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Why “Be Everywhere” is Bad Advice

October 2, 2013

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Was at a marketing event last week… “You’ve got to be everywhere” was a common response I heard to questions about how to grow a business, how to sell more product, and how to make more money.

This is bad advice. You don’t have to be “everywhere.” The only places you need be are where your customers are.

Let me give you an example from my business, the music business…

It’s common for new acts to think they need to “be everywhere.” This means magazines, radio, newspapers, social media, those ads they put above urinals in public restrooms, and who knows where else.

“I want to walk into a record store in Chunky, Mississippi and see my album on the shelf,” one act told me.

Sound familiar? It should, because I hear the same message from book authors, film makers, bloggers, and other creatives who think “be everywhere” equals having impact, making money, and being successful. And if you’re one of these people, you’ve probably thought it. I know I have.

But the the only thing “be everywhere” does is waste valuable time, money, and other resources that could be better used elsewhere. This is because your customers aren’t “everywhere.”

What “Be Everywhere” Really Looks Like

You have two levels of customers — end users and those who can help you sell to end users. The first step in being everywhere is getting to the people who sell to end users. These can be “tastemakers” in your field, such as celebrities people trust the opinions of, but more often than not, they’re normal people who buy in bulk — the booking agents, the corporate buyers, and the editors.

Let’s say you’re a book author and you want to get your book sold in a local bookstore. The corporate buyer is the only person that matters in a situation like this. You could “be everywhere” to her by simply putting up flyers about your books on telephone poles between the bookstore and her car. Perhaps it’s by having your book on the desk of a trusted co-worker.

If you’re a blogger who writes “get out of debt” articles, there are only a few places you need to be in order to “be everywhere.” If you can get an endorsement from Dave Ramsey or Suze Orman, who between them are already talking to a massive chuck of people needing this kind of information, why bother with the hundreds of smaller places where you’d be lucky to pick up just a few new readers.

You don’t have to truly “be everywhere” to get big results for your product or service. If you focus your efforts on the leverage available via tastemakers, booking agents, corporate buyers, and editors, you’ll easily be able to reach end customers and do so without the much less efficient method of trying to hit every dark corner where a truly excited customer is only a slight possibility. The tastemakers, booking agents, corporate buyers, and editors won’t be able to hit everybody you want, but because people hang out with others like them, the endusers you do connect with are very likely to get their friends who missed hearing about your up to speed.

Action Step:

Forget endusers today. Find one person whose audience would benefit from knowing about your project and find a way to approach him.

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