Small to medium business owners will probably be able to totally relate to this concept. It is very hard not to spend all our time working in our businesses rather than on our business. I know I am guilty of this. But I decided to practice what I preach and make the effort because I know that with the effort come the rewards.
I know a young, very talented and very enthusiastic Architect who is right into technology, he’s set up his own website using a cloud solution, but it suits him, he’s worked it out and he’s happy with it. But his website remains unfinished because he doesn’t have the time to devote to it nor the money to pay a third party to do it for him. So he’s stuck between a rock and a hard place. He wants to generate more work for his practice and he’s made the list of “things to do” in regards to marketing but they still remain undone.
An analogy he used and I liked very much was that marketing was as challenging as trying to eat an elephant. I replied the only way he was going to get through that elephant was one mouthful at a time, a daunting challenge in anyone’s books but if he kept at it the elephant would soon be gone.
We can make as many lists as we like and do as much planning as we like but if we don’t take action and start knocking some of the tasks off the list and continue to take action until those actions are showing results no progress will be made and we are left with an elephant.
And make sure you also know what your budget is and make sure you put it to good use. I had another client who was happy to fork out over $400 to advertise in some online directory because it sounded “really’ good and was so easy, he hoped for good results; but when I went online and looked up the people he had just spent $400 with there was nothing there. They had no following and no search engine ranking whatsoever. How hard would it have been for him to look that company up himself. So apathy is no excuse and can be very expensive. Set targets for your marketing budget and if you’re not getting a return on your investment rethink your strategy. Sometimes it takes a few goes to find the right solution for you. Not every form of marketing works for every type of business.
Listen to your staff. I have another acquaintance who is a sales rep for a solar company and he knows his local marketplace and he knows that mail drops are a waste of time, but he gets great results from TV advertising. When he rang his marketing department to find out what their next strategy was going to be they told him they were doing another mail drop. It’s amazing if you stop and actually listen how much really useful information you can learn.
Advertising in the local mag isn’t just a “branding exercise”. This is a common retort when I ask my clients what return they got on their print ad. What they are really saying is not much or none at all but they were happy seeing themselves in print.
So by all means do a marketing plan or a list but make sure…
- you put that plan or things on the list into action. Set aside at least 4 hours every week to work on your marketing.
- Once you’ve decided how you’re going to spend your budget make sure you know what returns you are getting on what methods of marketing you have in place.
- When you are getting inquiries ask the question, “How did you hear about us?” for every inquiry.
- Ask your staff and colleges their ideas. Have a brain storming session. You’ll be amazed at the results.
- And don’t stop. Keep it coming and keep it constant. I was giving a talk to a local not for profit organisation and they were complaining that their advertising gave them a 36% increase in sales and they didn’t want it because they couldn’t service it. I said to them that simply meant it was to time to grow their business and not to pull the plug but to continue and thrive. They found it a very hard to concept to grasp.
- Utilise the free online options available to you – Social Bookmarking, Social Media, Blogging. I have clients who rant and rave at me they don’t want to do social media and facebook and why should they. They usually end up embracing it with great results. One of my clients has nearly 4000 followers now and she wasn’t sure at the beginning. And if you’re smart and interlink your social media you are increasing your audience with the least amount of effort.
How many of us join the gym with the best intentions and keep paying the monthly membership, but don’t actually go. We make excuses and say we have kept the membership because we are going to get started real soon. Gyms actually count on this. If all the members of gyms were to turn up at the one time the gym wouldn’t be able to cater for them all. But you know in your heart of hearts if you went to the gym regularly you would reap the rewards and achieve your goal.
So if you make the time and effort and find out your return on the investment you will without any shadow of a doubt reap the rewards. You don’t have to do it all in one day, no one can but if you tackle your marketing in small regular increments your bottom line will show you the effort was worth it after all.