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Ali Brown: Marketing Mistakes

If you have any kind of online business presence, you’re engaged in marketing. But are you wasting an invaluable opportunity? Ali Brown, entrepreneur and small-business mentor, cautions against the following major marketing flubs.

Mistake: Going for a sale like a one-night stand! Instead of scaring clients away, lure them in and build trust. Remember, approximately 99 percent of your web visitors will not buy during their first visit to your website, so do anything you can to get them on your [mailing] list. Then you have permission to contact them again and again, building a relationship and giving them a sense of trust to buy from you.”

Mistake: Offering a plain old newsletter. This just doesn’t get people excited to give you their email addresses anymore. People are too busy and more protective of their emails, so offer something irresistible like a VIP coupon or helpful tips or a free video series related to your topic. I use a free CD offer at my site that I encourage my students to model.”

Mistake: Thinking that sending out one message about a product or program will sell it. Remember how inundated people are with information these days, and remember the ‘seven times’ rule: Your prospects will likely have to see your message seven times before they even pay attention, let alone respond.”

Mistake: Thinking social media will be your end all. Social media is global, it builds relationships and it’s free. The bad news is it’s free; so everyone is online, and there’s a lot of noise. You have to be strategic to break through the mess and reach the people you really want to reach. This can be done but works best hand-in-hand with other marketing methods so all your bases are covered.”

Mistake: Thinking online marketing will be all you need. I see many solo-professionals and entrepreneurs who seem relieved to hide behind a computer all day instead of getting out there and selling themselves. You should be doing both online and offline marketing on a regular basis. A personal connection always trumps an online connection, so keep that in mind, especially when you are selling yourself or your personal services.”

Top Three

We asked Ali Brown, “If you could only do three things a day to market your company, what would they be?” Here’s what she shared:

Focus on the 80/20 rule—the 20 percent that generates the 80 percent. That is, look at which clients, customers, products and programs generate most of my revenue, and focus on marketing those. Once I started doing this, it streamlined my business, and I made more money, more simply, with less stress.”

“Look at where I can reach my target market in large numbers. For example, let’s say you sell a special shampoo for a certain breed of dog. So where are those dog owners—online and offline? What websites are they visiting? Are they members of certain groups? What organizations do they belong to? What events are they attending? What magazines do they read? This is your biggest shortcut to dramatically increasing your clients and customers.”

Delegate more of my marketing tasks to my team so I can focus on building relationships with centers of influence, or COIs, for my target market. For example, if you are an accountant, you may get many referrals from lawyers, so you should be developing those relationships on a regular basis.”

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