Why Small Guys Should Think Twice About Social Media

I learned a few things when I spent a day last week at a conference of small business people.

Elephant in the room--social mediaKate asked, “Like what?”

“There’s an elephant in the room,” I said. “The noise about that big beast is the thing that gets in the way of most of those folks having a solid marketing and sales plan. The keep being told about the tremendous reach of the major social programs. The data is reasonably accurate but the fact that Facebook gets to sky zillion people doesn’t translate to people coming into your establishment in east Podunk Junction where the total population within 20 minutes of your store wouldn’t fill a football stadium. Part of the problem is that they believe the big numbers will be a magic charm.”

Chris chimed in, “Then there is the don’t know factor. They don’t know what they don’t know and I don’t know if they will ever find out!”

“Easy there, web master,” said Rob our branding guru, “you’ll get yourself all whupped up like the topping on one of grannie’s lemon cream pies only it ain’t quite so tasty. What I mean is that some folks didn’t grow up with all this stuff and so they just don’t get it. Give’ em a break. Shucks, they make great customers for you.”

“You have a point,” said Chris.

Kate asked “So why do you still have a long face?”

“Because they want all the bells and whistles but they aren’t willing to learn how the digital world works.”

“Boy is that the truth,” said Rick, our Direct Marketing expert. “I get requests that require the most sophisiticated approaches every day from people that don’t have a clue as to the tools we have to use to meet their expectations. They want to do automated digital marketing and are not willing to learn what is reqired and what it costs both in terms of time and money whether they do it themselves or hire a pro.

Gail interjected, “Look, I’m one of those people that just doesn’t quite get it. Not because I haven’t tried. I’ve taken classes and I try to stay up to date with webinars and online resources but they keep changing stuff and I don’t have time to keep up, I have a business to run. You and the other digital types need to remember that all these things are tools. I don’t have to relearn how to use hammer each time I need one and you know as well as I do that most manuals for this stuff are non-existent or written for the cognoscetti not for us non-techies!”

“That is what I heard all day long,” I said. “Over breakfast a former sales person for a Fortune 500 company that had opened her own business said she was much happier but just couldn’t figure out whether to go networking and making cold calls or figure out how to put Twitter and Facebook to work for her.”

“So you told her to get to Networking and Cold calling, I’m sure,” said Kate.

“Yes, I said, “but I suggested that she should start asking customers if they used social media and if so which and for what. Later in the day in my presentation I noted that a recent Gallup poll says that 62% of Americans do not use social media to make buying decisions.”

“However,” Rick said, if she asks the right questions, once she learns about her customers she  will have a better fix on an approach to all the digital marketing she might do.

“Right,” I said. “All day long it came back to the wrong questions. In my view, the right ones are:

  1. What media (traditional or digital) do your prospects or customers actually use? Why?
  2. How do they relate to it and the offers they find in it? Why?
  3. If they had to pick just one way of being contacted which would it be? Why?

What do you think?


Jerry and his merry band will be back next week

This blog is from the experience of Jerry Fletcher. Learn more at his consulting website: www.JerryFletcher.com

Need a speaker that this crowd deemed “Captivating and Practical” ? Learn more at: www.NetworkingNinja.com

How To Conquer Marketing Overwhelm

Rick said, “A new client told me he was hiring me because I helped him conquer his fear of being overwhelmed by the marketing possibilities.”

Happy Man“After you said thanks, what did you ask him?” asked Kate.

“He went on to say that it was a relief to know he didn’t have to learn it all and do it himself.”

Chris said, “Yeah, but what does that mean?”

“Let me guess,” I said. “The client is on every e-mail marketing list you can imagine. He or she watches a webinar a week which is always about the next sure thing in marketing on-line. But because each one of them says something different and the client hasn’t invested in any of them the level of overwhelm is like a tsunami.”

“Right,” said Rick. “I took a lesson from Kate. I asked him what I’d said or done that made him feel that way. Here’s what he said:

‘I’ve been trying to figure out how to take my business up a notch and I concluded that the marketing was the key. So I went on-line and searched marketing. I looked at the Business Journal list on-line and every company shown as a client was way bigger than me so I decided to look for on-line marketing help. Good luck with that! SEM, SEO and Certificate programs for pages. So I typed in how to market on line and I looked at some stuff. Before you know it I was getting e-mails from four or five folks about the same programs. So I’d watch a webinar and everything they told me was about how wonderful their new product was and they would be happy to take my credit card order for it…’

“But why did he hire you? I sincerely doubt it was because of your brand,” said Rob, our Branding Guru. What I’m seeing is that there is a glut of information out there. A simple search can make y’all believe you’re livin’ in an e-mail tornado alley. Everybody and his great aunt Hattie is tryin’ to get you to buy their shiny object and showing you checks with big numbers on ‘em.”

Gail said, “I know exactly what that feels like. Happened to me this summer. This group helped. All of you got me to stop buying into the silver bullet theory of internet marketing. You made me stop and look at the numbers and what was working for the various clients you serve. Here’s the way I wrote it down one Friday afternoon:

Information by the ton
Hundreds of products
No insight into what works and what doesn’t
A single coach
An approach matched to my needs
Test, Measure, Analyze and Reset”

I said, “So the net result is that the client believed that the insights you offered would overcome the glut of information and that you would work to make the marketing plan a living thing based on results.”

Rick said, “That’s one way to put it, but I think it is bigger than that. The client trusts me. And I’m not going to breach that trust.”


The marketing lunch bunch will be back next week. If you’re finding yourself drinking from that information fire hose, stop it! Watch this space for advice on how to find that singular coach that can help you market your business.

www.JerryFletcher.com is Jerry’s consulting web site He is changing the marketing of companies that meet around kitchen and boardroom tables. He prefers working with “Little Guys” with 1 to 500 employees.

www.NetworkingNinja.com is his speaking site. He speaks professionally on three continents on how to craft Trust-based marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy.

How To Sell What They Want To Buy

“I heard you say that serendipity is not why sales close,” said Kate as she took her seat.

Expectations“That’s right, I replied. “Jim, one of my clients, was speaking at an event with a top mergers and acquisitions guy. Each made the same point. In their view the organizations and individuals buying companies were buying what they believed the purchased outfit could do in the future. Past achievements were just that…past. The M&A guy focused on the shifts in valuation away from basic accounting data to critical evaluations of people and processes. Jim pointed out that in privately held businesses, the founder/owner is so much a part of the business that purchasers are particularly interested in who is going to be running things when he or she leaves. Buyers are basing the purchase price on projected performance. ”

”That is exactly what some research on resumes uncovered,” Gail chimed in. “If you have two candidates that are equal in every other way the candidate perceived as the one that will deliver on higher expectations is the one that gets hired. Been there, done that and got the T-shirt is not enough. Getting the interview starts with the cover letter not the resume. If the letter is more than a transmittal and shows a little flair while voicing career expectations the candidate has a better chance of getting through the door.”

“Welcome to my world,” said Rob. “What you two are blithering about is Brand, plain and simple. One of the best definitions I’ve ever heard for it is that Brand is a promise. It is the sum of people’s expectations fulfilled. It is the mouthwatering first taste of the chocolate chip cookie you smelled baking in the mall. It is the relief you know those over the counter pills will give you for your arthritis. It’s what makes that two hour ride to Granny Elders for one of her Sunday dinners worth it…both directions.”

“Anticipation is what gets them,” said Chris, our digital specialist. “I keep going back to print to understand the direct marketing side of digital campaigns. The deeper I get into the swipe file the more I find that the successful campaigns get people to respond for reasons other than features and benefits. Sure, you have to have that information but the real hook is what the prospect thinks they will get for making the purchase. Sure you have to solve their problem but the solution needs to be as they see the solution, not as you do.”

Rick said, “Your mention of a swipe file reminded me of a letter I keep on the bulletin board by my desk. For years the Wall Street Journal used the same letter to generate subscriptions. It is on monarch sized paper which makes it look like it is from an executive on his personal stationery. It carries the Journal logo at the top and is about a four page letter. It begins with a paragraph that sets the scene on a beautiful spring day 25 years ago when two young men graduated from the same college. It fast forwards to today when the same two men are attending their college reunion. One is a manager in a company. The other is the company president. The rest of the letter deals with what made the difference.

The key thing however is that the recipient of the letter was constantly in front of the writer. He was focused on the desire of the reader to succeed. (If you’d like a copy ask in a comment.)

Kate nodded. “Now you know why I ask some of the questions I do,” she said. “A lot of sales people try to rush it. I find that the less I try to close the better off I am, particularly if the price is substantial. The questions I find most helpful are ones like:

What do you expect to happen if you go ahead with this?

What will happen next when we put this in place?

Afterwards, how do you think things will change?”

“If you’re going to sell what they want to buy you need to understand the emotional impact of the purchase on the prospect,” I said. “That is true whether you selling in print, on line, or face to face.”


Jerry and the crew will return next week.

Jerry Fletcher crafts Trust-based marketing guidance for the “Little Guy” adapting enterprise level approaches that work for little or no money and time. Learn more at: www.JerryFletcher.com

Jerry speaks professionally on three continents. Learn more at: www.NetworkingNInja.com

How Little Guys Can Find Their Briar Patch And Win At Marketing.

Briar Pach Marketing“Every small business has to figure out how to market with limited funds and limited time,” said Rob. “The problem is they get all wound around an axle trying to do branding and pushin’ to beat the odds on social media and they wind up just getting tired and feelin’ like Enterprise level operations are gwan to whup on ‘em.”

“Hold it’” I said. I’ll bet not everyone here knows the Brer Rabbit stories, Bubba. That is what you’re talking about, not the Nebula in the Star Trek show, right?”

Rob replied, “I’m talkin’ rabbits not rockets. You see, Brer Rabbit was a ‘Little Guy.’ He used his wits to beat Brer Fox time after time. That is the secret no matter what kind of business you have. Sure there are times when massive amounts of money poured on an opportunity are going to get the Foxes share but a little ingenuity can go a long way to making your business successful.”

Kathy said, “I see where you’re going with this. You want folks to look at the Briar patch as their happy hunting grounds. It’s like telling a cold caller not to go into that high rise looking for business.”

“I’m not familiar with the stories,” Chris said.

“The stories are about a very clever rabbit. I responded. He continuously turned the tables on just about all the other critters in the woods. Even though he was little, his ingenuity kept him alive and well-fed through adventure after adventure. Once when captured by Brer Fox he pleaded not to be eaten saying, ‘Please don’t fling me in that briar patch’ each time the Fox suggested how he might be cooked. The fox flung him. Brer Rabbit laughed and scampered to safety through the home of his youth.”

“Nice summary for a Yankee,” said Rob. “The key thing here is that there are differences between Little Guys and Enterprises. In my view here’s what you can take advantage of:

  1. You don’t make committee decisions. You don’t have to check a bunch of schedules and wait until everyone is available. You can have a meeting in a heartbeat and make a decision before the Foxes, Bears and other big critters can find the conference room.
  2. On the other hand you can use the same sort of scheduling and contact management software to keep track of your team as well as your customers, prospects and suspects. And because you’re operatin’ in your briar patch you know those folks a lot better than someone who is not used to thorny interactions.
  3. You can easily monitor your marketing campaigns in real time and adapt the analytics developed for internet usage by your out-of-the-briar-patch competitors. In simple terms, use your ingenuity and your ability to move quickly to win on your terms. Remember, you need far fewer sales than the enterprises to have a successful business.”

Gail took a sip of iced tea, stirred it and said, “So what you’re saying is that the Little Guys really have an advantage. The combination of ingenuity, decision speed and desire, no, essential need, to know how things are going moment to moment provides an edge, an edge that is the key to winning.”

“Couldn’ta said it better myself,” said Rob.

Do you agree? What other Brer Rabbit differences would you add? Let us know with your comments.


Jerry and the whole menagerie will be back next week. See you in the Briar Patch.

Jerry Fletcher builds trust-based marketing strategies for Little Guys. Small businesses introducing themselves, new products or new services that are taking their business up a notch. Learn more at: www.JerryFletcher.com

Jerry is an international professional speaker and consultant. Learn more at www.NetworkingNinja.com