Let’s face it, we don’t always have time to open up the marketing textbook and do things by the book. Sometimes we need the marketing cliff notes, the shortcuts to marketing results that can give us an edge over competitors and give us more time to work in other areas.
Sometimes we just need to cheat at marketing.
Marketing purists and professors may not want to believe this, but not everyone gets as excited about marketing as we do. Even when they really, really understand marketing and even when they’ve been educated about its importance and even when they understand the actual power that “real marketing” has to produce results.
Some people just want to cheat at marketing.
I’m here for you!
I came up with these 3 ways to cheat at marketing and suspect that there will be more to follow in the weeks to come (since, after all, writing articles as a series of articles is a great way to cheat at marketing in and of itself – but that’s for a later date…)
Marketing Cheat #1: Stop spending time talking about your business online and off.
Stop trying to persuade people to try your products or services. Stop trying to convince people that you’re dedicated to customer service.
Solicit information from your customers and prospects. People love to talk about themselves. Get them to tell you:
- What kind of problems they have (that you can help to solve)
- What kind of lifestyle they want (which your business can enhance)
- What they’re interested in (that your business can facilitate)
- What they love (or hate) about their experience within your store or on your web site
Use not only your web site, social media pages and email marketing to solicit information, use old fashioned surveys conducted within your store or at the point of purchase. Send surveys via direct mail or email out to all of your customers or your most loyal ones and give them the opportunity to provide you with feedback.
The information you receive could well provide you with the means to improve your business overall, identify key competitive advantages or reveal weaknesses that may be costing you in terms of the health, success or potential for growth of your business.
Marketing Cheat #2: Steal search engine traffic with your blog .
When I blog, I get traffic. Period. While I could spend a great deal of time trying to write brilliant marketing narratives, I’ve learned that sometimes I can sit back and relax and steal search engine traffic instead, by posting about trend topics and especially about trend colors.
Write articles that pull from other sites (like Pantone, Sherwin Williams and other color experts) and create your own color boards from their seasonal trend colors and relate it back in some way to your business – whether you sell products in any of the trend colors available or you used these palette colors to redecorate some part of your store or even if you write about using tried and true colors instead, and use phrases that will draw search engine traffic such as:
- 2012 fall fashion colors
- trend colors for fall 2012
- fall 2012 trend colors for design
In 2013, write articles on trend colors with key word phrases such as:
- trend colors for spring 2013 or trend colors for spring and summer 2013
- 2013 spring fashion colors or 2013 spring and summer fashion colors
- new fashion trend colors for spring 2013 (or spring and summer 2013)
- trend colors for fall 2013 or trend colors for fall and winter 2013
- 2013 fall fashion colors or 2013 fall and winter fashion colors
- new fashion trend colors for fall 2013 (or fall and winter 2013)
You can also steal search engine traffic by writing blog articles about recurring pop culture events (such as the red carpet fashion events like the Emmys, Grammies, Oscars or Tonys) or pop culture happenings, sightings, fashions, hair, make up and more. Find ways to relate these topics back to your business, products or services in some way so that you can capture a portion of the incredible amount of online searches on these topics to your advantage!
Marketing Cheat #3: Surprise your customers in the bathroom.
Ok, so please hear me, I am not suggesting that you hide behind a curtain or in the vanity cabinet of your bathroom and jump out in some Ellen Degeres-esque display of surprise – one that might work for Ellen but would likely land you in the pokey as a peeping tom, for that matter.
Customers expect you to ensure the appearance of your entrance, waiting area, service or product display areas, point of purchase and other public spaces within your business. But the bar has been set so incredibly low when it comes to your bathroom!
Surprise your customers in the bathroom.
- First, make sure it’s uber-clean. That alone may set the experience they have in your bathroom apart from all other contenders.
- Provide peace of mind by using disposable hand towels for drying vs. community towels which can’t be trusted against the spread of germs.
- Provide amenities like a choice of moisturizing liquid soaps and lotions. Sample-sized foil packettes of lotion, branded personal hand sanitizers or travel size branded sanitizing wipes or other little “treats” they’re welcome to walk off with.
- Take advantage of these “captive audience” moments with displays or artwork that speak to customer wants or needs. Or that use humor to make a point about why customers should work with you or purchase from your business.
Three little marketing cheats, with, I suspect, more to follow. And stay tuned for the release of the 2013 Small Business Marketing Calendar, which will come packed with great ideas for building and growing your small business (or not so small business) in 2013.