Marketing your business can’t wait.
Sure, you’re busy. Yeah, you’ve been working on a big project. Just running the business takes all your time and right, there are only 24 hours in a day. You know you should be marketing but something always gets in the way.
But if you aren’t marketing your business on a regular basis, you’ll eventually pay the price. Your company loses visibility, there aren’t new customers and you’re not staying top of mind with existing customers – those who could provide repeat business or recommend your company to a potential customer. And keep in mind that if you’re not marketing, you’re making it that much easier for your competition…who is marketing.
The main reason companies don’t market comes down to a simple lack of resources: time, budget, personnel, knowledge.
Not enough time to market your business?
Of course you set business appointments…but equally important is time scheduled for marketing. Put it on your calendar: start “Marketing Mondays” or set an hour to two aside three times a week (or more!) to tackle your marketing initiatives. The bare minimum of time to invest in marketing is 10%; many small businesses and startups often spend 4x that amount.
Not enough money?
There are many marketing and advertising channels available: from social media and content marketing to networking, email marketing, to online or print advertising and direct mail. The expense for different channels varies widely – some may require more money but less time; for others, the reverse is true. Try limiting your channels initially and measure the effectiveness of each. You can compute your Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) by dividing your total marketing costs (expenses + personnel time/salary) by number of customers gained.
Who’s going to do the marketing?
If you are a sole proprietor or part of a small business, you may have limited “person-hours” available to devote to promotion. Evaluating what can reasonably be handled in-house and what could be outsourced to specialists may be the solution. Experts available to help you market include those who provide branding and marketing strategy, graphic design, copywriting, content and email marketing, social media management, SEO, website design and maintenance and public relations.
Knowledge is Power
Many business owners don’t know how to market. But since the need is imperative, a large part of your “marketing time” should be spent educating yourself about marketing. There is a wealth of information available online (articles, blogs and ebooks) as well as through organizations that specifically help small business like the SBA, SCORE, local Chambers of Commerce, industry organizations, etc.
Before you even begin to market, understand the brand positioning of your company: determine the audience or ideal customer for your project or service, verify whether or not they will buy your product or service and research how and where you can reach your audience. This market research will prove invaluable as you move forward in branding and marketing your company.
Once you’ve positioned your company, set goals for your marketing and develop a plan. Stick to that plan. Something like: two networking events a week; a blog post every two weeks; a monthly newsletter; daily social media updates; five calls a day to potential customers.
So what are you waiting for? Enough time, money, personnel or knowledge? It’s not going to happen…ever. No more excuses: a day without marketing is a day without new work.
Interested in coaching to kick-off your marketing? Contact Martha. Martha Spelman is a Los Angeles-based branding, marketing, content marketing and social media expert. Using traditional and online marketing strategies to start, grow and promote businesses, she works with startups, entrepreneurs and small- to medium-size companies. Martha is the author of the content marketing ebook: The Cure for Blogophobia: How to Easily Create, Publish & Promote Your Business Blog.