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So why are so many small business owners willing to pay $300 month for coffee, then complain that there are not enough sales leads coming into their business? At the same time they decline online marketing services which will improve their sales revenues with a greater return on their investment for the same dollar amount. It’s kind of like buying candy-coated cough drops that do little for our cough, but refusing the strong taste of Buckley’s that gives a little pain on the taste buds but offers a bigger gain. These are things that should make us say “hmmmm”

Questions – Perhaps the answers lie deeper under the surface. Is it just what we do out of our daily routine? Were we just comfortable with the past methods and not ready to accept change? Was it a story or experience from friends over one of those coffees that did their marketing wrong? Perhaps it was a bad taste in their mouth from a previous service supplier that over-promised the results just to get sale and never delivered the goods. What then is the true value of not marketing and the cost of a non decision? All these are good questions and I understand where they come from as I have asked them myself. Perhaps there are some answers that make sense or may I just explain why you should take another try?

Choices – No matter what type of marketing you choose, I can’t emphasize enough that ALL must have a measurable ROI. But what do you look at for your business? How can you avoid the scams, traps and long term contracts? I believe whoever you use, that you should look at their processes more than their offerings. Then I would stand by the saying, “if it looks too good to be true, it probably is” In contrast, a good marketing agency will start asking many questions about your business and your objectives (not just numbers). If they start with their services and pricing instead, politely close the conversation and move on. Instead, ask to have a conversation with their references to get the good, the bad and the ugly. Real people in business will be transparent.

References – Keep in mind, only showing you their websites is not helpful to your business as more and more designers can make their websites look good. Instead, know how the marketing firm helped bring in the references more revenue or improved their selling process or increased their company image. That’s the better story and the one you need to listen to.

Marketing – If the agency or firm guarantees you’ll be on the first page of Google search, run fast! Besides, contrary to popular belief, it’s not all about SEO. Yes you need to be found by Google searchers, but that is not the only way to get leads for more business. What about display ads targeted to your target market? What about referral partners or targeting your own customers through regular educational emails or blogging? These are things that the marketing firm’s references should be sharing with you because they worked for them to increase their ROI.

Suggestions – It’s best to start using a professional or get some coaching to put a marketing strategy in place. Work the plan through your objectives and review the results monthly tweaking or changing the marketing tools to better suit your business. Like any tool, use it and replace it to keep it current. Oh, and about the Buckley’s, you know what they say, ‘It’s awful, but it works.’ ‘Coughing’ up your coffee money for a good marketing plan may be awful, but how do you want YOUR business to work?

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