Imagine your dream home. Now grab a tool belt and some nails. Start building. Seriously. Get some wood somewhere. Buy the good stuff – you don’t want your home to fall apart. Hammer it together. In fact, go out and buy the best hammer you can, because you don’t want your hammer to fail while building your dream home. Don’t forget the marble countertops, the solar panels, the geo-thermal installation, the in-floor heating. Doesn’t matter if you’ve done it before, you can figure it out as you go along. And the foundation will work itself out. But remember, you want to be living in this dream home as soon as humanly possible, so the more you spend on quality tools and materials, and the faster you press ahead, the sooner you will be living in the lap of luxury.
You may be thinking, “Who would ever build a house like this? It’s insane!” And yet, most people market their businesses exactly this way. “I bought a great saw, I should be able to do all my mitred floorboards easily” equates to “I spent a bunch on Google AdWords, people should be rushing to buy my product.”
Google AdWords is a simple tool to use. So’s a scalpel but I don’t want you using one on me without six years of training. (Tweet this.)
Without knowing, really knowing, who your customer is, what their needs are and why they should care about your product, you can burn through a lot of your precious marketing dollars trying out different tactics, and failing. And much as we believe we understand this, there is an overwhelming amount of evidence that we have no idea.
Our own cognitive biases convince us that everybody thinks the way we do, and yet, since our customers aren’t the ones who own our business, it is impossible for them to think the way we do.
Before you spend a cent on advertising, do the research and develop the strategy. Understand what your business looks like from the outside. Which is hard, because you’re on the inside. I do happen to know a company that develops marketing strategies, and though I may be a bit biassed, I’m not as concerned about who you use, as long as you get someone to help you think through this. It’s a lot of work, but so is drawing up blueprints. The only difference is that most people know you need a plan before you start building a house.