Carrie Hartunian Smith is asked for the secret weapon to growing a business…a lot. “Understandably, they are always looking for that secret weapon or trick that’s going to launch them [into the stratosphere] over night,” Smith says of business owners.
As a marketing consultant based out of Cave Creek, Arizona, (just north of Scottsdale), Smith helps craft clear marketing campaigns for businesses that are actively promoting themselves and spending money doing so. “However, the truth is,” she says, “there really is no secret weapon. It’s about specifying your audience, choosing a platform, and increasing clientele retention rates. There is no one single strategy platform, online or offline, that’s better than another out there,” says Smith.
“Rather, it’s about going back to the basics,” Smith states. “There is no trick to getting your message out there other than clearly defining your audience. If you have not identified your specific audience, then it’s as if you are out there with a big megaphone talking into the wind. People hear noise, but they don’t hear your message.”
Smith has worked with clients and colleagues from all corners of the world. “Whether they’re across the globe or across the street,” she says, “I work with anyone who subscribes to this thought process, and who is willing to embrace it.” This mentality she refers to is one of a methodical approach to growing your clientele. It’s the business owner who understands that marketing is a process, who understands the value in creating offerings and messages with a specific client or customer in mind, and someone who understands working together will yield the highest return to their bottom line. “It’s not the business owner who is looking to perform random acts of content,” she says. “Rather, it’s someone who understands it’s important to have every piece of content fulfill a specific purpose and leverage that content to the fullest. This approach is proven to create a sustainable business.”
In line with her back-to-basics strategy, Smith has a simple answer to how she has been so successful: a keen attention to detail. “Everything gets better once you pay attention to it,” she says. This is one of her mottos, a lesson she learned during her corporate years and continues to practice to this day.
The first two things all business owners need to pay attention to are 1) Their goal or the desired end result, and 2) Knowing exactly who their audience is.
“It’s important to know what your competitors are doing but more important, or just as important, to understand your clientele,” Smith says. “Once you understand exactly whom it is you’re trying to reach, you can speak their language,” as she says. “You’re saying words that will resonate with them instead of using that megaphone.”
Smith emphatically emphasizes the importance of these first two steps. All too often, she says, the licensed professionals and business owners she works with want to skip straight to the platform. I heard about this amazing website or this incredible tool, they’ll often tell her. This is a classic case of putting the cart before the horse.
“You have all of these different platforms out there and you might be randomly putting things on Facebook or YouTube or [sending out] good old fashion mail,” Smith says to business owners. “But you’re just out there doing it without a clear strategy, or having the bigger purpose or end game in mind. It’s important to not get distracted by the new shiny object that seems to pop up every other week.”
Even if Smith agrees that a new tool or marketing strategy is right for her client, her thought process doesn’t end there. She highlights one of her techniques to help business owners leverage themselves as experts in their industry: book creation. “All too often, people get on the bandwagon and say, ‘I have to have a book,’” says Smith. “While I do believe that people should have a book, and I have been very successful in driving my clients to bestseller status, the question remains: is it right for you and is it right for you today?”
Whether she’s working to define goals, hone in on a specific audience, build a platform, review client/customer interaction, increase retention rates, or consult on book projects, Smith knows how important it is to leverage these strategies to create a scalable, repeatable, and profitable business. “It’s taking all of these pieces and making sure that we get the most life out of a particular technique or strategy that we possibly can,” she says.
Smith’s ultimate goal is to get her clients to a place where they are providing continued value to their customers. As obvious as this might be, when you are providing value to your clients, they’re likely to stick around a lot longer. With a tone of empathy, Smith says, “There is nothing more frustrating than spending money to get a new client and having them only stick around for a month or two, and then having to go spend ad dollars again to go acquire a new client.”
The process she takes and her levelheaded approach to marketing minimizes the frustration and loss of money and time. For Carrie Hartunian Smith, it’s about getting back to the basics.