Small Business Marketing Tall Tale #3 – You’ve Got to Get Your Name Out There

Get your name out there. Plaster it everywhere. Slap it on the side of a bus. Paint it on a park bench. Print some matchbook covers. Cover your car in it. Shout it from the highest mountain top. Do what ever you have to, but get it out in front of as many people as possible.

WRONG…WRONG…WRONG…WRONG…WRONG!

Market yourself this way and you’ll be spending countless hours on your efforts. You’ll be wasting precious time and energy on avenues that never bear fruit and will be speaking to people who aren’t listening and probably even annoying the crap out of them.

Ultimately, you will burn yourself out in an exhaustive effort that yields absolutely zero.

Yep, I said it…Zero, Zip, Nada, Nothing. If you are one of the many who buys into this “get your name out there” philosophy, you are most likely already sitting on a curb somewhere huffing and puffing with exhaustion.

You are feeling like a candle burning wicks on both ends and just want to throw in the towel on this marketing stuff. But you can’t. It’s your business’ livelihood at stake. What other option do you have?

An Excuse for Marketing that Doesn’t Work

“Get your name out there” is an old fable made up by marketing hacks who needed an excuse for advertising that doesn’t work.

You’ve probably heard, or even said yourself, when someone asked:

“How did that ad work?”

“Well, it was OK. We got a few calls. Most importantly, though, we got our name out there.”

Right. Got your name out there to whom? What does that mean anyway? You paid for an ad or for a bus stop bench (god forbid) and you got no calls.

If you get any solace by believing you got some mysterious value out of that, you’re kidding yourself.

Why not just spray paint your name on the sidewalk? It would probably work better and get more attention.

The Poor Get Poorer

Unfortunately marketing junk like this usually afflicts the people who can most scarcely afford it. Small businesses who don’t think they can afford help with their marketing or think all they can afford is the most basic “get your name out there” techniques are the usual victims.

The worst part is some businesses bet their existence on this myth. They’re desperate. Business isn’t what it needs to be, so they take a long shot and bet it all on the bus bench. Ouch.

That’s like realizing your personal finances aren’t in good shape and cashing your pay check for a six pack and 163 lottery tickets.

It Gets Worse

As if it wasn’t bad enough, these same businesses
who buy junk ads and pray they work use the same logic they used to buy the ad to design the ad.

Well, the purpose of this ad is to “get our name out there.” So, let’s start with our name. Then we’ll say we’re bonded and insured, have great service and the lowest prices.

Does that sound familiar? Amazing, you must have some of the same bad advertisers in your town as we do in ours. What a small world!

Sometimes, these companies will hire a graphic designer to make the ad that says nothing of value look pretty so that while nobody is paying attention to it they can feel comfortable knowing they’re “getting their name out there” – in style. Right on.

Sadly, it doesn’t work this way. It’s not even close.

Advertising is not a joke and it’s not a game. It’s about drawing and wrenching emotions out of people and tying your message to existing anchors they have in their subconscious mind. It’s about causing them to take action they can hardly resist.

This is not accomplished by “getting your name out there.” It’s not accomplished by graphic designers. It doesn’t happen on park benches or car magnets.

There Is One Better Option

Now you know that you cannot spend this much time creating and managing weak marketing messages and delivering them to the far reaches of the planet. You have a business to take care of – or have you forgotten?

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the perceived glamour of the marketing and advertising process, but it’s something you have to avoid at all costs.

Your time is the single most precious asset your company has and its misuse is the reason why more businesses go under faster than the R.M.S. Lusitania.

So, if not “get your name out there,” what do you do? Get it out in front of the right people, the right way, many, many times.

The Golden Snitch of this grueling game is caught by doing several things: planning, targeting, testing and measuring – very frequently. It’s a full time job.

Find that segment that is looking for, nay, needs that sensational offering you have. Find them. Learn about them. Live like them. Know them and love them. Then let it loose. Measure. Do it again. Measure. Refine. Do it again. Measure. Never stop.

Ultimately, if done correctly, your potential and existing customers will gravitate toward you, orbiting like our planet orbits the sun.

Creating a game plan…you’ve heard the coaches say it umpteen times. They are on to something. They have a playbook and they stick to it. Even if times get tough they still go to the trusty playbook.

They’re constantly trying new plays and testing new strategies and keeping a book of the best options.

You need a playbook; you need to know which players to put on the field for each play and you need a coach, unless you have an extra 40 hours per week to put into the game.

Doing anything else is just “spraying and praying.” It’s like buying beer and lottery tickets.

Tall Tale Four will show you how you’re wasting tons of dough and losing revenue by trying to under-cut your competition over a sliver of market share.

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