You can’t avoid marketing.
If you’re in business at all, you’re doing marketing.
You may not be doing it well or intentionally, but you’re still doing it. Your company name, business card, and website are all aspects of marketing.
And since you’re already marketing your company, you might as well do it better.
Marketing affects your brand. It’s the way we create perceptions and images about the company. Bad marketing can hurt us, and not doing marketing makes us invisible — especially into today’s AV industry.
What makes marketing even more important? Your competition is greater than it’s ever been. There are virtually no barriers to entry into this industry. Anyone can be your competitor and they all have access to a lot of very inexpensive marketing tools via social media and well-designed websites.
And you do too!
But in marketing, your experience doesn’t give you the advantage. It’s highly possible for someone just starting their business to out-market you.
Even if you didn’t have to do it before, you HAVE to do marketing now. You’re now in an era where marketing is a must…unless you want your company to flatline.
Business is always about growing and being more profitable. And I don’t have a formula anymore that allows you to grow and be profitable without good marketing.
How do we move from waiting for the phone to ring to being intentionally attractive? Look in the mirror. The first sale is to yourself.
Let’s change your mindset.
3 Necessary Mindset Shifts
Before we dig into the basic marketing strategies you need, you have to see marketing through the right lens — the lens of understanding its purpose, how it works, and the return it brings.
1. You are are in the Marketing Business
Come to terms with the fact that you’re in the business of marketing. I know you think you’re in rental business, technology business, or show business… but you’re also in the marketing business.
We’re all in the marketing business.
Your prospective customers are making 50-80% of their decision to do business with you (or not) before you ever meet them.
How are they doing that? They look at your marketing.
The typical buyer under 40 will visit your website, LinkedIn, and Facebook profiles, and Google your name before you meet. They will form opinions about you before they ever talk to you.
Marketing is the art of shaping those first impressions.
2. Marketing Works for You 24/7
Marketing works around the clock. It never sleeps. You don’t know when people are going to shop and begin to form an opinion about you. If we have marketing, we can continue to make a positive impact on the marketplace while we’re asleep, on vacation, or taking care of customers.
Sometimes people protest, “Tom, we just need to hire more salespeople.”
But salespeople sleep, take days off, and can only talk to one room of people at a time. Marketing talks to lots of people all the time.
Marketing is your workhorse.
3. Marketing is an Investment
Marketing is an investment— not an expense.
It’s not a spend. It’s not a cost center.
Yes, you will need to spend money. But you don’t have to spend a lot to reap a great return.
If you don’t know how to measure its ROI, it’s time to learn. Study marketing so you can understand how it works and learn how to make an assessment on a good return on your marketing dollars.
The 3 Bare-Minimum Marketing Best Practices
Marketing requires mental shifts, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. If you don’t know where to begin, this is it. Start with these three basic principles of good marketing.
1. Be Findable.
Customers should be able to find you online… easily. Get your name in front of people and drive them to your website so they can learn more.
Don’t stress about SEO. You’re in the service business and your target audience is small. It’s not for the entire world, so SEO isn’t vital. If you’re on the web, people are going to find your website because you handed them a business card or someone mentioned your name.
2. Be Understandable.
Explain what you do for your clients in customer-friendly terms. Remember your audience — it’s your customer, not AV techs. Think about what they need to know in order to decide if they want to learn more about your company.
Be clear about what exactly you provide to your customers. The average website fails to tell the visitor what the company actually does for their clients. I look at hundreds of AV industry websites every year. Before I speak to an audience, I often visit thirty or more attendee websites. I still have no idea what some of you do. And if your website doesn’t make that clear to me, it’s not clear to your prospects either.
Also, use client-friendly terms, not industry jargon, on your website. If your website speaks in customer terms, chances are everyone will understand better what you actually do for customers — which is what matters most.
3. Focus on Outcomes.
Avoid talking about how you work and start talking about what outcomes you provide. If your website has page after page about how you do things, that doesn’t actually help customers better understand what you do.
Talk about outcomes instead. What will you provide for your customer?
Outcomes should be the focus no matter what niche you’re in. If you’re a rental business and all you do is rent widgets, I need to understand what the widget does for me — not what the widget does. There’s a difference.
You get to talk about how you do things later in the process. After all, the customer just learned who you are and what you can do for them. Learn more about them before you
Don’t try to avoid marketing any longer. It’s happening. You might as well market in a way that’s more effective and, consequently, more profitable.