We all know the 80/20 rule or Pareto Principle.
It goes like this: 80% of your results come from just 20% of your efforts.
What about marketing?
If you own a small business you might have fallen into a dangerous marketing trap and have the 80/20 rule reversed: 80% of what you spend time on, fuss over, and pour money into gets you only 20% of your results.
It’s like trying to be everywhere but getting nowhere.
The secret (if there is one) to effective small business marketing is this:
- Get painfully targeted on one market segment
- Stop doing anything you can’t measure
- Invest in 2-3 marketing efforts, but do them really well
You can’t be everywhere
It started about 10 years ago.
Marketing guru’s promoting their be-everywhere strategies. Podcasters drooled over social media celebrities who could turn a quick self-help video into a viral drip campaign on everything from Pinterest to Twitter, a dressed-up YouTube video, plus a blog post to boot.
Of course, nobody talked about their team of assistants, or whether any of that moved the revenue needle.
I’ve had clients proudly show me scheduled social media posts on massive Excel spreadsheets that would make NASA proud. Entrepreneurs became convinced the road to Rome was boosting posts on Facebook and better lighting on Youtube videos.Entrepreneurs became convinced the road to Rome was boosting posts on Facebook and better lighting on Youtube videos. Click To Tweet
Being everywhere misses the main point of marketing–does it produce sales?
Smart marketing starts with selling to one person.
1. Sell to one person
Sarah developed an online course designed for middle managers about workplace culture supported with live coaching.
When we spoke, she was building her following on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Promoting and hosting webinars monthly, running email campaigns, and struggling to write blog posts. She was also distracted trying to direct her part-time assistant in all of this editing, designing, scheduling, and posting.
My dear mother would call Sarah’s plan “a mile wide and an inch deep.”
I haven’t done the math, but my guess is that about one half of Sarah’s week is wasted putting updates on social media that nobody reads or running webinars for the same 12 people who have no interest in giving her money.
If this sounds familiar, STOP spending money on marketing until you have defined your avatar–your ideal customer. Nobody else matters (for your business). I wrote a whole piece about designing your business avatars in this post.Stop spending money on marketing until you have defined your avatar–your ideal customer. Click To Tweet
Sarah’s avatar is female middle managers in HR in professional service firms in Western Canada. If she lands someone different, great, but that’s not where she needs to focus.
2. Stop any marketing you can’t measure
Gerry just spent $5,000 to update his website. It’s actually quite nice.
Like 50% of the client websites we see at BlogWorks, his fancy design firm didn’t install Google Analytics, so Gerry has no way of measuring what that investment is doing for him.
He’s also not measuring:
- The cost of his assistant posting daily on social media
- The ROI of boosting his posts on Facebook
- Direct leads or sales from YouTube videos
When I interviewed Gerry, his list of marketing activities was much longer. All of them cost him money; none were being measured.
Good, smart marketing has nothing to do with your face showing up more often on social media. Good, smart marketing is all about investing in getting a return. Everything else is for pleasure.Good, smart marketing has nothing to do with your face showing up more often on social media. Click To Tweet
Gerry is also now a client of BlogWorks and happily spending less money and watching his returns increase.
3. An inch wide and a mile deep
After more than my share of failed marketing attempts, I have one insight that has never failed me.
Most things don’t work.
In other words, few things (80/20 rule again) make all the difference. Your job, dear business owner is to, as quickly as possible, take an ax to what isn’t working (or can’t be measured), and perfect what does.
For the very brave, here’s a simple test. The elimination diet.
Stop posting for your business on social media for one month. See what happens. The first thing you will notice is time—lots of it coming your way.
For the following month introduce one social media activity, like creating connections and conversations on LinkedIn. Test it, measure it, refine it. And resist the temptation to expand your efforts to other channels.
You’re the boss
If you do your job right, you’ll either make a tidy income from your business, make a pocket of cash exiting, or some combination of both. Getting there is all about tough business decisions.
For example, just because you have a following on Facebook or Twitter doesn’t mean that’s where you should invest your time. It could be you’re on the wrong end of the 80/20 rule.
Like any tough business decision, it’s all about first principles: what are you trying to achieve?