It’s easy for entrepreneurs like us to waste money on marketing, but what if you knew techniques for finding these bad investments before you spent your money? We might not understand the real results we’ll get or we might be so desperate for some traction in sales that we’ll try anything. Bad advice from friends, family, sales people or even books might lead us into an expensive business lesson.
I nearly fell for this myself just a few weeks ago.
Don’t get me wrong, no one was pressuring me into something I didn’t want. I had seen a tradeshow opportunity and thought it was ideal for me – until I saw the sticker price for a booth. This tradeshow is great for a lot of businesses, but I was no longer sure it was great for me.
Here’s what I did to find out if this was a smart investment in my own marketing:
Ask “Why do I really want to do this?”
My knee-jerk answer was that I was signing up for the tradeshow because it would solve my problems. THAT should be a red flag for you, as it was for me, that there’s something deeper. So I sat with this question some more and realized I was scared I’d miss out on a big opportunity, a market I hadn’t gotten into before.
Don’t act out of fear. When you realize you are, bring in wise counsel.
Once I realized I was operating from a “lack mindset” I sought out my mastermind group for advice. Please note this is a mastermind of successful women business owners, not my mom, boyfriend or best friend. They brought up some good points and cut through any fog and mirrors I was still trying to use to make this sound like a good choice. I’d like to share their wisdom here because I think it’s appropriate.
Don’t be afraid to ask for solid proof of results.
A tradeshow can give you a list of past attendees and their businesses or an actual count of attendees at the least. A mailer/newspaper can tell you their circulation reach. (100,000 homes in Canada isn’t as helpful for me as 100,000 homes in Kentucky, for instance.)
Look for those with the heart of a teacher.
The sort of marketing partner you want in any investment should have your interests at heart and include education in their sales and in everything else they do. What is their follow through? Do you get training (if applicable)? Are they going to hold your logo hostage because your agreement was just for the temporary use of it, or do they give you all the creation files? Are they pressuring you or are they guiding you to something that brings you peace?
Ask “Is this really going to do what I need?”
Really? Really really? Think about it carefully. If you didn’t invest here, what would be the result? Are there other options you haven’t considered?
Take a few days to decide.
This is especially true if fear or desperation is involved. Any potent emotion can cloud our judgement and empty our business bank account (or worse your personal account!) in a hurry. Wait until you’ve come to terms, found wise counsel and really evaluated an investment before you go forth.
Don’t let indecision kill you.
I made nearly a $10,000 investment decision in 2 days – ironically even before the pitch I knew was coming was delivered. I could see this investment was practical, that it fit exactly in line with my own philosophies, that it would provide the structure I had been shopping for and that the person I’d be investing with would treat me right. I had followed the advice above.
Here’s the funny part. There was only one thing that scared me: the price. I wasn’t scared that it wouldn’t work. I wasn’t scared that this was my last hope. I knew this would work and I knew this investment would make it happen. If price is the only reason you’re panicking, then it might be time to step up. If you’re curious how that investment has turned out, well I made that money back in the first month, just like I expected it would.
Marketing is an INVESTMENT – not a cost.
Good marketing pays for itself over time, so be very careful when thinking about money and marketing. If I told you I’d give you $50 next month if you gave me $10 today you’d probably go for it. That’s why I’ve made sure that I never spoke about cost, only investment. That’s real marketing: investing money for great results in the future.
If you’d like more coaching on investing or you’re looking to invest in the sort of tactics and tools that will take your profits from good to GREAT, then I invite you to schedule a free Marketing Clarity Call with me. We’ll talk about your goals and how to reach them with your small business. This isn’t a pushy sales call; it’s a genuine chat with a genuine person. I’d love to sit down and share virtual tea with you.