The cost of NOT marketing

NOTMarketing costs money. It requires time and energy. Not many entrepreneurs have time or money to spare. So many of them convince themselves that they really don’t need to market their businesses. The reasons are many:

  • “Advertising provides us really good ROI, no point in changing what works” But if it was really working you wouldn’t be reading this
  • “We spend about $60K in trade shows and industry publication and it works”. $60k invested in another activity might work better
  • “No time.”  You’re already spending time marketing, but you may not be doing the right stuff.
  • “Can’t afford it” - You can’t afford not to!

Well, it’s time to realize that by NOT marketing your business you are doing yourself in.  There are both direct and indirect costs of not marketing your business, and they will get you in the end.  There are the obvious sales lost to your competition.  They were found on the first page of a Google search, you weren’t.  Guess who is going to get a call?  One of their exisitng clients forwarded an invitation to a webcast they received from, guess who?  Not you.

The bummer for you is that  you didn’t know you lost these sales because you didn’t even know about the opportunity.  If this continues (not knowing about business opportunities) there will be a steady decline in the growth of your sales, and therefore the growth of your business.  The problem is that both of things, while a direct results of not marketing your business, are also very hard to quantify.  You can track sales that were lost if you were in the running, had deliver a proposal, or quoted a price.  If you didn’t – how do you know that there was a missed opportunity?  By not marketing – you are keeping yourself and yor business out of the running altogether.

The more indirect cost of not marketing is the loss of leverage.  For anyone in “professional services” (consultants, coaches, lawyers, accountants, dentists, etc.) if you’re not marketing to your existing clients, you are losing two valuable assets.  First, these clients are easy opportunities foryour competition tomarket to.  They don’t hear from you but they get all kinds of stuff from the other guys and think “why not check them out?”  Second, your existing clients are the best source of free marketing you could possibly want.  Who better to sing your praises to their friends & colleague that a satisfied customer who can share something about you – a white paper, article or a link to your blog.  It costs a lot more to market to a new client than to maintain a relationship with an existing one.

Now, let’s talk about how much it really costs.  Here are a couple of scenarios for you to consider:


  • Website – using WordPress or a similar platform, you can setup a website or blog for free.  There are thousands of templates and widgets that help you customize the look and add tons of functionality without knowing any programming at all.  The possibilities are endless and the HELP and Support forums are great!
  • Video introduction – using the web cam in your computer you can create a 20 second introduction of yourself and your business.  Post it to your website and upload it to YouTube.
  • Email campaign – using your existing email account, send an email to all of your business contacts pointing them to your new website.
  • Write an article using material you already have and post it to (the top article distribution network)
  • Write a blog entry each week – it doesn’t have to be long, but it has to be valuable, or funny or worth passing along to a friend (bonus points if it is all three!)

Get Some Help

  • Website – you can find a great web designer/developer for about $65 per hour.  With a simple site of about 5 pages it should take them about 10 hours to get the site up and running ($650)
  • Video introduction – there are online services that will create a video for you using your material, still photos, etc.  Purchasing the video is about $80 or you can have them host it for $19 per month. ($80)
  • Email campaign – an email marketing platform will make creating and delivering email campaigns, your newsletter or other communications so much easier.  At the beginning go for one with a flat fee or one that allows you to pay-as-you-go ($200/month)
  • Total = $930 – so now the idea that you can’t afford it is also off the table.

With a little work and some creative ideas there is no excuse for not marketing your business.

Is it worth it? The ROI of Social Media

MarketingSherpa - May 2010 (

The age old question – Is it worth it?  This question gets asked of all marketing program, each quarter, each year.  All companies do it – an annual budget plan.   Everyone wants to know which activities have earned a positive return on their investment (ROI).  Of course they do – you don’t want to continue throwing money into something that isn’t delivering results.

Social media is one of the newer additions to the marketing arsenal.  And as such, the jury is still out on the overal ROI of social media activities.  However, in a recent study conducted by MarketingSherpa (May 2010) perceptions of social media are trending positively when it comes to budget allocation.

Almost half of the respondents (mostly mid-large sized companies) viewed social media as a promising tactic and are planning to moderately increase budget allocation – good news!   A full 7% can measure a positive ROI resulting in a significant increase in spending – great news!  So when all is said and done, less than 1/3 are still questioning the value of social media – even better news for those of you looking for budget.

Normally, when there is a new technology or new approach to marketing, it takes the the money folks a long time to warm to the idea of actually spending money on something they believe is “unproven”.  However in these economic times, when a little money spent on social media can go a long way, it appears that those same money folks have finally come to grips with the fact that this stuff does work. Especially now that we have some measurable results to report.

Like other marketing activities, social media will only be effective and deliver the required results, when part of an overall strategy.  As I have often written in this blog, all good marketing starts with understanding your objectives.  What do you want to accomplish with social media?  What role does it play in your marketing mix?  How will you measure that success?  If you don’t have a target to shoot for – how do you know if you’ve hit the bulls-eye.

The next, and probably most important thing to understand, when investing in social media is your audience.  What type of social media do they use?  Where to they hang out? Who do they read?  Who do they go to for recommendations? Armed with this information you can develop an effective social media strategy and target the appropriate platforms.  You don’t want to put all your focus on LinkedIn, if you audience is really into FaceBook.

Now you are set up for success. You know what you want to accomplish, who you are targeting and which platforms are a god strategic fit.  Now it’s time to engage and get going.  social media is, well, inherently social.  A good presence is defined (according to me) as active, timely and authentic.  I can see that real people are behind the presence of the company – there is a name to go with the brand.  I see posts, updates and information on a regular basis and it is relevant to what is going on in the industry, my business, and the world. Plus, what is coming through has a voice, tone and intention that “feels” real (not like the PR agency is writing all the Tweets, or posting on the FanPage).

With you newly found social media busget, make sure to take sometime and think about what you want to accomplish, and how you’re going to measure it so that come next years busdget cycle you are armed with an ROI that will earn you a budget increase – probably the best news of all.