tactics. If you simply look around at what your competitors are doing and then try to do the same things, only better, you’re going to keep struggling. Chances are, most of your competitors are doing the same thing you are – looking around the marketplace trying to find the right combination of tactics and messaging that will make a difference. The ads all look and sound the same. Everybody talks about their great customer service, or discounted prices, or their years and years of experience. All the while, no one is able to track what they are doing or tell you what kind of return they are receiving. They just keep writing checks each month and hoping for the best.

There are, of course, some businesses that do not operate this way. Your doctor’s office is probably one of them. Have you ever received a direct mail piece from your doctor soliciting exams for sick patients? And when is the last time your doctor called you in the middle of dinner to offer you a special, one-time discount on treatment for sinus infections?

The reason your family doctor doesn’t actively solicit you is because they don’t have to. When you get sick, you find them. They already have your trust and when you are sick, that’s who you call. The medical profession has been very successful at positioning themselves as gurus. They don’t come to you – you come to them.

What if your business operated that way? Instead of salespeople spending countless hours making cold calls trying to set appointments with people that do not want to see them, they could spend their time in front of interested prospects with real problems and a sense of urgency to solve them. Wouldn’t it be nice if customers found you instead of you trying to interrupt them constantly with expensive ads that generate little or no response?

The businesses that succeed in today’s environment are those that draw customers in because they are the perceived experts in their field. They know how to position themselves in such a way that it is impossible to make a direct price comparison between them and their competitors. They know exactly how much revenue they generate for each dollar they spend on marketing and advertising. They know that cold calling for new business is a waste of precious time and resources. And they know that trying to compete by running pricey ads that do nothing more than list features, benefits, and price promotions is best left to inexperienced competitors.

You can change your businesses dramatically – starting today- by making the decision to become the obvious expert in your niche. Here’s how:

  • Write education-based articles, tutorials, and other content that your customers would value and consult when making a buying decision.
  • Create special reports or whitepapers that highlight your expertise.
  • Develop workshops or seminars to train and educate your customers.
  • Collect short testimonial videos from your best customers and assemble them into a DVD that all new prospects receive.
  • Start a subscription newsletter.
  • Create an online forum where customers and prospects can exchange ideas, best practices, support tips etc.
  • Start a blog. Today.
  • Start cultivating relationships with local publications, trade journals, and news outlets – offer to provide tips, quotes, articles, or any other help they need.
  • Team up with complimentary service providers and start a referral program.
  • Create a detailed follow-up plan that happens automatically whenever a lead is generated.
  • Advertise your content, not your product features and benefits.
  • Provide value. Stop peddling your wares.

You have a choice. You can keep running the same ads, in the same places, writing the same checks to same sales reps, and receiving the same results. Or, you can start out on a new path. Are you afraid of change? Is it any scarier than doing nothing?

Capture and Conversion

The difference between successful marketing campaigns and those that fail often comes down to how comprehensive the strategy is. If you tend to think solely in terms of tactics, it’s easy to fall short on execution. Marketing is a process that builds and reinforces relationships over time. Much of the disappointment business owners endure trying to generate a return on marketing investments comes from an over-emphasis on finding that one magic thing that will “take them to the next level.”

Having the power to buy qualified search engine traffic and direct it to your website is addicting. Even more intoxicating is the idea of generating free traffic by ranking organically for high priority keywords. But to actually make a profit from the traffic that comes to your website, you need a process in place to capture leads as well as a follow up system to nurture leads that are not quite ready to buy. This is the area where 99% of most small business marketers fall short.

Search Engine Marketing provides small business marketers with revolutionary opportunities that simply did not exist a decade ago. At the same time, it’s also one of the top distractions that can get a business owner off-track with her marketing program. The pitfall comes when generating traffic takes priority over all else.

Traffic for the sake of traffic is useless. If you have a static, brochure-style website that does little more than let people know you are in business, a #1 ranking in Google isn’t going to mean much. On the other hand, if you have a content-rich website that provides value to interested customers and encourages them to interact, you can literally blow the doors off higher-ranked competitors that are using the same tired techniques everyone else is using.

So how can you start implementing a conversion process on your website? One of the easiest and most effective ways to convert traffic into leads is by offering something of value to your prospects in exchange for their contact information. Not too long ago we discussed some ideas to develop that content here.

The idea is that instead of simply expecting people to land on your website and call immediately to buy something, you assume the role of a purchasing consultant that helps prospects make an educated decision. By doing so you not only provide a helpful service, but you also position yourself as the obvious expert in your field. Once you’ve succeeded in establishing that kind of credibility, it makes price comparisons between you and your competitors difficult and largely irrelevant.

One last thing to keep in mind is that a large percentage of the prospects that respond to your lead capture process are not going to buy right away. This is where a well thought-out lead nurturing sequence comes into play. We’ll discuss that in the near future.

Become an Insider

Sign up today to receive Contact Media’s FREE e-newsletter, The Contact Media Insider, packed with powerful and proven “insider secrets” to increase response rates, generate more leads, and turn your marketing into a profit center.

Your email address will never be shared, and you can opt-out at the touch of a button.