April 24, 2024

Things are changing… are you keeping up?

I hear a constant buzz about how things are so different, and I often ask myself… are they really different or am I different?

Just yesterday I had a lovely conversation with a business owner who is about to celebrate 25 years in business. He said that he hasn’t had to market his business in a long time, until recently. I shared that we are coming up on 15 years in business and that I too felt like I had to market Olive more than I have ever before to keep the pipeline in full throttle. Prior to the pandemic, there was always a steady flow of qualified leads and, while there is still a steady flow, the timing in which people move forward has really changed.

We agreed that the events of the world have changed our behavior and that it’s time for us to think with a fresh perspective. We examined what we do today vs. what we did in the beginning. There are some key differences we can’t ignore. 25 years ago, MySpace was the jam and that doesn’t even exist anymore. 15 years ago, social media was just becoming mainstream and for businesses, it was an exciting new way to reach people and celebrate wins, but even that has changed. Now, it’s nearly impossible to generate an organic audience without ad budgets… yet so many businesses are still trying to use it that way. I think that is part of the reason we think we are having to do more than we have had to do because that is true. We need to get creative and stop relying on tools that once were a blanket solution but might not be anymore.

Here at Olive, I am going back to the basics. When I say that, I am talking about the fundamentals of marketing and public relations, which often get confused.

Marketing is a function of sales. Public Relations is a function of building relationships with whom your success or failure depends.

With that in mind, you really have to think about the two as separate efforts that overlap. For example, building awareness of your business through media relations might make people aware of your business, but perhaps much like a PR firm, you aren’t always looking for that service or product, so the idea is to be top of mind for when the opportunity comes up. If you are a business that can be enjoyed or used regularly, then these opportunities serve to continuously remind potential consumers you are there and to remind existing customers of how great you are.

Here’s how I go back to the basics and the questions I ask myself when I try to figure out how to build new business opportunities and the same is true for our clients:

  1. Start with a simple exercise to make sure you see the grandest vision. You should always ask yourself what things will look like when you are firing off on all cylinders and everything is happening as it should. What services are you offering? What is happening? How are you thriving? Who are you serving? How do you feel when all of this is in place?
  2. Now that you have the vision, you have to start breaking down the pieces on how you got there. Start by listing out each of the services/products you are offering.
  3. Next, list who those services/products are for and get very specific about the target audiences. Here’s the beauty of all this new technology. We can get very specific, but with that specificity, you must have specific messages for each audience.
  4. After you list the target audiences, now list how you will reach them. Include all the ways you can connect with them. It might look like a newsletter, email, flyers, media relations, social media, direct letter, etc.
  5. Next, you want to create a table that includes all the audiences and the ways you will reach them and look for the overlap. This is a good time to start mapping out the cost to deliver each of the tactics and who will be doing it.
  6. Once you know who will do it and how much it will cost, you can determine the order in which you can do these things. For example, you might realize that you need to start with email, newsletters, and social media until you reach a certain revenue level to add another team member or agency.
  7. Now, it’s time to get creative. You know who you want to reach and how you want to reach them, but what messages will resonate with them? What is the voice of the brand? What is the look and feel of the brand? What is your story?

If all of this feels overwhelming, you aren’t alone. I like to keep a notebook nearby or flood my notes section on my phone with ideas as they come in.

If you have a block around any part of this, my best recommendation is to take a break. Head out for a walk into nature and you will notice how clearly you can suddenly think about creative ideas to support you in taking the next step.

That next step… that’s a tricky part. Sometimes people get stuck because they want everything to be perfect before they get going. There’s a saying “Perfection is Paralysis” for a reason. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but you do have to do something.

Identify small actions you can take to move toward your goal. For example, if direct outreach is one of your tactics, you might set a daily goal to send five emails or make five phone calls a day. Or you might set a timer and say to yourself that you will call as many people as possible within the one-hour window.

When you have a plan, you have messages and you have deliverables… you are ready to roll. We always recommend setting key milestones you are trying to reach and making sure that you also identify markers for celebration. Celebrating the small wins along the way is an important part of raising the high vibes that attract more opportunities.

If this still sounds overwhelming, give us a call. We love this part and it’s what we do.