I don’t know how many times I’ve seen a social media post from a law firm, retail shop, etc that is promoting something with only a blogpost or business page to link to! Or perhaps a cheaply printed business card that tells me they don’t care enough about their “brand” or image to invest in themselves.
Promoting a brand is hard work. How long does it take to build a reputation and “trust” factor with prospects. How much advertising is spent developing and promoting it?
(This is #mydayoftherant)! Why then in the great advertising kingdom does a so-called professional brand themselves with one page on a blog or business platform?
You might as well just post it on the side of a horses’ derriere!
Our work with small businesses encourage building a marketing platform that begins with a three-part strategy to measure customer needs, create podcast content and promote via social media. This insures proper branding of your expertise as more prospects search online about your business.
Today’s video podcast discusses an issue that affects all businesses, particularly small businesses trying to get a brand and image established.
For whatever reason—businesses can become complacent in their marketing efforts which can eventually kill growth, employee morale, online presence, etc.
Hear all of our strictly audio podcasts here!
Complacency in Small Business Marketing!
Host: John D. Verlin
Good afternoon John Verlin back with you again with on On Demand Advertising Solutions, podast #16, Digital Marketing Update.
Last week I said I was going to rant this week and I am!
I’m going to do it–getting right to it There was a piece that I’m going to tie in some of the comments this person made. Brent Gleason had a great piece last month in Inc. magazine.
He is a former Navy SEAL and it ties in with what I want to talk about–and that is complacency in small business. Now he’s referring to complacency in larger businesses. It’s the same basic stuff.
What I’m shocked at to be honest with you, I see small businesses—and they don’t have a website…don’t have a Facebook business page. They barely have a business card. And if they do, it’s cheap-looking, flimsy.
And I’m sitting here thinking to myself, what are they thinking?
There was on Linkedin, a 500 million member platform, world-wide right?
A couple of weeks ago, I see a lawyer making a post on Linkedin, “we specialize in blah, blah, blah…legal services, etc. Click here to learn more about us.
Hashtag legal, hashtag about ten other cities in the area. And maybe he was thinking of Instagram. Or copied them from an Instagram photo because he had so many hastagged words.
But my first reaction was, what is this a joke? That’s literally my first reaction. This is a lawyer that posted this on Linkedin.
So I click on the link—and guess what I get? A one page blog. That’s it. And I’m sitting there thinking to myself, this guy is a lawyer for crying out loud. Did someone not tell him at lawyer school to make yourself look presentable and look good in your marketing?
Well I guess lawyers don’t market. They didn’t used to. But it’s so competitive today. And I’m sitting there thinking to myself, what is this guy thinking? He either doesn’t care or nobody’s told him…but that’s, that’s lazy. It has a terrible presence.
Now, keep in mind—you’ve heard this before, you may have read blog posts about this—in this new age with digital platforms, shifting from brick and mortar and we’re seeing this happen. Your storefront is now online, whether you like it or not.
And it is going to be researched and they’re going to want to know about this lawyer. And they are going to go search for him. And if they see a blog page come up, and that’s it…what do you think they’re going to think, before they even call him? Or maybe they saw the Linkedin post and they want to find out more about him.
People search and then they go. And that’s kind of the thing…they want to know about about the business.
You don’t have a web presence that looks good, looks functioning. On top of that, a blog.
Where you’re posting content on a regular basis. And this is what we talk about, that we do for our clients.
It’s critical because this is your storefront. This is the image people see. And Mr. Gleason talked about the complacency he sees from leadership on down. There’s a lack of…he says there are a number of reasons for complacency.
The lack of any real visible crisis…the wrong performance measurement criteria. Too many leaders drinking their own Kool-Aid. Too much positive communication with a fear of transparency. A culture based on self-preservation rather than calculated risk.
I don’t know why small businesses are complacent. And this may be part of it. They think they’re great. Maybe they created something where they have a lot of orders upfront and they think they’re great and they don’t need anything else.
I don’t know. But that’s a complacent attitude, and one of these days, their competitors will come in and eat their lunch. And then they’ll go, well, what should I have done differently?
And I’m saying there’s a lack of urgency and alignment that businesses are going through. And this is like an epidemic countrywide. I mean it’s amazing. It really is a leadership wake up call for anybody in any organization.
But particularly small businesses because this is it. You could be a mom and pop business and this is what you’re doing as a second gig, or maybe a primary business.
Mr. Gleason talks about this—and I love this. He talks about what they learned in Navy SEALs. And that what set them apart from their peers, was speed, surprise and violence of action.
Now, most organizations continue to succeed and innovate. They have a culture poised for positive change and taking risk. And they don’t wait for the ship to spring a leak.
They are proactive and constantly set aggressive goals, Mr. Gleason says. And I love all of that. He says they tell the good, bad and ugly—with brutal transparent communication.
Now, you’ve got particularly with a small business—you’ve got to be proactive. And that’s what I’m talking about…get things…get your ducks in a row.
Get your online presence so that when people click on to search for you, they find a website they find a blog. You’ve got business cards that match.
You maybe have a uniform—I’m a big proponent of, if you’re doing networking, wearing a shirt with your logo on it. And that’s your brand.
All of this is your brand. It’s all linked. But be proactive about it and making it work.
Promote it through social media. Advertise it. Whatever. But have a presence online. This is what I’m just shocked at. Like I say, I think there are a lot of small businesses lacking.
Sales materials, Marketing materials. Regular communication with your customers. You can do this online now with social media. It should be a given. Answer questions. Get back with emails. Whatever it is—this is all from leadership. This is all you as a leader.
So taking this proactive look critically. Of course, if you have employees—it’s your leadership from the top down. You’ve got to communicate with them, to empower them and you’ve got to reward behaviors that align with these goals. These are a few things Mr. Gleason talks about to prevent this complacency.
And if you, yourself that is a small business, or you and another person, you’ve got to take action—pro-active action to get your ducks in order to promote your business, so that when people do come to you online, they have a fluid experience.
That’s the beginning of the customer experience. And it’s critical from day one. Otherwise, they think you’re just some fly by night operation.
These are all perceptions, and we’ve talked about them in the past on other podcasts. And that’s why having an engaged marketing platform, I call it is so important because that’s the first thing they see, is online, typically. Or a business card when they first meet you.
They will make assumptions. If you’ve got a crappy looking business card, or website..i’ve seen websites that they’ve spend $8-$10k and it looked like it was thrown together.
And just did not have a good presentation. That’s really critical. That’s your major real estate investment—even if you have a brick and mortar storefront, the online search, online they’re checking you out before the waste gas and time to go to your storefront is equally as important.
Because, it they have seen you’ve got a badly-linked website. Or very little content. No blog posts. Maybe no reviews. Whatever. They’re going to make a judgment before they even drive out.
Think about how many times you might have done that in your own life. You wanted to get a new pair of shoes, so you checked them out online. And it barely showed up. So, what did you do? You probably went to the next one that had a bigger presence.
So that’s why the marketing platform is so critical and promoting it on a regular basis. So, that’s my rant!
Small business owners, have a presence. Promote it. Make it look good. I know it’s a shoestring. But there’s platforms today like WordPress.
A bunch of them where you can get websites…not that expensive. Have somebody, pay them to put it together to give you a decent online piece of real estate.
It’s critical. Your marketing materials and then your promotion. That’s pretty much it. Because if you don’t have good quality promotional things, online and in person, people are going to make judgement calls.
The thing you want to do is start off with a positive image. And it’s critical.
firstname.lastname@example.org is my email.
I’ll see you next week. We’ll be talking about ways to make podcasts attractive, to educate your prospects, to get them engaged with you before they even come out to your business or go online to your website. Because you can bring them in and draw them in.
Have a great week—we’ll talk to you later!
All podcasts recorded at Verlin Studios, Gardner, Kansas.
Copyright John D. Verlin, 2017