“Ya gotta spend money to make money, baby!”
Maybe that was kind of a skeevy way to put it, but it’s true. If you’re afraid to invest it’s going to be hard to make any progress with your business. Everything you do – from filing your paperwork to hiring your first employee to buying a copy of Quickbooks – costs money. And that’s something that we all understand implicitly. It’s the rare business owner who isn’t willing to make investments to keep the business healthy.
So why do so many skimp on their marketing?
It’s such a strange phenomenon. We’ve talked a bit about how agency support is more cost-effective than in-house marketing for SMBs; it’s really common for someone, when they get a look at the price tag of ongoing full-court marketing, to just wonder “why can’t I do this myself?” The answer is that you get so much more bang for your buck when you give it to a dedicated team; that same $70,000 you might spend on one marketing manager’s salary and outsourcing limited creative deliverables gets you a larger group of experienced professionals.
Ya gotta spend money to make money.
So really, it’s a question of value. What is marketing worth to you?
And for waaaaaay too many people, the answer is “I dunno. I just figured I should do marketing.”
That way, my friend, lies the path to destruction.
The Value of Marketing
Let’s think for a second. What do we even mean when we say marketing? We don’t necessarily mean million-dollar Super Bowl ads or commercials on local stations. All marketing really is is effective communication with the people you want to be doing business with. And the key word there is effective.
See, it’s not just about ads or emails. Marketing is where you put your business forward. Marketing is where you reach your audience. Marketing is how people learn about you to begin with. And marketing is what keeps people coming your way over time. That makes it something you can’t neglect or relegate to a “nice to have.” Your marketing is your lifeline.
“But,” I can hear you saying, “people will come to me because my product or service is so great.” And maybe they will! But they can’t do that if they never hear about your product or service. It’s not in your interest to be your industry’s “best kept secret” when you can instead be the standard by which everyone else is judged. It is the rare business that is able to grow on word of mouth alone.
If you’ve got the best product or service out there, why wouldn’t you want to do everything you can to make sure people know about it? Treating marketing as an optional expense, something to pinch pennies over, you’re never going to be able to develop the kind of effective communication that helps you reach more customers, develop better-fit leads, and close more sales.
So what does that mean?
- Content marketing offers a high, if long-term, ROI precisely because it builds a lead-generating foundation that continually refreshes your sales funnel; the initial investment pays itself off over time as the same piece of content continues to work for you year after year. That includes brand recognition, customer engagement, inbound traffic, and helping to close the sale. These semi-permanent assets become the cornerstone of your lead generation efforts without any ongoing maintenance.
- Low risk. Getting started with a marketing strategy, especially an inbound or content marketing plan, isn’t super high risk. The more you put in, the more you get out – but if you’re just getting started, you can start slowly and work your way up. That helps you get your feet wet while lowering your initial commit.
- A commitment to your future. Your marketing efforts aren’t just about short-term lead generation, but putting the pieces in place to strengthen your business for the long haul. It’s about looking five years down the line and not just to the next quarter, giving you more freedom to plan for tomorrow.
Skip out, and you’re shooting yourself in the foot. And that’s not anything you should want to do. If you’ve been willing to invest in growing your business in other ways, it’s definitely time to think about investing in a real, sustained marketing effort powered by professionals.
Because if you aren’t making your marketing a priority, you’re not making your business one.