Joy Gendusa used to be a small business owner, which is why she knows from experience just how many misconceptions some of them have about marketing.
“Most businesses fail in three to five years from opening because they don’t market enough to get in the amount of business it takes to sustain themselves and be very profitable,” says Gendusa, CEO of PostcardMania. “I learned this on my own.”
Since she founded her direct marketing business 13 years ago, Gendusa has lived and learned many of the marketing lessons she stresses to clients. Today, with 192 employees and projected $20 million in revenue this year, she’s also a walking success story for how marketing can make or break a business.
Smart Business spoke with Gendusa about the keys to effective marketing.
Be persistent. You will remember when you were a kid — your parents had to tell you the same things over and over again for you to get the message: ‘Do the dishes. Take your shoes out of the kitchen.’ That is marketing. You’re marketing all the time whenever you are trying to get someone to change a behavior pattern. It’s the same thing when you are trying to market your business. … You need to get that message out over and over and over again. I would say that any small business person, whatever amount they think is a reasonable amount of marketing in their minds, they should just ‘10x’ that in their mind.
One mailing one time to one list is not going to change your bottom line. It’s not going to change your life. It’s not going to change your income. Marketing is a continuous activity. So it’s something that you have to do, just like you pay the bills, just like you do everything else that’s a continuous activity.
Make it priority. No outside force is going to come in and do something to you if you don’t budget your marketing. …They’re not going to say, ‘You’re in default of your mortgage. We’re turning off your power. You’re not going to have phone service if you don’t pay.’ These are outside services that are imminent if you don’t pay them, whereas marketing, the effects of it are a little bit later down the line.
It is very easy to turn off your marketing budget just so that you can pay the mortgage or pay the electric bill or pay the phone bill, and when you do that, you’re cutting off your own nose to spite your face. Without marketing you cease to bring in new clients, and when you cease to bring in new clients, you cease to bring in continued growth and new revenue.
I hear a lot of business owners say, ‘Well, as soon as this is done and this is done, then I’m going to market.’ Any marketing is better than no marketing. You always have the opportunity to improve it as you’re going, but keep sending out communication in a broadening sphere so that more and more people are getting your message on a continuous basis.
Keep it simple. When you look at an ad you have to instantly know what it is that they’re trying to sell you. I see businesses that try to cram way too much information onto a postcard. … They’re really just confusing the person. They need to just concentrate on an item or service that will get the person hooked right away and then they have an opportunity to sell them other products and services once they have their attention. That’s a big mistake that guys make. They are so worried about the pennies of the cost that they’re not looking at the big picture and the real return on investment you can get from doing it properly.
Take the reins. Business owners — they’ve also been burned. They’ve relied on experts to tell them what to do. They do what the expert says. They don’t get the results they were hoping for, or they’ve been promised something that is unrealistic, and when they feel that they have been burned they cease to reach in the direction of continuing in that line. So you’ve paid for some marketing and you feel like you’ve flushed the money down the toilet, and now you feel like you don’t want to market anymore because it didn’t work. Well obviously it works, because those big companies are doing it. It’s a matter of getting educated so that you are in the driver’s seat.
How to reach: PostcardMania, (866) 803-2421 or www.postcardmania.com