March 8, 2010

The Three Marketing Essentials For Today

The Art of Marketing conference took place last Tuesday, March 2 in Toronto. We were treated to insights from Mitch Joel, Seth Godin, Max Lenderman, Sally Hogshead, James Othmer and Dan Heath. Quite a lineup. Presenter after presenter gave example after example of how people have changed. Old approaches no longer work. Claims seem self-serving, but think of what the presenters were selling: books. These weren't the high pressure, take-my-$$$ course-and-your-life-will-turn-around crowd from the Real Estate & Wealth Expo (see secrets to billionaire success).

The obsolescence of old marketing approaches helps you. When you're in a new environment, the old maps won't help you but your compass will.

The Three
Principles still apply since people are fundamentally the same inside but methods have changed. The good news? The new techniques are virtually free and work better for smaller marketers.

To market today, you need
  1. a destination worth visiting
  2. directions
  3. proof of excellence
A Destination Worth Visiting
You must have a presence where people look first: online. This can consist of
  • a profile on LinkedIn
  • a website
  • an eNewsletter
A physical presence matters too, but your first point of contact is probably from a web search. Why not post photos of you and your facilities? Why not use video and audio to give online visitors a test drive? Give visitors compelling reasons to visit contact you, subscribe for something free or visit you.

If your gas station is no longer on the main road, your traffic will drop. When driving between Ottawa and Toronto, we used to stop at an Esso station at the junction of Highways 401 and 416. Until the highway was rerouted. Now we don't even know how to go to that gas station --- if it's still there.

Online, you can put yourself on prime high-traffic real estate for free
  • a LinkedIn profile is free
  • a Google Profile is free
  • blog platforms are free
  • Twitter is free
  • Facebook is free
What do you lose by being visible where your customers already go? If the popular place to be changes, you can easily move.

Your website stands alone but search engines direct traffic to you for free. If you have a destination. Think back to your last $500 purchase. If you couldn't find the vendor's website, how would you feel? Would you look for another vendor? Even if you would not, your clients and prospects might. Why take that risk?

Proof Of Excellence
Once visitors follow directions to your destination, they want to know that you're good. The design and content on your site help build trust but that may not be enough. Testimonials help if they're left by real people like them. A sprinkling of negative comments boosts your credibility because visitors see a range of opinions.

None of the three essentials takes much work, much time or much money. The challenge is getting started.

PS Once you overcome inertia, you'll find it's easy to make adjustments along your route

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