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Saturday, August 6, 2011

I can make you rich... really.



Uh huh...

Every day at my bar I get at least two cold calls and at least one walk in that tells me how I am messing up my online presence and how they can bring in hundreds of people into my establishment if I just let them take over my social networking and website. Now, there is always room for improvement, but is that how you were raised to start a conversation, let alone try to make a sale?

My favorite, is when they say, "We ran a report and found TONS of errors on your site, and that they can fix them for you for a nominal fee" or even, "Whoever designed your site didn't know what they were doing."  Um, that person would be me, the person who will be paying for your service as well.  Starting our business relationship off like a bad abusive relationship where the salesmen first tells me that my past decisions sucked, and even that I do, but they are the only can make me better -  is REALLY not the way to motivate me, and I can't think of it working on any other small business owner. Honey, I can spot a snake oil salesman a mile away now, and mostly learning from my mistakes.  Maybe you can learn from some of them too...
  1. Don't be their first customer.
    • Ask for references... pages, quotes, phone numbers.
    • Ask their references... how much time they were saved, how much traffic change did they see,
      how well their vision is being communicated online.
  2. If they promise traffic and increased followers ask them:
    • Twitter
      • What % will be robots and what % high visibility people?
      • What % of followers retweet?
      • What tools do they use (existing or in house created)?
      • Where will they get content for tweeting? How often do they plan to tweet?
      • What are their goals for followers?
      • How will they report updates?
    • Facebook
      • What is their method for getting new followers?
      • Who will be responding and posting
      • Where will they get content for posts? How often do they plan to post?
      • What are their goals for followers?
      • How will they report updates?
  3. How much will this cost me?
    • Seriously, we tout social media as being free all the time, but we know it costs time, and time is money.  It also really needs tools and they cost money too. Lets say it costs minimum wage in California for someone to be maintaining your interests online. That's about $250 a month for 1 hour a day to be spent on Tweeting and FaceBooking.  That's a lot of money for a pretty low hourly wage to be guiding and directing your business strategy online, so what are they doing and how do they work for you?
I have worked in media companies, as well as now owning my own business for two years.   I need to listen to what they are saying in their criticisms, to see if I hear the same thing a lot, and then change things up to make that criticism go away and make room for the next one.  After all, I  let that "horrible" website (http://gatherwinebar.com) lie dormant for 2 years, and in one week of making changes have made 5x the effort in party scheduling. What I don't need to do though, is spend a lot of money for someone who cannot show me how they will make up the cost with income like I just did.  Most can't.  I know how to run my business, today.  I learn more daily - my opinion is  - most people who cold call my business over the phone or by walking in off the street, should not have my business.

Your thoughts?
    Disclaimer: I worked on a design/ad company for 2 years, and Fortune 500 companies for years before that - vision comes from within.  If you have a company telling (or even yelling at you like I have heard in the past) what you should be doing and that you don't know how to reach your customers, run.  You started your business.  You know who you want for customers, you know what you want to sell, you know what makes you money.  If you don't know that, then an ad guy or social media maven is not going to help you.  At best, they are going to send you a bunch of traffic that you are not going to be able to fulfill, at worst, no one new will come to your door because the vision they communicate is not your business. 
    Assuming you do know your vision for your business, this marketing company should be able to come back with a plan that tells you how to reach the customers you planned your business for. If they can't, you can do this yourself.

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