Part 3: Are These 4 Roadblocks Stunting Your Growth?
As industrial distributors seek to expand their reach and effectiveness online, the subject of value marketing needs to be addressed. In this three part series, Curtis Alexander takes readers through the ins-and-outs of value marketing - why you should consider using it, how to develop your personalized strategy, and how to implement it, including mistakes to avoid. View part one here. View part two here.
Over the last year a friend of mine has lost just over 40 pounds. Its weight she’s been trying to lose for a long time but couldn’t.
I asked her what she did differently and, more importantly, what allowed her to keep it off. “I simply stopped making excuses and I learned to get around the obstacles that always derailed me before.”
Value marketing, like losing weight, can bring a lot of benefits to your business. But, like my friend, it’s easy to let roadblocks get in the way implementation.
Some of these are legitimate. Others are self-imposed. But they can - and have - been overcome.
(1) "We Don't Have the Time"
In part 1 we talked about some of the things value marketing can do for your business: build stronger relationships and increasing sales to existing customers, bringing more qualified leads into your sales funnel, positioning yourself dominantly in your vertical and experiencing 20%, 30% or more increases in sales.
If these are the sorts of things you want for your business then you have one of two options when it comes to not having enough time.
(A) Find the time - there’s usually five to ten hours a week that you can trim for a staff member. And be brutal - are all the meetings really necessary, could some of that current project be shuffled somewhere else.
(B) Hire outside help - this may sound self-serving but using outside resources may be your best bet if you can’t implement in-house. Here are some quick tips on what to look for:
- They should charge by the project (and ultimate value) - never by the hour
- They should have past work they can show you
- If they start talking about one certain tactic (i.e., search engine optimization) or how they can get you results in one weeks time run for the hills. Reaping the benefits of value marketing takes time, patience and persistence.
(2) "People Won’t Read/Watch/Listen to This"
Early in my career I was sitting around at a business conference. At the end of the table three guys were lamenting how they couldn’t get any traffic to their websites. I told them about a specific strategy that had worked for one of my websites. All heads at the table turned towards me and started asking questions.
Now, before that conversation I thought absolutely nothing of that knowledge. It seemed trivial and something that wouldn't really be of interest to anyone. Secondly, I figured everyone already knew that.
I can promise you that inside your company are a lot of solutions to problems out there. You may not think that, but I've seen it time and time again. Stop thinking through your own prism and start viewing the world through the prism of your customers.
Also, HOW you couch your content can have a LOT to do with how engaging it is for your audience. An example would be headlines.
One of the more successful white papers was originally titled something like "The New X Anti-Virus Software". Nothing engaging about that and the market didn't respond to it. The title of the white paper was changed to "7 Things Hackers Know That You Don't". Same content but much more engaging and many more downloads because it talked about the problem (and the solution). That's engaging for the right person.
(3) "Are We There Yet?!"
I've been transparent about the fact that VM is not an overnight process. You're not going to write one article for a trade magazine and see an influx of new business.
In general I tell clients to give it sixty to ninety days of consistent effort to start seeing significant results. If you’re at that point and are seeing nothing - it’s likely you’re doing something wrong or missed an earlier step.
(4) "We Need to Tweak it Some More"
Perfection kills profits and businesses. This has been a tough one for me to swallow over the years but I’ve found the pursuit of perfection often leads to inaction. And I’ll take imperfect action over perfect inaction any day.
You’ll have typo’s in your white paper. Your video won’t have perfect sound. You may not word an article perfectly. In the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter. As a general VM rule: when you’re 80% there let it go.
At This Point the Choice Is Yours
Your clients and customers still buy based off emotion and justify with logic. So the basic buying process hasn’t changed. But you have a lot more noise to deal with - especially with the internet. The solution isn’t to scream louder - but to say something worth listening to. That’s how you grow.
And you can get there with value marketing.
Curtis M. Alexander is a Business Growth Strategist, author and recognized expert in helping industrial and manufacturing companies leverage the internet to increase profits and strengthen market position You can learn more about how Curtis can benefit your business at www.curtismalexander.com