Starting to market yourself

You'll be an expert in marketing your business after this tutorial. You will:
  1. Know what to do today to start getting customers.
  2. Spend much less - or zero - and get excellent sales results.
  3. Know who your best customers are and how to reach them.
  4. Know exactly what does not work, as well as what does.
  5. Guide outside service providers that you employ.
Use the links above to advance through each short section.

Spending money? Stop.

List the benefits your customer receives.

If you haven't yet started marketing, wait until you've gone through this tutorial. Then you will know specifically what to do, in order.

If you are already marketing, suspend your outbound programs until you are familiar with the concepts of messaging, audience and channels you'll learn here. Then you will be able to judge whether you're doing it the right way or not.

If you are currently advertising now, you may not only be wasting money, you can be damaging your brand and harming your future success.

I'm scared to do my own marketing.

You really do have the expertise

. You already know the pieces to put together into a brand message. You'll learn how to perfect that message, locate the right customers, and reach them at the lowest possible expense.

Your marketing skill will drive your business. When you hear customers express something they wish they had, or a problem you can solve, that's a new product or service opportunity for you. That's how winning products are discovered and developed; the customer is the inventor.

You will destroy your competitors.. A honed message is your secret weapon, and you'll deliver it at the right place and time to the right people. Your competitors will throw money away sending an ineffective message to the wrong people in the most expensive and inefficient ways.

I know this guy who does Photoshop.

Your Aunt's second cousin, a Photoshop expert, comes up with some great color collages between meth withdrawals.

Like law and accounting, marketing is a process-based professional discipline, not a creative artistic journey that 'looks nice' or 'gets attention'. And unlike the latter, it works.

What's particularly cruel about this common scenario is that you go nuts trying to figure out what the problem is...and can't. After agonizing months of waiting for customers who will never come, you look for an advertising and marketing agency to vacuum your wallet clean of the few coins that remain.

Know what marketing you're getting.

Ad agencies get paid to sell you things. Not when you sell things.

You do not have to spend a lot of money to sell a lot of products. If you do, something is not getting communicated. If an agency's materials are not working, you might be told it's just because you're not spending enough money on more of it. Agencies rake it in because of trusting business owners who don't realize how much easier it is to learn it themselves.

Too late, you realize that their stuff looks cool - but misses the mark entirely by not targeting your customer with your message and benefits. Then, you find out that they are just subbing the work to your aunt's second cousin who knows Photoshop, and quadrupling the rate.

Ad agencies are an expensive way to learn that nobody knows your customers and the benefits of your product better than you. Or cares more about results.

Marketing Basics

The analogy: A bullet, a target, a gun - and your aim.

Branding: The bullet. Your brand message is what your customers see. This includes your real value to your customer; what makes you different and better; and the needs of your customer that you fulfill. This short paragraph makes you armed and dangerous.

Channels: The target. There are a lot of them, but we want only the best. Who are your target customers? Who are the best ones? Where are they specifically, and what do you think is the best way for them to find you? Where are they looking for similar products and services, and when?

Programs: The gun. Creative media that is 'placed'. This means advertising or other promotional methods. We'll figure out the cheapest and most effective method for you, and then we turn up the volume once sales can support additional costs.

Measurement: Your aim. If it's off, measurement lets you know.