Recently I have been working with a couple of business owners who are stuck on the whole strategy thing. These owners want me and my company to take over their internet marketing, you know SEO, pay per click and all of that kind of stuff. The problems is they can not clarify their strategy for us. My rules are pretty simple, no strategy, no marketing. The simple reason is I want to keep clients for a long time.
What I have learned in 20 years of owning and building businesses is that anyone can grab an opportunity, throw money at it and fail. I do not want these clients because I am lazy. Not lazy because their business is too hard to market, but lazy because I do not like chasing down new clients if I lose one.
Before we had the strategy requirement in place, clients would last anywhere from six months to about a year and a half. The few that have been with us over five years all have two things in common. First they have a strategy. While the strategy has changed a little over time, we have been involved with the changes so we could change the marketing to meet the needs of the client and their market.
The clients that we took on who were opportunists and did not have a strategy would not see the progress they expected and jump on the next opportunity. Every six months we had to completely revamp their marketing. In the world of the internet, consistency is a critical component of success. The first month of any campaign is the most expensive, and we usually lose money getting a client set up. In fact most of the time, you do not see real progress for two or three months.
When a client jumped from opportunity to opportunity it was like getting an entirely new client. None of them would pay the higher fees of the first month, so each time they "re-invented" their business we lost money. The clients with a strategy are all still in business, still clients and still profitable.