In my travels, I meet a lot of small business owners that invest very little into marketing. It’s not that they’re against marketing necessarily – it’s that the core of their business uses some other approach, such as word-of-mouth.
Recently I had this conversation with a mortgage broker. His business is growing, and he’s been able to help it grow by genuinely offering some of the lowest interest rates and best service. While many organizations claim that that’s what they provide, in his case, his claim is genuine, and so he’s managed to get an average of 2 recommendations to new clients for every client he helped.
That’s incredible. It’s helped him triple his revenue every year and hire more and more staff to assist in the process, all without losing the core of his business. It also meant that he has never “needed” any other form of marketing. His business has never struggled to find new clients at a higher rate.
But something I think he’s realizing – and something that I believe the coronavirus pandemic may be helping him see – is that things can change fast. While it’s true that he hasn’t needed anything more than word-of-mouth marketing in the past, what happens if that slows down? Where will he find clients if he is competing with a smaller online pool? What happens if someone else comes around with similar level of service and starts taking away from his potential growth?
Marketing When You Can Afford It
The thing about online marketing is that, despite what most companies will tell you, it can be slow. When I worked with a local dentist to get them page 1 of Google for most of their keywords, it took an entire year before they started seeing the level of growth they have now.
That’s because for so many companies, you’re starting from scratch:
- New Website
- No Content
- No Backlinks
- No Social Media Presence
These things do not grow overnight. New websites frequently have a harder time competing with more established sites. Content doesn’t write itself overnight. You can’t cheat your way into natural backlinks.
These are all things that take time, and even if you get it all done fast, Google itself doesn’t like to reward websites that grow too rapidly. Multiple times in the past, I’ve seen websites drop in rankings for as long as two months before exploding to the top of search engines, especially when a dormant website has finally received some marketing work.
And that’s why, if you can afford it, it helps to get a head start. Because you never know when you might need online marketing, and if you haven’t done anything yet then you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage when you finally decide you need it.
Even if your budget is only a few hundred a month, or all you do is 1 new page and 1 blog post a month, it helps to do SOMETHING. Lay the groundwork so that if you do decide you want to engage in marketing in the future, you have everything in place to reduce the time it will take you to succeed. Because you may be faced with something like this – a pandemic, or a rapid change in the economy – and if customers start to dry up via your other methods, you’ll already have something in place to continue to help you grow in the future.