It starts with you.
If you are beginning a career as a Local Business marketing agent or consultant, understanding more than just the latest, greatest, shiniest Social Media tactics will serve you well. Your objective and goal should be to partner with the local business owner as an adviser, service provider, networking resource and look-out.
Can you make some quick sales of whatever spiffy thing looks like a magic bullet? Sure, that’s one way to do it. My expertise isn’t going to help you there.
Can you make a series of sales, get referrals to other business owners, build a reputation as the “go to” person for marketing with Social Media tools? I think that is a better goal. Is it more work, more training and slower? Yes. Can it create more value, make you feel great each day and foster a higher income long-term? Yes.
Do you need a college degree to be a Social Media or local marketing expert?
No – but you do need to understand the basics of marketing and recognize which parts of the business are profit centers and which are just fillers. (Promote the profit centers.) A good marketer should be able to create profiles of primary, secondary and potential customer personas, understand the length and frequency of when they make a purchase and actually know or forecast which traditional AND social media portals these customers engage with. You should have a working knowledge of the major Social Media portals, (this would be more than posting or tweeting the quote of the day), being someone who is personally and with your own brand adept at creating new relationships and reciprocal engagements.
Learning the business basics takes some time, but is fairly static, learning the ins, outs and trends in Social Media takes more time and is an ongoing process.
The good news is – you can learn and keep up with all those things with free tools to begin with and move into specialized subscription services later.
Will you ever know it all and really “feel” like an expert?
No, but as you learn, it’s likely that you will find areas that fit your skills and personality and you should expand learning about them to an expert level. When you contribute ideas and connections to learning resources in business networking situations, on forums and in groups, people will be far more likely to ask for your advice and assistance with your specialty. If you do this too and create alliances, when your local business clients have an issue or question you don’t know about, you lose NO credibility and create more networking power when you can reach out and quickly get the needed intel.
With the pace of change we have now and into the future, collaborative alliances and on-going habits of learning and asking great questions will be what sets you into a trusted adviser position that results in sales of your products or services.
Don’t seek to become a “commodity” – press in to specialization within a niche that people will spend money on.
This is a hard learned lesson that will put you under if you don’t pay attention. Because we ALL work in a Global marketplace, the price people will pay for products AND services drops faster than it used to. Not too long ago, building a website for a local company was a $2,000 – $10,000 contract and additional money could be earned making all the updates. Now, getting a premium price like that is very difficult and many customers want to be able to make their own updates.
If you can outsource things like website building that still take a lot of time if you work on flow, function and aesthetics, and reserve your brain power and energy for building relationships, getting new clients and providing high value services/products that don’t take a lot of time to implement or service, you will make more money with less stress.
This is one of the reasons we market the Supercharged facebook Coupons and Promo links – they take a small amount of time and money to build and implement and we get a premium price for helping our clients use something that builds their customer base and contact base. Creating compelling offers and strategies for accelerating their spread is the focus of attention – not providing an un-skilled service.
Instead, Solve A BIG New Problem
One of our products – the facebook fan page Coupon solves a Big new problem and adds an ongoing value. Getting more likes on facebook fan pages is a solid marketing goal. We know from studies and research that having a landing page with an offer increases the likelihood someone will “like” the page by 80%.
Lots of business had landing pages that broke when facebook started requiring SSL certificates for the page apps October 1st. These can cost anywhere from $9 to $290 depending on the level of complexity and the provider…but aside from the money, it’s a hassle to implement.
The customer gets more page “likes” and the landing page turns into a Coupon offer that is shared to the facebook Walls of everyone the “liker” has on their list (average number of facebook friends is 130) The coupon can be tracked and validated and we can build them with an “Opt-In” feature that creates an instant mailing list for the page.
Letting people know that you have this solution may very well kick-start your “expert” status. Continuing to pursue excellence and build solid value will keep you on that path.