“Why do you market your business?”
Ask a dozen people and you may get a dozen different answers. The main answers I get from the majority of people are:
- “To make more money.”
- “To get more leads.”
- “To encourage people to visit my store.”
- “To give us a good reputation.”
- “To build trust with my audience.”
Out of the five above, one will accomplish the rest with very little additional effort: “To build trust with my audience.”
With the other goals, we have to develop a strategy for each. We have to accommodate a sales funnel (“Make me more money.”), a lead generator (“Get us leads.”), a traffic generation campaign (“Encourage people to visit…”), and a reputation management/PR campaign (“Give us a good reputation.”). While these goals are not bad (or even counterproductive) in theory, most small businesses leave the other elements on the table and focus on one aspect of their business’ development. The goal is not necessarily just more leads/traffic/money. It’s about your audience’s trust.
Trust is the most valuable currency in the universe. It has never suffered from inflation or been devalue based on your competitor’s efforts. Trust within your marketplace is the end all and be all of building your success.
Without trust, you are unable to do more than convince a prospect to spend money with you. And that’s a great goal to have! But if you want that prospect to spend money with you, do it often, in large quantities and refer their friends to you, you have to build that level of trust with them. You have to get your audience to trust you so much that they will put their name and reputation next to yours on your product or service. They will become your loudest evangelist and they will not be able to wait to sing your praises to their friends and family.
All of this starts with marketing. And people hate to be marketed and sold to. You have to get to the point that your business has stopped marketing (in the traditional sense) and become a problem solving machine that alleviates their every pain and fear when it comes to your product/service. Be helpful. Stop shouting your message at people. It just doesn’t work anymore.
Reputation is always important as well, so be sure to check out “3 Ways Philanthropy can Benefit Your Business.”