Once a month I host a meetup group for entrepreneurs in my local community.
I do this because:
1. It gets me out of my home office and engaging with human beings other than my clients,
2. It allows me to share what I know with (and learn from) like-minded entrepreneurs,
3. And it gives me an honest and clear perspective of what other entrepreneurs are facing in their businesses (which makes me more effective in my own work with entrepreneurs).
The group has been active for nearly a year and it is starting to become a community of its own with over 250 members. Every fourth meeting we engage in what I call an “entrepreneurial roundtable” where members of the group are given the opportunity to present any issues they are having in their business to the group for collective brainstorming.
Every roundtable thus far has been incredibly engaging, and I’m always inspired by how willing entrepreneurs are to help each other. It’s clear to me that everyone tries to offer up their best insights and advice, but most recently someone blurted out a suggestion that only perpetuates the marketing and business fads that frustrate entrepreneurs to begin with.
Being a Bearer of Bad Advice
The issue up for discussion during this particular roundtable focused on helping a group member create a new strategy for generating leads since his former tactics (primarily yellow pages- yes some people still use those) weren’t working anymore.
He really wanted to try and leverage the web for lead generation but found that Google pay-per-click ads and paid classified listing offered dismal results.
And then someone said it. Hollering from the corner of the room like a street preacher with a megaphone on a downtown corner, some shouted “Start a blog page and write a bunch of articles about your subject. You’ll look like an expert on it and people will start buying from you!”
I know they had good intentions, but this was REALLY bad advice. Not only was it wholly inaccurate, but it was definitely the WRONG fit for this guy’s business, and more importantly for is primary objective – to generate immediate leads.
Now don’t get me wrong, I believe virtually any legally existing enterprise could blog for their business to their benefit, but if you want to generate immediate leads launching a blog is not the way to do that.
For most local businesses the benefits of blogging (depending on the competitiveness of their online market) aren’t realized for six to 18 months. So in terms of immediate lead generation, blogging is not the way to go.
But this advice also fails to acknowledge the fact that just because you write a blog doesn’t mean anyone will show up (let alone ready and willing buyers for a highly personal service).
And, this advice fails to acknowledge the fact that blogging isn’t simply a one- time set it and forget it marketing tactic. Blogging well requires a significant amount of commitment, effort, and understanding of basic blogging principles.
It’s a long-term method for lasting success on the Web. It’s not a casual thing you set out to do because someone suggested you try it out for quick lead generation.
Why This Matters to You and Your Business
Now if I sound like I’m on a soapbox about this, I just might be. But I’m not on a soapbox about all the freely perpetuated bad blogging advice, that’s a different issue for a different day. I’m on a soapbox because so many entrepreneurs lose sight of their objectives in pursuit of “trendy” marketing and advertising tactics.
If you are in business to truly profit and benefit the people you serve, you need stop focusing on tactics and start focusing on your people. The people you serve in your business should drive every marketing activity you implement. PERIOD.
Your marketing initiatives should be based on:
- Who “your people” are
- What they communicate about
- When they look for what you offer
- Why they want what you offer
- Where they are
- How they communicate
- Who they usually look to for what you have to offer
- What they want most from what you have to offer
- Where they are most likely to purchase what you offer
- When they want what you offer
- Why they will pay for what you offer
- How they want to receive what you offer
And one hundred more variations of these type of questions.
If you’re frustrated with the results of your marketing efforts, stop what you are doing and ask yourself these questions. Then, start looking at the tactics you can use to reach your people in a way that resonates with who they are, the way they communicate, etc.
Once you’ve identified those tactics, implement them properly. Test them and tweak them, until you find the right marketing mix.
Doing this will help you select marketing activities that will truly help you meet your objective. And when you’re doing things that will help you meet your objective, you’ll experience positive results.
Stop Blinding Following Other “Blueprints”
So often we try to apply cookie cutter systems and marketing fads to our highly unique businesses and the bottom line is – they just don’t work.
Does this mean blogging doesn’t work? Of course not! I wouldn’t be doing it if it didn’t work, but I’m fully aware of what is required to achieve the results I’m after – and it’s not to generate immediate leads. I’m clear on my objectives and my expectations.
Will you do the same? Let’s chat about it in the comments below.