Most companies market the way they were taught to market by the other companies in their industry. So, if you own a car dealership, you market with billboards and TV commercials. If you’re a web based business, you market with social media and pay per click. And so on.
Sometimes these marketing methods work for these industries, and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they work very well, and sometimes they work just barely enough to justify them. But none of that matters to most business owners. They just look at other companies and/or gurus within their own isolated industry and copy them.
One of the most valuable lessons I learned from Jay Abraham so many years ago was that this is a terrible idea. Instead, you should look at all the ways to market something (and there are well over 20 different ways to market a product or service) and use all the techniques that may work for you, even if your industry never uses them.
I did this myself. Back when I started my first business, I was marketing my services as a local computer consultant. Everyone else in my industry used word of mouth, referrals, advertising in local publicans, and the big dogs used radio adverting.
I did some of that stuff too, but my big focus was direct mail. I sent out thousands of carefully crafted sales letters to companies I thought would make good computer consulting clients. No one else in my entire industry within my city was doing this. When I brought this up to other computer consultants, they laughed at me, saying, “Ha! Junk mail? No one reads that crap. They just throw it away. I would throw it away. You’re just going to waste all of your money.”
If you’ve read my book, you know what happened. While most of these guys went out of business, I started my little business from scratch and hit a six-figure income in less than 3.5 years, and that was me doing a lot of things wrong. A big reason for this income was the massive amount of business I was getting with direct mail. Using marketing techniques that my industry never used worked extremely well.
In the many years since then, I’ve successfully used direct mail to sell all kinds of stuff, including other types of consulting, seminars, and information.
As another example, a friend of mine made a decent amount of money with his online business selling through the radio. He set up a website selling various types of niched ebooks, then purchased radio ads in various cities that simply pushed the website. Granted, it cost him a lot of money (radio advertising is expensive), but it worked, and he made a big profit. He had an online business that never used any social media, SEO, or pay per click adds. It was all radio.
When doing your marketing plan for your business (which is the most important part of your business), you need to temporarily ignore how your competitors or gurus market their businesses, and instead focus on what other industries do. Pull some of their ideas that work well, and see if they’ll work well for you. They probably will.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do anything your competitors do. In my computer consulting business, I indeed used referrals, word of mouth, and later, radio advertising… but I always kept my direct mail going too.
Most business owners have a strange form of tunnel vision where they can only see how things are managed from within their own industry. The business world is much wider than that, and there are huge opportunities for you outside of your industry, as long as you pay attention to them, and implement them.
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Thanks for another powerful article, Caleb.
I’m also a big fan of Jay Abraham stuff.
As you already know, my niche is personal development, which is a pretty crowded niche already, a “red ocean” so to speak. Every channel I look at …has been already invaded by the self-help gurus.
I’m always looking for new ways to distinguish myself from the crowd, including my USP (it’s science-backed personal development, instead of spiritual law-of-attraction quantum mystic self-help – mine is oriented to more skeptical, tech-minded people).
Maybe I could use this idea of your, taking notice on how other industries appeal to engineers, CS people and so on, so I could market in ways akin to technical industries and products (like, say, computer security products, software and so on).
I will try and have a look at this and report back, thanks for the awesome idea!
(and I’m open to more ideas in case anyone reading this has any, thanks!)
Really enjoyed this information. Delivered direct mail flyers a month ago and had fairly good responses by clients (2% response rate). Just starting my business, but it seems like a great way to reach people. Especially those who aren’t necessarily looking for you or even your services.
The more you niche…
– The easier it is to find prospects.
– The easier it is for prospects to become customers.
– The higher customer retention you’ll have.
– The more referral business you’ll get.
– The higher prices you can charge.
– The less hard you have to work to achieve the same level of income.
Can you point us to somwehere that lists those “over 20 ways to market something”?
The least expensive source is the book Guerilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson.
Which books/authors would you recommend that have helped you craft sales letters Caleb?
Anything written (or spoken) by Dan Kennedy, Jay Abraham, Bob Bly, or Gary Halbert, among many others.
Dude… thank you. This is awesome.
Did you get referrals passively (they just referred new clients to you on their own) or did you actively ask your clients for referrals?
If you did ask for referrals, is there a way of doing this without coming across as pushy?
A lot of both.
Sure. “Hey, by the way, do you have any friends who are also having any computer problems? I’m happy to help them too.”