I read somewhere that small businesses really ought to spend 40% of their time doing marketing if they want to survive. 40%! That’s quite a lot, especially if you’re a sole trader or only have a few employees, but if you think about it, a lot of what you do would be already considered as marketing without you really knowing it.
Write down all the marketing activities you already do, and I expect you’ll be surprised. Certainly contributing to a blog is one of them. Writing your newsletter, answering questions from clients, writing a sales letter, updating your website, writing the words to advertise your next promotion, getting new literature printed, networking, thinking of a new elevator pitch – I could go on and on.
Next, split up these tasks into their respective areas. By reducing them down to their bare elements they become less oppressive and more manageable. Concentrate on what you enjoy doing the most, and see if you can farm out the less deletable to someone who does enjoy doing them or knows more about it.
Set up a marketing system – mark out on a calendar your tactics ahead, focusing on next week or month or even a year. Work out how they will be achieved systematically and automatically, planning in advance so that nothing is missed out and you know exactly what the end goal is. In fact, why not work backwards from the final product? This method will certainly sort out the time factors much more easily for you.
Try new marketing methods – there may be new ones you haven’t thought of that might make a big difference. Do lots of research and ask others who may already be doing it before you take on any large projects, but certainly dabbling won’t do you any harm. It’s always good to keep in the know.
And don’t forget to keep asking questions to make sure you are on the right track. Do a poll or a questionnaire, find out where your target market is hanging out, what they need and want, and what solutions will be the best thing for them. Be able to adapt your business accordingly – you must keep up with changes.
And remember, marketing is not a quick fix. It does take time, because what you are aiming to do is to gain the trust of potential clients. It can take several months for a marketing cycle to produce results, so don’t get despondent if nothing seems to be working immediately. A watched kettle never boils, but you will get your cup of tea in time.