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Go back to basics with your marketing programs

Sign that says 'Tasting room' to symbolise marketing sampling

The last decade has seen a huge change in the way we search for and evaluate products and services – as businesspeople and consumers. No longer is marketing about the size of your Yellow Pages ad. It’s whether you appear on that sacred first page of Google.

It’s so easy to become obsessed with the exciting – and still relatively unknown – world of online marketing. And with its continually changing search ‘algorithm’ (whatever the hell that is), Google doesn’t make it easy for us.

Be wary of any Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) specialist that guarantees anything when it comes to your Google ranking.

Since 2006, I’ve been running writing skills workshops with another writing consultancy. And up until recently, we had been receiving at least one enquiry a day via Google. We did no proactive marketing other than SEO.

But we didn’t have to. Qualified leads were being handed to us on a silver platter.

“Cheers Google. See you again tomorrow!”

That’s all changed now. These days, we’d be happy with even one enquiry a month. We don’t know why it’s changed. Or how to fix it.

And here lies the danger. Google had been working so well for us that we never contemplated other new business marketing activities.

Until that is, we were forced to.

We know our training program is a quality one. (The feedback, repeat business and word-of-mouth referrals tell us so.) And we know there is a real need out there for more effective writing in business.

So how do we ensure the right people are aware of, and interested in, our offering?

The answer? After some brainstorming, we decided to try one of the oldest marketing practices of all time…

Sampling.

We each invited our targeted business contacts to a one-hour luncheon for a ‘taste’ of our one-day workshop.

And it worked a treat.

We got attendees. We got exposure. And most importantly, we got bookings.

It almost felt too easy. All these red hot prospects were literally sitting around – eager to know more.

So now we plan to run a luncheon (fittingly called ‘A Taste of Business Writing’) every quarter. And although we may not achieve the same success each time, sampling our product provides our prospects with a stronger, more personal connection. Something Google could never do.

Are you too distracted by Google to consider alternative marketing initiatives for your business?

Don’t wait for your leads to dry up before testing other more reliable and controlled forms of marketing.