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Is Social Media A Waste Of Time For Your Businesses?

There’s a nagging little voice, a devil on my shoulder, that tells me to scream obscenities at any “pro” marketer who recommends a small business work on their “social media profile”.

Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare… all that stuff.

It drives me crazy. And after working with hundreds of companies, of all different sizes, I’ve learned one universal truth about all business owners.

At the end of the day, the mom & pop shop, the radio store, the restaurant, none of those places care about how many social media followers they have… IF IT DOESN’T INCREASE THEIR REVENUE!

And that’s what most marketers seem to “forget” about this whole marketing thing.

The single purpose of marketing and advertising is to generate more profit.

It’s not a damn popularity contest.

Social media is NOT a commercial platform. It’s a BRANDING platform.

And unless you have $1,000,000+ in the bank, you’re wasting your time. It is FOOLISH to think you can complete on any level with brand advertisers that have million+ ad budgets and can afford $10,000+ TV spots.

So forget brand advertising. It’s not going to work. Any marketer that tells you they can dramatically, and quickly increase your profit by building you a Facebook following or twitter following is lying to you unless you have a HUGE budget.

So then, why does EVERYONE and their brother recommend social media marketing? Why do business owners jump on board like it’s the best thing since sliced bread?

Business owners jump on the social media bandwagon because it’s “popular” and business owners think they need it.

But new isn’t always better!

And here’s what grinds my gears… seasoned marketers KNOW this.
Professionals know that it takes quite a bit more than being someones friend on Facebook to get them to buy from you.

But guess what, It’s EASY, CHEAP and IMPRESSIVE, and business owners BELIEVE it works… and they’re willing to fork out big bucks because of it.

And the marketing companies are willing to take it… because it’s easy money.

And that’s unethical, and it’s wrong.

The mom & pop shop doesn’t need a Facebook fan page. The restaurant near the park… doesn’t need one either. Neither does the chiropractor, roofer or dentist. And when you’re asking huge sums of money without delivering the result your clients are expecting… you’re actually doing more damage than good. Because now they’ve spent their ad budget… and haven’t gotten any more sales.

Not cool.

Do you know what does work? Not this “brand marketing”, or social media profiles or twitter, Facebook any of that. You know what REALLY works.

Guerilla Marketing… Direct Marketing.

If you haven’t heard of direct marketing, in a nutshell it means using your marketing materials to get someone to respond to your advertising NOW, instead of later. Brand marketing = see brand may times, buy once. Direct Marketing = see advertisement once, buy many times. It’s a subtle distinction that will triple your sales… and it’s all I do now.

Here Are My 7 Cardinal Direct Marketing Rules That Every Business Needs To Follow To Make Money

#1 – Every ad must conform to direct response standards. What does that mean? It means every piece of advertising will have a headline, big emotional benefits and an immediate call to action. “Call now to book your appointment”, “Enter your e-mail address”, “Book a reservation”, “Buy Now!”… ANYTHING… any action that will get them closer to giving you money. You will STOP trying to brand your business. Every advertising dollar you spend should go directly towards getting you another customer, not making your business look pretty.

#2 – You MUST have a USP. Even if it’s just an “angle”. There are 100 pizza shops in town. What sets you apart? Do you have the best cheese, fastest delivery, freshest bread… heck even coolest boxes! It doesn’t matter what it is. You have to find something to differentiate yourself from everyone else. No more “me too’s”. You don’t want to be a commodity.

#3 – EVERY offer must have an upsell. The most profitable words in history are “Would you like fries with that?.” It instantly doubles your sales. It’s literally 1 simple question, you or your staff could ask any customer and instantly increase your profit without spending a DIME! And here’s the crazy part… no matter what you offer, no matter what the price, a large percentage of your customers will STILL buy. Always have something more expensive & something less expensive to sell.

#4 – You MUST collect customer and lead data. It is the most valuable asset your business will ever own and if you don’t have a list of your customers already, you’re throwing money away. The easiest money you will ever make is from a list of customers that have already spent money with you. Imagine this scenario for a second: You're a restaurant owner, you get your customers to leave their e-mail address to be added to a VIP customer list with discounts. The customer receives 10% off their bill in exchange. You send out an e-mail on a tuesday or wed (slow nights) to your VIP customers saying “come in tonight and get appetizers at half off with this coupon”. Suddenly your restaurant is full on one of the slowest nights of the week because you sent 1 email. And you can do that every week, as often as you like. Do not underestimate the power of this! It works in ANY business.

#5 – You MUST have a customer / lead follow up sequence that gets them familiar with your brand and encourages them to spend more money with you. This can be as simple as a monthly newsletter, or as complicated as a 2 week follow up course before prepping someone for a big expensive purchase. Either way, the more times you keep in touch with your prospect, the more likely they are to buy from you.

#6 – You MUST track every sale & every lead you get. If you don’t know where your profitable business is coming from, how do you know what to focus your advertising on? Tracking brings clarity and confidence in your decisions. No more guessing as to whether the newspaper advertising generated a profit, or if that radio spot really worked. From this point forward, you track everything you do.

#7 – You will go out and GET customers. Do NOT wait for customers to come to you. “Inbound marketing” / SEO / whatever you want to call it, is a passive activity. You do the work, and then wait for the results long after you’ve done the work. Don’t do that. You’re wasting your time. Instead, focus on activities that you can do that will generate business for you NOW, not in 30,60 or 90 days. This means you have to hustle. If that means you have to pay for advertising, so be it. But don’t sit around and expect magic to happen. If you want something, go get it.

… and I have one more

#8… Be accountable. This is your business, this is your ship. You steer it. If you hire a marketing pro and he’s giving you more excuses than results. Fire him. Consider your marketing pro a general in your military, and your advertising dollars are soldiers. Every solider you send out needs to come back with at least 1 hostage…. another solider (dollar). If you had a general in the military, and he kept sending his men out to battle, and they kept dying, how long do you think he would keep his job? Your marketing pro is no different. Always hold your experts accountable. Numbers don’t lie.

If you liked this post, and you’re tired of dealing with marketing reps that give you the runaround, waste your time and don’t deliver results… feel free to send me a message, and we can set up those “7 Cardinal Rules” for your business in the next couple of weeks.

Cheers & have a great day!
– Adam Nolan

  • Amen Adam. As an old school direct response marketer I couldn’t agree more. Social media is cool and can drive sales but it should be just the frosting on the marketing cake. What a small business really needs to make the maximum money in a sustainable way is a solid base with the things you listed.

  • This is excellent stuff Adam, and so true. Social media is the most overrated form of advertising for brick and mortar in history. Is it good to have it? yes. Can you live without it? YES. Online may be a different story though..

  • Great advice Adam, never was a fan of paying for FB likes (even thow I did) when all my clients want is just more sales – NOW!

  • Great article man. That’s a good set of rules. Looking forward to seeing what you have in the works.

  • Thanks Adam. Thats my guiding doctrine for the week. Sometimes it is quite easy to get lost in all the flashy things around that one can lose “the proven path”. Thanks for getting us back to what really matters; what should be our focus and core. You rock!

  • Adam, first of all I want to commend you on your post converting to where I could read it on my mobile phone! second, alright alright alright, somebody has finally stepped up to the plate and said it like it is, and that somebody is you. a great post and great content, thank you very much

  • I’m so glad this article caught my eye this morning – great start to the day, thank you Adam! As one commenter mentioned, FB likes and “the like” are frosting on the cake for the majority of small business owners. If your business is serving brick and mortar businesses, these are the principles to follow, hands down.



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    Adam Nolan

    Adam Nolan is a direct response marketing consultant from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. For nearly 20 years he's sold millions of dollars of products & services for clients all around the world, written a handful of books, and personally helped hundreds of people start or grow their businesses.

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