If you’re a local marketing expert (consultant, strategist, self-proclaimed god) you’re WRONG. I’m going to prove it.
If you’re thinking of hiring a marketing expert - read this first.
If you’re coming here from the Big Value Big Business podcast, welcome. But you’re probably wrong too.
Put up your dukes, then keep reading.
First – here’s my story (you’ll get to throw your punch in just a second)
(Want to go on to how you’re wrong? Feel free to skip ahead.)
About 11 years ago I dove into the small town small business thing head on.
I’m a geek by birth, but a creative by passion.
While I was still in school studying marketing, I opened my wedding photography business and hoped to pull in tons of clients from the few little towns surrounding my home.
I had been designing websites since I was about 15 years old (my parents are both computer geeks, it’s in the blood) so I put up my first website and waited for the brides to hunt me down.
And hunt me down they did.
I had a bit of a secret weapon in my back pocket that allowed me to dominate my state pretty quickly – I was pretty dang good at search engine optimization.
While most of the other photographers were struggling with their SEO-useless flash websites (what a terrible trend), I was flying up the rankings for just about every city in my state. The brides were flowing in.
An important revelation
There’s something about an over-abundance of leads that really makes you begin to pay attention to who it is you’re working with.
I realized about 8 years in that I wasn’t getting the kind of clients that pushed my craft (and the resulting product) to where I wanted it to be. I wanted creative, unique brides; but I was working with a fairly varied blend of folks.
I redesigned my website for the last time, focusing totally on “my” people, and exactly what I wanted them to know about me.
I wanted them to know that I was obsessed with them. That I understood them and cared about their unique worries, dreams, and all that other squishy stuff. I KNEW my people.
I began speaking to my people exactly where they were. I sought features on the right websites, I answered the unique questions of my people on my blog, I connected with them on social media and built relationships that have lasted well beyond the weddings.
It worked. Every wedding pushed me further and further and I was absolutely loving my job again.
Then it hit me – while I was sitting back and watching great leads flow in, everyone else was still struggling – within my industry and outside of it.
I wanted to hone my skills and learn more about this seemingly-simple process – so that maybe I could begin to help others.
When I wasn’t shooting weddings (or editing), I was spending every waking minute building sniper affiliate websites. It wasn’t long until I was bringing in consistent commissions from products all over the web.
More importantly, I was learning the psychology of behavior and how to get folks to do exactly what I needed them to do.
The moment it hit me.
I built my first teaching website focused on teaching other photographers what they needed to do to duplicate my results and pretty soon I taught my first in-person class full of female photographers in a city near my home.
What was supposed to be an hour of online marketing techniques and conversion best practices turned into over 6 hours of Q&A.
They were HUNGRY for help.
These photographers were actually in a better position than 90% of the businesses surrounding their studios. They had an incredible online community lifting them up, they had a product which was increasingly more web-based, they had it easy.
How you (or your marketing expert) are getting it wrong
The other guys? The small town business owners? They were looking in every possible direction and hearing only noise and really, really bad advice.
They’re being told to spam purchased email lists!
They’re being told to post 1000 times a week on Facebook and to run a sale every other day.
They’re filling Instagram with bad stock photos and direct messaging folks sales messages on Twitter.
(If you’re a marketing professional and you’ve suggested any of these tactics in the last week – just jump to the bottom and send me a Tweet. Let’s have it out.)
They NEED their businesses to work. They need to find their people, to find a way to reach them and a way to build relationships. They need the knowledge and strategies and techniques that we take for granted.
But they keep getting bad advice, and it’s all our fault.
Why? Because all of us “internet marketing specialists” and “inbound marketing experts” were too busy talking amongst ourselves to even notice the little guys.
We were (and still are!) building more and more self-serving products and services, selling to each other and preaching about the next big idea. All across the country we sit in our fancy desk chairs in our home offices with whiteboards on every wall with giant blinders on to everything that is happening to entrepreneurs outside of our niche.
These guys, the builders, creators and problem solvers, are drowning under the waves of information and techniques and systems and infographics and tweets and podcasts and…
Dear Inbound Expert,
Take off your *%&$$&# blinders and help folks.
Dear Business Owner and Local Marketing Expert,
I don’t care how small your town is – this stuff DOES work there.
I proved it. I dominated probably one of the smallest towns (and all the surrounding ones) in the world and have since taught many others how to do the same.
It works because it’s real. Because it’s about helping.
- Social media? Yes.
- Search Engine Optimization? YES.
- Conversion Optimization, blogging, email marketing, landing pages, webinars, ebooks. Yes, yes, yes…
It all works – from the tiniest of towns and the tiniest of businesses to the biggest giants in the tallest skyscrapers.
It. works. because. (and only when). it. is. real.
When you know your people and speak to them where they are, they’ll beg to buy from you.
If anyone is telling you differently, I want you to send them this post. Call them out.
Don’t believe me?
I want to hear from you right now.
WHY do you think this won’t work in your small town? Are you a (now royally ticked off) marketing expert and think I’m full of it? Test me, push me to the limit.
I guarantee I’ll have an answer for you.