Small Business Marketing | IFA Marketing Expert | Advice about starting a business

Alexa Goddard, has released her first UK single this week arrived at no: 26 in the UK charts is a social media phenomenon in that her only means of promoting herself has been via the Social Media Websites that are now taking over as being a primary marketing tool for many businesses in the UK. IFA’s are included.

Interestingly Alexa recorded herself covering other peoples songs, and some 1.5 million plays later she has found a ready market (raving fans) for her own songs and has now released her product into a hungry market. Of course no: 26 for a debut single is some feat when the Beatles back catalogue is proving hard work to beat for most recording artists.

In the same week I have been doing some digging around various industries looking to find out the real uptake of Social Media and its impact which has been interesting.

Most of the “Social Media” or “Web Experts” I have found have either a personal/business presence that is not well supported judging by the number of downloads or have websites that have not been optimised or are poorly constructed. Interesting that a lot of people talking about are not getting the results they tell you they are.

This leads me to believe that there is a good deal of smoke and mirrors going on in that they either do not really know, and are making themselves out to be experts, or cannot be bothered, either way their business model will be short lived. The market, as they say, will find out in the end.

For any of you that have read my articles in Professional Adviser over the past couple of months you will know that I recommend two things for any business to have:-

A Niche or Target Area of business in order to laser focus your marketing.

A Multi Layered Marketing Approach – or pillars of marketing as some of the gurus call them.

With both of these your job will be made easy for the following reasons

You will be able to identify your target market and deliver a timely relevant message to them in a medium that they will delight in, no point in marketing via Social Media to those that do not use a computer or in print to blind people.

An aside, get a third party to read one of your marketing messages, letter, brochure or email and you assume you are blind. How easy is it to understand, how easy is it to react to the message. This exercise normally makes firms rewrite some of their brochures, ok back to where we were.

If the first message does not get through, a similar message will appear under one of the other pillars. For example, Phone, Direct Mail, Email, Brochure, Video etc etc.

Interestingly enough I have had lunch with some of business owners that I have worked with in the past, 2 of these guys produce over £500k of income pa each (as stand alone business owners). Now neither of these has an Internet Site, any form of Social Media presence and are both well under 50. Proves a point at least and I know that these are exceptions, but well focused individuals.

And what can we learn from that, simply put Social Media for many is the Emperor’s New Clothes (not the first time I have said that) and that the old stuff still works. Both these guys still do ‘old stuff’.

Importantly having checked a couple of things this morning, one of the largest Financial Advisory  (and most successful) firms in the UK has an appallingly low count of views on it’s own Youtube Channel, does not have any findable twitter content (ok one of their gotoguys has a following), and has Website that is not findable for some of it’s Key Phrases (terms used to find stuff on the internet).

Lesson learned. You do not need to have a Social Media Presence in order to have a successful business. You do not really need a Website to find new clients.

You do need to be focused on your target market and have something your potential clients want. You must get the message out to them in a manner they will understand and want to receive.

In last weeks NME Paul Weller described Facebook as being “the new opium for the masses” and clearly he does not get part of it, however with the some insurers looking to get a little more savvy with Facebook to investigate claims it is going to be an interesting way forward for some kinds of Social Media in that more and more ‘thinking people’ will be turned off by some parts of it.

Now as we know the Internet/Social Media is a great way of getting your message out I would not advocate that any IFA business considers going without a website but as Alexa Goddard has proved getting it right can produce fantastic overnight gains, but it is still very much possible without.

It’s also interesting to note that for many business owners your ideal target market might not be those clients hawking social media sites, or online Video but certainly those at the local Golf, Bridge or Rugby Club will be and you will not be surprised to find out that these are lesser users of Social Media, fully agreeing that the oldn’s are taking some aspects of modern media seriously.

So choose your target and keep marketing to them until they either die or scream stop using all mediums available to you, is perhaps the best method of growing a business and that has not changed for the past 1000 years and will not change in the future.

2011 really is going to be golden one for those that get some of this right, as for the rest…

Richard Smith Small Business Marketing  Expert at

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