Four Insights for Small-Business Marketing

“How and when will this generate sales?” That’s what entrepreneurs typically ask themselves when investing in marketing. “And that is the completely WRONG question to ask,” says marketing expert David Newman. In his new book, DO IT! MARKETING (AMACOM; June 20, 2013), Newman reveals the right questions to ask, right away, for marketing a small business with a big impact – both online and off. It all builds on these four fundamental insights:
Insight #1: You need to sell the same way that you buy. When was the last time you snapped up an offer from spam e-mail? When’s the last time you gave your credit card number over to a cold caller who interrupted your dinner? As a customer, you don’t buy from any company based on its spam, cold calls, postcards, or text pitches. So, why do you expect any customer—let alone, lots of eager customers—to buy based on yours? The right question to ask, in Newman’s book: What value have I added to my prospect’s world in order to earn the right to invite them to a conversation and offer my solution to their problems, headaches, heartaches, and challenges?                           
Insight #2: Referrals rock, but they’re not everything. “I don’t need to do any marketing because 99 percent of my business is repeat and referral business.” Maybe that’s what you tell yourself. Do you seriously think that referrals don’t check you out online before picking up the phone? What messages are you sending to valued referrals with an outdated website and abandoned Twitter account? The right questions to ask, in Newman’s book: Does my overall online presence reassure and reinforce the referrals I earn? Does it contain the most current, credible, and relevant positioning, content, and resources to make my advocates look better—not worse—for referring me?
Insight #3: Trusted advisor marketing is a four-layer enchilada. The first layer—at the core—is your reputation. But if you stop there, you’ll have a very hard time attracting new prospects to your doorstep. The second layer is amplification—ways to make your signal stronger (such as social media marketing and niche PR). The third layer is leverage. This is where you begin to capitalize on your trusted advisor assets (such as white papers, podcasts, or a blog) and reach out to higher-probability prospects. The fourth layer is gravity. Though it takes a long time to get it spinning, the power of momentum—which brings more leads, better prospects, and bigger opportunities—is hard to stop. The right questions to ask, in Newman’s book: Do you want to make more sales to strangers? Or do you want people to recognize, respect, and request you by name when they have a need, project, or problem that you truly are the perfect expert to handle?                            
Insight #4: Your what comes last. “What should be my company name? What’s the best headline for this sales letter? What tagline will attract the right customers?”… When it comes to your marketing, what is always the wrong first question to ask. Imagine being asked to write a letter. Before focusing on the what, you first need to know to whom the letter should be addressed (your favorite aunt, your high school sweetheart, the President) and then why you are writing. Once you know who and why, what to say is a piece of cake—because you feel connected with the unique recipient of your message for a specific purpose. The right questions to ask, in Newman’s book: To Whom am I marketing and why? Figure out who you’re talking to, talk to them for a specific, compelling, relevant reason, understanding who they are and what’s important to them. Say it so they get it – value it – and ultimately buy it. That’s how smart marketing is supposed to work.            
Adapted from DO IT! MARKETING: 77 Instant-Action Ideas to Boost Sales, Maximize Profits, and Crush Your Competition by David Newman.
DAVID NEWMAN is a marketing coach, speaker, and founder of Do It! Marketing, a marketing strategy firm whose clients range from thought-leading entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 companies. His expertise has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, Investor’s Business Daily, and Selling Power, as well as dozens of trade and industry publications. He lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (AMACOM; June 20, 2013; $19.95 Hardcover; ISBN: 978-0-8144-3286-0).