When I first meet new prospects and clients, one thing I always mention is the speed of results they can expect. The minimum length of time from actually starting the marketing (as opposed to preparing it) to seeing a return is around 3-4 months. I have, occasionally, done it in as little as 6 weeks in certain industries but I always say 3 months as I would rather under-promise and over-deliver rather than the other way round.
The reason it takes so long is that you need to:
- Find and build an audience for your marketing channels.
- Broadcast your message and content through these channels.
- Build enough confidence in the prospects you are broadcasting to to get them to take action.
All of these steps take time. Let’s break this down.
1. You have to choose the right channels for your client. Social media takes time to build a following. SEO needs time to generate traffic- if you try to get to the top of Google too rapidly then your site is likely to get black-listed.
You can pay to skip this step with Pay Per Click but research shows they only get about 5% of the traffic (number 1 organic gets about 45%).
A network of contacts takes a significant amount of time to build but it can pay huge dividends in the long term. A seminar or public talk takes time to fill as well as time to prepare. An e-mail database of people who have opted in for your newsletter takes time to build.
You can skip this step by being more direct e.g. buy lists and do telemarketing, direct mail, e-mail campaigns etc but then it takes time to warm these leads up. Alternatively, you can go straight for an already existing audience through advertising but this is expensive and a one-off ad seldom works. You need to do 3-4 in a row to get a result which leads us onto:
2. You need to broadcast your messages and content frequently to your audience.
You can’t just do it once and forget it in the hope that this will produce business. It takes time to make an impact and get results.
As an example, I made the same offer in my BNI 60-second speech for 6 weeks before someone who had attended all of these meetings realised what I was offering. This is not unusual!
You need to make plan of when and how you are going to broadcast your messages, content and offers as you need to do it on a regular and consistent basis.
3. Create confidence in your prospect
The higher the cost and commitment, the longer this step is going to be. If you’ve spent time on (1) then this will be quicker. For example, people have higher confidence in people they know through networking.
If you’ve gone straight to number (2) then content can help considerably as can testimonials and case studies. However you can’t put these out all at once, you need to feed them through.
If you offer a simple, low entry product such as flowers, print etc. then this is usually a very short step. If you offer something more complex and costly such as IT, accountancy, business consultancy etc. then this is going to take considerably longer.
This doesn’t mean you won’t see any result from your marketing at all for 3 months. It just takes time to produce a reasonable return. Equally, it doesn’t mean you should live in hope for 3 months. Hopefully, you will have done your research so you know that it will produce the results you want. Remember no matter how good your promotion if you aren’t offering the right product or service to the right market at the right price then it isn’t going to be successful!
The takeaway from this post is that the marketing you do today will produce results in the next few months. If you’re busy at the moment it is probably because you were actively marketing a few months ago. And if you’re wondering were all the business went, then this might be your answer.