I did my first webinar yesterday - very cool. But I have to say that it was a little weird "performing" in front of a dark audience. I love being with a live audience - one that I can see and interact with and ask questions. Can't do that with a webinar. So I know there were about 1,000 people on the line, but I wanted to hear what they thought as I was speaking!
At least there was a chat option so that people could write in questions. And there were a lot, so thanks for that!
Quite a few questions centered around small business. Not surprising to me because when I speak at conferences I get a lot of questions from small business owners. Much of the inquiry is about how to replicate what the big brands do with far smaller budgets. "That's great for Tylenol and Tide, Jim, but what about me who doesn't have those kinds of budgets?"
I don't think it's about money, actually. And least not about out of pocket cash. I think it's more about time and effort, and probably staffing.
The truth is that marketing is marketing, no matter the brand, the industry, the target market, the budget. If you follow a core methodology, then you can replicate what the big brands do without spending a lot of money. Same is true if your brand is a package good, a consultancy, a B2B, or a non-profit.
Start by defining who you are and what you offer. Focus is crucial here, especially with a small budget. Do a real brainstorm session with core team members to iron out exactly what you are good at, and stick to it. Be the best you can be at a few things.
Identify who your best type of customer could be, and go out and learn about them. Get to know them better than ever, better than your competition. It doesn't take a huge market research budget to understand your customers. Talk to them. Survey them. Walk in their shoes for a day and see what they go through. Just get to know them anyway possible.
Then figure out how to satisfy your customers not only rationally, but also emotionally. Get under their skin and figure out what they really want from you, beyond the obvious. They can get the obvious from anyone, it's the emotional benefits that will keep them coming back to you. Facts and figures get you in the door, but an emotional connection will keep you there. Figure out how to become indispensable in their lives, and you'll have a customer for life.
Is this a lot of work? Sure. And that's where the rub is I believe. We think it's about budget, but it's really about time and effort. When you run a small business you are doing everything. There's no staff, no delegation, no status reports to fall back upon. Just you and a few other team members. And you can't throw money at things to get it all done.
But don't let that get in the way of doing a few simple things, the marketing basics, to set you up for success. Many of the basics take a lot of time, but not a lot of money. But they go a long way.
Thanks everyone for joining me yesterday, all of my friends unknown on the webinar!
I'd love to hear what you think ... what's your experience? Jim.
PS - A lot of people also asked about my book. You can get it from amazon.com here. Thanks!