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10 Paths to Marketing (and Sales) Purgatory

In working with and talking to hundreds of small businesses over the last few years, we’ve heard about and seen many, many different ways that owners and their sales & marketing staff waste time and money on marketing.This post started out as the 7 deadly sins of marketing, but after looking at all the feedback and experiences, there really are 10 critical errors we see repeatedly.What follows are the 10 ways into marketing purgatory and then the 7 steps you can take to get back out. Of course, if you want help walking those 7 steps, that’s what we are here for (just sign up for the marketing & brand audit on our website)1) Buying an email list to send unsolicited, unwanted email without permission.2) Not having a system to track and nurture leads and opportunities over time.3) Thinking social media is just a fad.4) Not having a specific and organized sales process that converts prospects to customers.5) Not having a website (or having one that you don’t control the content on). Almost as bad is having a website that says nothing about why you are special, unique and why customers should choose you. Closely related to this is the idea of Digital Sharecropping…for example, depending on a Facebook page for all your contact with customers without having an in-house mailing list.6) Failing to define your ideal customer.7) Thinking that you can differentiate on service, price, education or length of time in business.8) Not knowing or caring what your competitors charge and why they charge it, or what they are saying about themselves or you.9) Letting your marketing choose you (listening to the siren song of the ad sales guy), rather than having a plan and working the plan.10) Thinking that referrals just happen. (They don’t.)So if you have taken one (or more) of those routes to marketing (and sales) purgatory, here are the 7 steps you must take to make your marketing and sales a predictable process.1) Strategy before tactics – Get your message, your value and your ideal customer clearly defined.2) Fill your marketing hourglass – make sure you have a way to move customers through the process of getting to know, like and trust you so that they can try, buy, repeat purchase and refer you.3) Publish educational content – it’s about being found, and educating is the best way to get found.4) Create a total web presence – your website, social media, review sits and yes, a blog.5) Use a lead generation trio – you have to do more than just wait for people to find you.6) Make selling a system too – as mentioned above, you have to make the conversion of prospects to customers an organized, methodical approach.7) Live by the calendar – if you don’t schedule all these things, nothing will happen. Marketing is always important, but rarely is it urgent.So, make a conscious decision to move your business out of purgatory and into growth. It’s not the economy – businesses are growing (we see it in our clients). It’s that the nature of business has changed, and now you must change too.