Why Marketing Your Small Business is Like Getting a Manicureby Emma Siemasko Published in Off the Ground on
Are you wondering if that headline is for real?
Well, it is.
We’ve spent the last week detailing the craziest, whackiest, and most unusual marketing stunts, so now it’s time to get down and dirty with something that has seemingly nothing to do with growing your small biz– getting a manicure.
Whether you need to primp your nails or not, you’ll soon be able to see how getting ’em filed is actually a lot like a new advertising campaign or a sound social media strategy.
Don’t believe me? Here’s why marketing your small business is just like getting a manicure.
Success Comes from Consistency
Sure, you can get a manicure and go on your merry way, but if you really want to have healthy nails, you have to consistently take care of your cuticles.
That’s the key– consistency. Everyone knows (especially Google searchers) that consistency is important in all areas of life:
Eric Holtzclaw details 5 rules on the power of consistency in business. According to him, consistency (1) allows for measurement, (2) creates accountability, (3) establishes your reputation, (4) makes you relevant, and (5) maintains your message.
Basically, being consistent not only helps you (in measurement and accountability) but establishes trust and credibility (making you reputable and relevant).
A lack of consistency can even affect your web traffic. Just take it from Neil Patel:
“I never realized consistency was important until it affected my traffic…in a negative way. Sometimes, I used to write a blog each week, while other times I would write five blog posts a week. It wasn’t until June 2009 that I realized that not being consistent can hurt your traffic.
Back in May 2009, I used to blog five times a month, and my traffic stats were 45,237 visitors a month.
When I slowed down on my blogging, my traffic tanked to 35,786 visitors a month.
I had to blog consistently for three months to get back to my May traffic numbers. This just goes to show that you need to blog on a consistent basis, or else your traffic won’t grow on a regular basis.”
How to make consistency happen in your marketing:
- Create an editorial guide for your website and print materials so that your products are always written about in the same, exact way.
- Offer the same prices wherever you are. The products and services you sell online should cost the same in the store.
- Develop processes so things run smoothly, resulting in consistent results. Set up calendar alerts, get scheduling tools, try out some project management programs (like Trello and Basecamp) and refine, refine, refine.
The Confidence Process
A lot of people get manicures because it makes them feel good. When you market your small business right, you get that same feeling of elation. Both experiences result in a boatload of confidence.
Unfortunately, the confidence to sell and grow your biz is harder to get than the confidence that comes right after a manicure, but it’s possible to obtain it.
Psychologist Albert Bandura has a process for developing confidence:
- Mastery Experiences – you must have success in a previous endeavor.
- Vicarious Learning – you must see others doing what you think is impossible and take on a “if they can do it, so can I’ attitude.”
- Modeling Behavior – you must be able and willing to find experts and mimic what they do.
- Social Persuasion – you must get positive reinforcement from friends and peers you admire and trust.
How to apply Bandura’s confidence principle to your marketing:
Think of a marketing area you want to improve on (like A/B testing or blogging). and apply the rules.
- Try it out. Create a simple test or write a 300-word post, anything to give yourself the experience.
- Find a blogger, local expert, or professional friend who is doing what you want to do. Read their stuff or pick their brains.
- Model what the expert does (whether it’s in strategy, process, or budget) and apply it to your own business.
- Share the experience with friends, family, and other supporters. You can’t be sure they’ll give you positive reinforcement, but you’ll put yourself in a position to get it.
If You’re Not Patient, You Can Seriously Mess it Up
Most people who’ve had their nails painted can tell you one time they’ve screwed things up. They’ve bumped into something before their nails were dry, ruining their manicure.
It’s the same with marketing. If you’re not patient, you can seriously mess things up.The appeal of instant results is obvious, but longterm results won’t reveal themselves today, tomorrow, or next week.
Mike Morris, our Vice President of Customer Acquisition & Retention, recently wrote about how to make sure your A/B tests actually show correct results.
One of the most important parts of running A/B tests is waiting long enough to get the traffic that would make something statistically significant. It can be hard to wait, especially when you don’t get much traffic, but if you don’t wait, you could wind up doing something that will make business worse.
How to limit your mess-ups:
- Test EVERYTHING. Entrepreneurs have made huge mistakes by adopting a “go big or go home” attitude instead of testing something out.
- Read this blog post about common marketing mistakes.
- Be patient. Wait it out. Assess the risks. Don’t expect instant results.
You Do it Your Way
When you get a manicure, there are hundreds of nail colors to choose from. The best part? You get to pick which one is right for you.
And there are a million ways to get the word out about your business. You can pick which way complements you and your goals.
Whether you decide to undertake a massive PR stunt, dedicate all your energy to a content marketing strategy, or sink yourself into networking, the choice is yours.
How to decide what you should do for your business:
- Analyze your business carefully and think about your audience: what would resonate with them? What are they looking for? What do they need?
- Do some cost-per-acquisition (CPA) calculations. Your CPA is based on how much a certain marketing or advertising channel costs in order to bring you a paying customer. Check out this CPA calculator based on online ads.
- Read up on different ways to get the word out. Check out 15 Ways to Let the World Know About Your Awesome Business and The Startup’s (Budget) Guide to Traditional Marketing.
There’s One HUGE Difference
Sure, everyone likes the clean colors of a fresh manicure, but you don’t need a manicure to succeed. Marketing is different. If you want to grow, you have to get the word out. No exceptions.
Both marketing and nail primping require consistency and patience, but you can get by without a manicure, but you’ll flounder if you don’t market your business.
Your Turn: Do you think we’re totally crazy? See any parallels here? What’d you think of this whacky post?