We hear the term “guerilla marketing” a lot but I’m not sure we all know exactly what it means, nor whether it’s really appropriate for all business owners.
The term came into prominence as a result of a best selling book by Jay Conrad Levinson. It’s evolved into a series of books that tackle “Guerilla Marketing” for all sorts of niche businesses. (In the spirit of full disclosure, his team contacted me a few months back about doing a book in the series. I declined since I felt it would conflict with my next book, The One Week Marketing Plan: The Set It & Forget It Method For Attracting New Clients.) In essence, his books teach low cost or no cost methods for prospecting.
There’s a lot of good things in the books and they’re worth checking out.
But here’s the cautionary note. I think you do yourself a HUGE disservice if you think that client attraction should be free. (And lots of people do.) We all know that it’s never free. Even for people who get their business through networking, they have to spend money-and even more importantly time-in the process.
Relying on these “labor intensive” client attraction methods only works for so long. At some point, you lap the track and run out of people who can refer you business…growth is usually very slow…and most importantly, you leave yourself vulnerable to the feast or famine business cycles. (Not to mention that when the labor intensive methods do pay off, what you no longer have is time to continue doing them.)
If you’re serious about running a business, you need to establish a marketing budget, much as the same way you set a budget for office expenses, accounting services, ect. If you do that, then the discussion shifts from “I don’t have any money for marketing” to “Where can I get the greatest ROI for my investment in marketing?”
That’s a very important shift in thinking.
Obviously, I have skin in this game because I’m a marketing consultant and I’ve made a nice living over the past 20 years selling marketing services. So you may have a temptation to just dismiss what I’m saying.
So don’t take my word for it.
Look at the super-successful people in your field. (Not your networking buddy who says she’s doing great.)
What you’ll notice is that they all have a marketing plan that is both funded and implemented. It includes a great website that makes a strong free offer, a drip marketing system, a blog that both spreads their message and helps with SEO, and a plan for driving traffic to their site.
The beauty of having a lead capture and drip marketing system in place is that you can then focus on spending your dollars on adding people to your network. It’s those people that become your clients and customers. So, rather than trying to spend money getting strangers to buy from you, focus instead on using your money to get people to opt-in and join your circle of relationships.
That’s money well spent.
Food for thought
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Mark Satterfield, Gentle Rain Marketing — Author, Marketing Consulting Expert, Lead Generation, Business Development, Marketing Strategy, Get More Clients, Increase Revenue — Click here for his Facebook Twitter LinkedIn YouTube