When you run a business, you are often pulled in several different directions at once. Despite your best efforts, things seem to go from zero to a hundred miles an hour in seconds, and you find that you often need to decide between several important jobs that need doing. Then, of course, for most of us there is still a family life to maintain. The car still needs a service, the dinner still needs to be on the table, and the schools will insist on having half term weeks right in the middle of your busy time. Sadly, what these pressures often mean is that we prioritise ‘on the go’ and a lot of the time small business owners are constantly running to keep up. The first thing to go in these circumstances is often the marketing planning. This is particularly true if you are currently taking lots of orders. The problem is that unless you keep talking to your existing and potential customers, when the orders dry up you end up screaming your message in a big burst of activity. Then the orders come in, then they dry up again and the whole cycles starts again.
In the rush to get customers and run your business, it is very easy to forget that the constant marketing of your products or services is vital to avoid the up and down of awareness so many small businesses suffer from. So here are five quick tips that will help you focus in the midst of the madness and make sure you keep talking to your customers.
- Have a plan and stick to it. Decide where you are going with your marketing and structure that into a plan. When you are under pressure, it will feel much easier to deal with your marketing if you have a fixed roll-out and a clear plan.
- Delegate, delegate, delegate. Accept where you are not the expert and hire someone to do it for you. Don’t be tempted to take on all the aspects of your marketing yourself because it’s false economy. While there is a cost attached to having a third party handle your marketing, there is an even bigger one attached to never getting around to it and losing business.
- Be clear in your message. You know what you sell and you know what you do best so make that your message. Usually reaching the market you want to reach is more about the right way to say what you want to say so you must know exactly what your message is.
- Create a style guide or have one made. One of the problems that we see with the way many small businesses approach the market is that they do a bit here and a bit there, and all with different people, and that means the look and feel of the marketing constantly changes. We can’t stress enough how it is important that your brand is consistent. You want to be recognised by your brand so inconsistent use of logos, colours, fonts and all the other associated areas is the marketing equivalent of wearing a disguise. Don’t forget your social media in this area either.
- Know your customers and keep your data up to date. You really should try to make gathering data part of your daily activity because it’s gold dust when it comes to repeat business. There is an old saying about it being easier to keep a customer than gather a new one and it is true. If you have a good system of data gathering in place, your marketing will be much easier.
At the heart of all this advice is the need to set aside the time to plan your marketing so that you don’t get the up and down of awareness that we talked about at the beginning of the article.
We are more than happy to help you plan out your marketing and work within your budget to make sure you get the best results. We don’t do babysitting though, so the half term problem you will need to sort yourself.