While waiting for a colleague to join me for lunch the other day at a nice Italian restaurant, I chatted with the proprietor about how his business had fared during the recession.
“Imagine that your salary was cut in half,” he lamented. “We used to have lines out the door at lunch time. Now we have empty tables. Business is bad.”
This being the San Francisco Bay Area, hotbed of technology and home to arguably the top three social media sites for small business owners (LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter), I asked him what any self-respecting marketer would ask a restaurateur whose business is down 50%: “Have you considered tweeting about your daily lunch specials to people who work and live nearby?”
His response nearly blasted the glass out of the windows, while a few heads turned to see what the commotion was about.
“I hate all that technology stuff,” he barked at me. “We change our menu every day. If people want to know what’s on it, they can go to our Website.”
Before you rush to judgment that this restaurant owner needs to see a shrink (he’s most likely letting fears about technology rule how not to be more visible to a crowd that would welcome hearing from him) — consider that there’s a little bit of him in most of us, even though we hate to admit it.
Overnight, it seems, our marketing efforts revolve around technology. The fundamentals haven’t changed – we need to demonstrate our value and how we make people’s lives better as much if not more than before.
But whereas in the past we talked to people on the phone, sent flyers and brochures in the mail, wrote personal letters on letterhead (which we signed with blue ink), got mentioned in the newspapers and gave presentations to groups hungry for our message, today we can do all this without getting out of our chairs. We’re in control: we can push our message out through podcasts, blogs, vlogs, video, tweets, discussion groups, online networks, Website, ezines, teleseminars, Webinars – the list is endless, mindboggling and growing.
To prevent your brain from spinning out of control from the sheer weight of possibilities, I suggest breaking it all down into just two marketing categories: those activities that’ll bring you visibility over the long term, and activities designed to bring in business fast. One activity from each category is all you need to get seriously in the game.
Using this simple rule, the restaurant owner could start with an ezine for long-term visibility, and send out daily mid-morning tweets to bring the crowds lining up for his sumptuous lunch dishes.
What will your two activities be?
Roberta Guise works with experts, small business owners and professionals who want to be extraordinarily visible and sharpen their marketing edge. A small business marketing consultant and speaker, she is the founder of San Francisco-based Guise Marketing & PR. If you'd like to know how to apply these concepts to your situation, call for a free 1/2 hour consultation. 415-979-0611. www.guisemarketing.com