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As much as it pains me as a professional marketer, I have to agree with that statement when many small businesses tell me that.  For them, they are so consumed with operations that they have only be able to do random, sporadic and amateurish marketing.  No wonder they aren’t getting much from those efforts! However, everyone knows instinctively that marketing is needed to help bring awareness to your business and thereafter, it helps you turn leads into sales.  This is most definitely easier said than done. Most business owners are totally confused and frustrated trying to figure out how and what to do.  Do you try advertising, tweeting, blogging, sending an enewsletter, direct mail, or do you just pick up the phone and call prospects?  Do you use an existing database or buy a new one?  I bet you’re stressed about your website and its search engine optimization (SEO) feeling that you should do more.  You probably wish you never heard about analytics and the thought of going to another marketing seminar and hearing about all the things you “should” be doing is nauseating.

I’m with you.  I am a small business owner too and I wouldn’t be writing this article if I had a dime for every person who told me I “should” be doing something else to market my services- and I’m a marketer!  Heck, my dentist tells me to floss more and I don’t listen to him either.  But my business and my client’s businesses are very successful for one reason: we do strategic marketing.  In a nutshell, we spend some limited, but invaluable time really thinking, finding out and knowing our target markets and our customers – who they are, why they buy things like we sell, and how they buy them.  Then we pick only a handful of marketing tactics to do and we do them well.  Typically we pick a lead awareness program (e.g. advertising, direct mail, etc.) that let’s potential prospects know about you and your product or services.  Then we carefully pick one or two lead nurturing programs (e.g. enewsletters, telemarketing, etc.) so we can bring those new leads through the buying cycle and quickly close them into sales. By putting our strategic eggs into intelligent, targeted baskets, we focus on making the most of that to see the best possible ROI from that program.  As busy business owners, being strategic allows us to focus and make sure we aren’t spread too thin or just doing marketing things that get it off the checklist but don’t bring in the revenue. It seems to make obvious sense given a little bit of planning and discipline.  You pick your target market(s) and determine why your product/service is something they just can’t live without.

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So, why is this so hard for business owners to do?  They are afraid of missing a potential customer – someone they didn’t expect would buy and isn’t in the target segment.  However, if you try to be something to everyone, you know you’ll most likely be no one to everyone.  Be the best in your area and target the people who will care – amazing things can happen.  They will come and buy your products or services and then they will tell others like them.  They’ll even share with you where you should put your marketing efforts and sometimes help you do that.  Really!  But you need to take that risk and claim your space in the always crowded, competitive market where your prospects’ money is being perpetually courted by all kinds of other needs and temptations.  So finding the people who really need and understand your value to them is quintessential before you spend a single minute or dollar doing marketing tactics.  Your tweets will be more relevant to THOSE people, your emails will more likely be read.   And most importantly, you can build relationships that help sell your offerings and polish them and future ones going forward.  This helps you sell more and waste less.  Now that is great marketing!

Alyssa Dver is CEO for Mint Green Marketing as well as the author of “No Time Marketing”.  Through her books, presentations and consulting, she helps organizations achieve better sales results through smarter marketing.  Contact her at alyssadver@MintGreenMarketing.com, 508-881-5664 or @NoTimeMarketing
**Published with permission from Alyssa Dver**

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