Allan Dib defines marketing as “the strategy you use for getting your ideal target market to know you, like you, and trust you enough to become a customer.” Sounds good until you realize that concept gets slotted in the Easier Said than Done file. But wait: recent release The 1-Page Marketing Plan may just be the right catalyst for your company’s growth. Well-organized and straightforward, Dib’s book takes the reader through nine steps (presented as squares) broken into three sales funnel chunks: Before (messaging), During (capturing, nurturing, and converting leads), and After (creating value so as to earn repeat & referral business). And aside from his penchant for using car-buying examples – sweet Jesus, I loathe those – Dib leads us through the maze with aplomb, even summarizing chapters up-front which stimulates both focus and curiosity while cleverly pivoting away from the tired “In conclusion” format.
There are several key takeaways here. First off, the small business marketer needs to stop generally branding (that getting-our-name-out-there nonsense) and start narrowly targeting, lest they come off like “a disoriented archer, flailing about in the fog, shooting his arrows in random directions and hoping for the best.” Dib rips this random approach because short of having unlimited funds, you eventually empty the quiver without a good sense of return on investment. He also makes the compelling case that just as important as a clear message as to who a product or service is for is for whom it’s not intended. The benefit of this practice is threefold: it filters out misfits, builds credibility with a good-fit niche, then captures that profitable revenue with an audience that already feels understood. It also proves far less stressful for the seller; energy that’s been spent previously in failed attempts to cajole the mere polite and uninterested is now reinvested with genuine sales prospects.
Dib advises the reader to set achievable improvement targets, such as a slightly better lead conversion rate (say from 5% to 5.5%) or gross margin percentage (also just 10% better). “Measuring, managing and improving your key marketing numbers, even by an incremental amount,” he notes, “can have a massive impact on the end result.” He goes on to say something about small hinges swinging big doors, an expression I’ve never heard before and have immediately started using, probably incorrectly. A guess at its meaning: it’s the little things that deserve our utmost attention and being more thoughtful about the important steps that go into building a sales pipeline populated with qualified opportunities representing our targeted niche and allowing us to demonstrate our expertise by delivering outstanding work that God placed us on Earth to do while also earning a healthy margin has to be a good thing. Right? Something like that. I don’t know. Read the book.