Are You A Dabbler When It Comes To Marketing?

by Peter Wilson | President


What’s a dabbler? According to Merriam Webster, “some common synonyms of dabbler are amateur, dilettante, and tyro. While all these words mean “a person who follows a pursuit without attaining proficiency or professional status,” dabbler suggests desultory [random] habits of work and lack of persistence.”

This concept came to mind again as I was conducting a marketing review with a potential client. I said, “…don’t take this personally, but it sounds like you’re a dabble when it comes to your marketing.” There was a long pause, then I heard laughing and agreement. “Yes, we’re dabblers,” the President of the company admitted.

Is your business relying on “random acts of marketing?” Sending an email newsletter one month, then posting to social media for a few months, then hiring a new SEO person, then firing them in a few months. This is no way to run a professional marketing strategy for a business.

Maybe you’re not quite that bad. Here at bizmktg.com we stuck to a few proven strategies for our own marketing but didn’t do them consistently. For example, we didn’t consistently produce blog articles or podcasts nor did we send out weekly email updates to our list. I’ll tell you how we fixed that later in the article.

Here are 6 signs that you’re dabbling when it comes to your marketing:

  1. No clear goals for marketing. if there are no expectations or the goals have not been written down then there is no sense of urgency to make sure that the tasks related to marketing strategies get executed.
  2. Jumping from one tactic to another. “the shiny object syndrome.” It’s tempting to do this, searching for the so-called “silver bullet.” Once you focus on a new tactic, the former tactic loses favor and not much effort is put into making it work.

    In baseball, a batter can try to hit a home run each time at the plate. We call that “swinging for the fences.” It’s a batting strategy that leads to a lot of strikeouts.

    Most marketing strategies take time to optimize and produce results. SEO can take 6 months or more to show real results. We tell our clients it takes 60-90 days to optimize an online ad campaign on Google.
  1. Inconsistent activity – Not consistently doing email campaigns. We run into businesses all the time that are sitting on a goldmine of current and previous clients they could be sending relevant, informative emails on a monthly or weekly basis. You MUST email at least monthly if you want people to take you seriously.
  2.  Not Tracking results. I find when folks don’t track results then they don’t know what is working and what isn’t and they are less committed to marketing. So their mentality is well we’re not even sure it’s working. We use phone call source tracking, website form tracking, and other methods to track results.

    Figure out your cost per lead and your close rate per lead so you know the Cost Per Acquisition of each new customer. Ideally, you would know the “lifetime value” of each new customer so you can compare the two and see whether or not your marketing is profitable.

  3. No point person in the organization making marketing decisions or being responsible for marketing. sometimes we see companies will assign marketing tasks to an individual in the organization who is already extremely busy and is now being asked to do yet another thing and of course, it’s not a priority so it doesn’t get done. Going alongside that just not having clearly defined roles within the organization.
  4. Not investing enough consistently to get results – If you are running online ads, you’ll need to be ready to spend at least the amount of money to generate one new lead per day. If new leads are costing $50 each, then you should spend at least that much per day. If you run the ads every day, that equates to about $1,500/month.

One sure sign of a company that’s dabbling in marketing is one that is not investing an amount equal to the cost of getting a new lead. What I mean by that is if you are expecting your marketing to produce say 20 new clients a month that means that depending on your close rate of leads that you receive you may need to get between 40 and a hundred or more leads each month in order to land 20 new clients. 

The cost per lead could range between say $5 and more than $200 each. So if you are not investing enough in the marketing that is producing leads then you shouldn’t expect to get the results that you are hoping for.

We know businesses are dabbling in their marketing when we see:

  • A company website that is not updated on a regular basis with testimonials and new content.
  • Email newsletters that get sent sporadically at best. 
  • Social media is updated sporadically at best. 
  • Very few online reviews and or no recent reviews.

I can admit that I am a dabbler in a few areas of my life; one area that recently came to the forefront was crab fishing. I live in the Pacific Northwest and we can catch Dungeness crab by setting traps with bait and you lower it down in the water to say you know lower it down to the bottom and depending on the time of the year it took her you might be fishing in you know 50 to 100 ft of water.

In the past, we’ve taken our crab pots out, thrown in a few pieces of chicken for bait, and hoped for the best. The crab harvest was hit or miss, generally more miss than hit.

Recently one of my really good friends, Drew, bought a crab pot puller and that motivated me to want to get hardcore about crab fishing. So rather than just put out a few pots and hope for the best and maybe get two or three crabs every time we go out to start it to get super serious about the bait, about the buoys, about the pulling the pots, about how often we pull them about where we set them.

This crab season our focus effort has already paid off. we’re going to pull a sit so I went out recently on the Fourth of July weekend and we were able to get 8 Keepers so that was enough to feed a lot of crab to our friends and family.  It was really a lot of fun and it is always more fun when you catch something. 

I can see how that would relate to marketing as well because in many respects marketing is just like catching customers you’re trying to attract with some bait you want them to initiate contact with you crawl into the cage so to speak. 

Now the cages are traps we use are the kind of way you can crawl back out now obviously we’re not applying that directly to our customers but in terms of how we market our products and services to our potential customers this one is definitely related so we stopped we got serious about it and now we’re doing well.

Another way that we were dabbling in the business was we were actually dabbling with her marketing as well we were putting out a newsletter periodically and we’re not 

So we decided to get consistent with our marketing and put out one new piece of content a week and a weekly update newsletter that highlights that piece of content that we create each week. The podcast is one of those items that we put out. We also write blog articles and have other types of content available. 

So it was over two years ago we decided to begin doing this consistently and now fast forward 2 years later we’ve generated well over a hundred pieces of content sent out a hundred email updates to our followers we have picked up several clients through that process and we’ve also been able to help a lot of businesses which is what our primary goal is.

I’ve seen it work very well for other clients of ours about 10 years ago we had a client who was not showing up on the web at all for the names of the people who work there and it’s a professional services company so you would expect the website to be in the search results for the names of the people who were providing the services but they weren’t so.

We worked with a client to come up with a strategy for content creation and they have consistently created content over the last 10 years when we got started with them they were seeing about 300 visits to the website a month now, mind you this was about ten years ago fast forward to today they consistently see 5 to 7,000 visitors to the website each month primarily driven by people finding the content that created that they created about topics of interest to their potential client so clearly that strategy works if you do it over time this planet doesn’t spend a dime on paid advertising online it’s 100% organic traffic which arguably I could be called better than paying for traffic so that’s another area to think about.  

How to stop dabbling and get serious about your marketing:

  1. The first thing would be to come up with specific goals for marketing. Here are some basic goals to consider:
    1. A specific number of leads are generated via your website each month. 
    2. A specific number of visitors each month to your website from your geographic area.
    3. A specific number of email sign-ups each month.
  1. Once you have specific goals, track the results each month. Review the results each month and optimize areas that need improvement. 
  2. Pick one strategy and commit to sticking to it for 12 months.
  3. Have clearly defined roles in your organization and know who is responsible for what as it relates to your marketing.
  4. Call in the professionals. In the same way, you are an expert in your field, a marketing coach consultant can help sort out what’s working, and what’s not and give sound recommendations for achieving your goals.
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