In 2010 I decided to part ways with a business I was involved with for over twenty years. During that time I had provided financial guidance and advice to some very high profile and public figures, along with one Hollywood A lister and the local Plumber. I obviously can’t name them here but believe me because you see them in the paper it does not mean they are very nice.
If you want to know the catalyst for leaving a business I had been involved with for this amount of time and where I had great credibility and had managed teams successfully – I was hopelessly bored senseless by it, and had been for years.
The regulation of the industry protected no one and the banks done all they wanted too and then some.
My wife contracting breast cancer in December 2009 was the final straw – life is too short to spend more than a few weeks doing something you are no longer in love with and I was no longer in love with many things – financial services was one of them. With seven years to go in my game plan it was time to enjoy it again.
With a brace of teenagers about to consider University retirement at 49 was not an option – so a plan b was hatched, along with a rainy day one (that’s what happens when you are a practical optimist AKA a realist).
Of course I am still involved with a number of financial service firms and I still write for the financial trade press on business development and marketing issues. Recent articles on Pay Per Click marketing for Insurance Age woke some people up to the power of this medium, of course it’s not new, just not for the faint hearted or those not willing to learn about it first.
This Darn Internet Thing
In the years leading up to my ‘early retirement’ I had turned to the internet to generate leads and was having some great success building ‘lead generation’ processes that worked. Having sent my first email in 1995 (god it was difficult then) and registering my first domain in ’97 you could say I was an early adopter. Importantly I have always been concerned about process, the one thing managing teams of financial advisers has taught me. It’s the process that makes the sales.
Many of the models I created have been sold on to other advisers and continue to work well.
My post retirement plan has been to do lead generation – but freelance and for everyone. Three years in I have not looked back. I still get a bit grumpy with small business owners that buy into the next new thing (e.g social media/pay per click and other crap sold by Marketing Gurus) and expect it to work, only to find that it fails to deliver.
Generating leads online is clearly defined process – you can just stick a web page up and hope, in the same way you can’t put a sign in the garden and expect the phone to ring. It’s the process that gets the leads. In fact it’s no different online to it is offline – but the engagement is different, but not by much.
The biggest problem I come across with new and potential clients is the lack of skills and the expectation that it’s easy. It’s not until you start to really understand, really get what works. For some of you it will be tweaking what you are already doing – think about your last five sales and do more of that. Does that make sense? It should do.
The next shiny new thing is just that.
SEO is dead, it’s Google’s game now just in case you have not noticed. Getting found on the internet is easy once you follow a few rules – write great content, present it correctly and make it shareable by others.
All of the search engines want to find your website – they are great big content hoovers. Problem is you have no idea what they think of your content (there are some rules) so it can be a bit hit and miss. But if you speak to any of the search experts they will tell you “it’s a bit hit and miss” – did you not start there.
Let me make it really easy for you. Your website content should be focused on what you do not who you are. Simple really.
Fact is there are a number of tools (free) that will help you. Mistake number one by nearly all small business owners – listening to search engine experts and not learning what you need to do.
With regard to the rest of the stuff you need to do, get in touch and I will walk you through it, you’ll be pleased you did. We can swop war stories and I can add some value to you.
Worse thing that could happen is we could start a new adventure or I could buy you a coffee and we part friends.
Small Business Marketing – Done With You
Thank you for getting this far. I hope this article helped.
I work with small firms, micro businesses and start ups. Those firms that are stuck don't know what to do next.
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