The best marketing is ALL of the marketing.
Sure, we’re an online marketing company. We offer website design and tools to help that website be found. We feel like the fastest way to become known is through online efforts. HOWEVER, we truly believe that the best marketing is ALL of the marketing.
Many people say to us, “we get all of our business through referrals.”
We respond, “no kidding.”
A Tale for this Age
All marketing is referral marketing. Google Paid Ads are referrals from Google. People trust Google (sometimes) more than their neighbors. If you ask Rob, from across the street, who gave him his killer haircut…he may answer something like:
“Gorilla Barbers, you know, that place over by Target.”
That’s great – free marketing. However, what we know is that all consumers are more educated now. Gone are the days of being “AAA Barber” and showing up first in the Yellow Pages. If Rob tells you about Gorilla Barbers, then what are you going to do? Get in your car and drive over to Gorilla Barbers (by Target) and ask them if they can do something similar for you to what they did for Rob’s head? Or will you ask them how many other people are as happy as Rob is?
Guess what…Rob, is a great guy, but you’ve only ever seen him outside in the driveway. You aren’t even friends on Facebook. How can you even trust that he got the name right? What if it’s “Go Really Barbers” and you just heard wrong? No, that can’t be it because you can definitely remember that sign with the Gorilla and the slick haircut last time you went to Target. On top of that, you’re thinking that you have a postcard in your desk (junk) drawer with a 20% Off coupon for first-timers with that same slick-haired primate.
Back to your desk.
Yep. There’s the postcard. Awesome, 20% to become as good-looking as Rob. Wait a minute. Rob has different hair than I do. Well, the end, I guess O’Reilly Barbers (is that right, oh no, the postcard says “Gorilla”), I mean Gorilla Barbers isn’t a good fit.
Or wait…do they even help non-Rob-looking-people like me? Where in the world could I find that kind of information? If only there was some kind of way to see what Gorilla Barbers offers. To see if they had helped other people (other than Rob). Did other people like them just as much as Rob? Is my coupon for 20% off $25 or $150? Are they even open today? Do I have to call to book?
You know how to find the answer (because you’re smart), so you pull out your phone. If Gorilla Barbers has any sense at all, then they have the answers to all of those questions on the internet. The worldwide web. You type in ‘gurilla barbers’ (it’s Saturday, you have your brain off), luckily Google knows what you mean. You see them listed and the map that shows that they are close to Target. They’re also at the top of the list and have 122 reviews, with a 4.6 average (your mistrust is fading). They probably have a website where you can see what they offer and for how much (so you can do that math of 20% off). You click that button. You can see when they are open and how to schedule an appointment. You can see a gallery of images of people other than Rob. You could even click on a button on their website that magically opens your favorite app on your phone. In this app, you would see all the most recent people who are (some) even better looking than Rob. This gives you hope for your future.
You now know who, what, where, how much, how to, what could be the future for you, etc. Now, you just need to make the plan that fits. You could book on their site, you could call or maybe you do want to spend your gasoline on driving over by Target, getting out of the car, and pressing your nose against the glass of Gorilla Barbers…but probably not.
So, sure…Rob gave you a referral. Step one. That doesn’t mean that Gorilla Barbers should hire him as their top traveling salesman and take their website down (because now they have Rob). What this means is that ALL THE MARKETING works together to provide the desired end result.
- Person to person referral
- Store branding and signage
- Physical mailer
- Discount promotion
- Search (Google, Bing, Yahoo, Maps) engine inquiry
- Reviews from real people
- Proof via social media
- A website, acting as the best employee they have that can answer every question you have.
All the marketing. That’s what works best. This fictional dramatization did not use all of the marketing channels available. No mention of billboards, t-shirts, blog posts, tv commercials, radio ads…the list goes on and on. However, the pieces we do mention are extremely common and all are referrals to get you in the door of Gorilla Barbers.
Online marketing is all about building trust. Because consumers are more educated, they also know their options. They know that if they see one barbershop, there are probably 2-3 more (by Target) that they could convert with. Convert? Yeah, the goal of marketing is about getting conversions. However, online marketing is built on trust (or relational). If you are one of three options, then how will you build that trust to stand out more? Reviews are one the best ways. You can also prove your work/offerings/brilliance on social media. You get the idea.
1 Bird 2 Stones
It’s not a typo. Yes, ideally if you’re hunting birds, 2 for 1 is awesome. However, if you’re hunting birds and only bring 1 stone, that is not great planning.
In an effort to pay the least and get the best return (not a bad goal), so many business owners opt into only one avenue of marketing. This makes sense in that if you are a business owner, you do not have time to also become a marketing expert. So, taking the path of least resistance helps you check off the ‘marketing box’.
It also makes perfect sense to operate as strongly as possible. We often implore users not to operate an inch deep and a mile wide, but to go as deeply as they can with a smaller reach. The riches are in the niches.
That all sounds like we are in favor of the single stone. I suppose that may be partially true. However, this can be a dangerous way to live. Here are 4 reasons why:
Dangers of Single-Channel Marketing
Increase in Competition – If you are a one-trick-pony, then you have limited options. You may be very successful in one marketing channel, however as soon another pony enters with the same trick, you are splitting that audience 50/50. What if two more ponies come in? What if a flying one-trick-unicorn enters the mix, people start forgetting your name very quickly. The only way to stay at the top at this point is to pay more than the other ponies/unicorns to be at the top.
Competition in one channel will not affect all of your other channels. It’s impossible. You may need to rework that particular channel or make other plans, but a drop in one channel doesn’t have to stop all of your incoming traffic.
Your Audience is Human – Have you ever been asked to confirm that you are not a robot online? Robots are not the ones buying your products/service/etc. online. Humans are. Not all humans are the same. Is this news to you? Not everyone uses the internet the same. Some people looking for a barbershop may search Google or use a map app to search or use a review site like Yelp. Some people may not even know they are looking for a new barber, but an ad may come up on their social media (without them even searching) and then make that decision to try out the barber in the ad.
Choosing only one location to promote yourself leaves out a lot of people that should be hearing your message.
Note: If you sell replacement toilet seats…Instagram (a very visual platform) may not be the best choice for you. That’s not your audience, but finding the right MULTIPLE outlets for you to reach out to is still very important (because toilet seats are important too).
You Are Out of Control – Well, hopefully not fully, but as far as the platform you are advertising is concerned, you have very little say in what happens. Typically, in a paid world, you have control over the message, spend, and general audience (ie. demographics, etc.)…but even those can be out of your control. Let’s look at a simple marketing tool…the billboard. If you have a successful billboard that you pay $100/month for, that’s great. You’ve built your message, you know your audience and you’ve set your budget. However, what if after 6 months of this billboard, the billboard company restructures and your billboard now costs $1,000/month? What options do you have? Pay more or lose the billboard. That’s it.
What about online avenues? Paid advertising outlets don’t show the ‘formula’ to get to the top, right? They give hints and tips. Marketers take analytical information and help make good decisions based on that information, but there is not a roadmap to get you to be the top performer. What happens when what you’ve learned no longer works because the algorithm changes? You can’t argue that what was should be what should always be, but that happens regularly online. We can 100% guarantee that you will not be asked if the changes are approved by you before they are made.
Tomorrow is Promised to No One – The entire reason I wanted to write this post today was because of what happened this morning. My grandchildren will never believe the story of how Facebook was down for a day. October 4, 2021 – no facebook.com. What is so crazy is that I was managing some customer Facebook paid advertising campaigns and simply could not. I checked my wifi, turned off my computer, etc. No help. It took way too long for me to think, “Facebook must be down.” So, Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp are all down. As of now, for over 6 hours. What does that mean for all of us advertising on Facebook? It means you are losing that arm of your advertising today.
What’s that? You say that’s your only arm of advertising? You have had NO marketing today because your one channel of marketing was cut off? It’s hard to kill any birds with zero stones.
Luckily, we offer holistic marketing packages that include organic marketing (hard to kill natural growth), content creation, and multiple channels for paid advertising. Does it hurt that Facebook didn’t work today? Sure. Did it blind us or our customers from online searches? Nope.
So, I reiterate: the best marketing is ALL of the marketing. Not just because you want to meet people where they are and make it easy for them to find and love you, but because it makes sense to put yourself in control of your destiny, not allow one other entity (that sees you as a number) to control your online visibility.