Dealing with micro enterprises, mostly with 5 employees or fewer, I hear every week how difficult it can be to make time for marketing. And yet, you must.
The same with community groups and social enterprises I work with.
As another year passes, I invite you to reflect on how much time you spent these past 12 months on actually pro-actively marketing your business, its products and services. Honestly, how much?
Small business owners often have poor time management skills. Time management is essentially about differentiating between perfection and excellence, between what’s urgent and what’s important. It’s about understanding what needs to be done and what doesn’t.
Marketing needs to be done.
When I hear a business owner tell me they don’t have time for marketing, what I hear is that they do not want to dedicate time to marketing.
Marketing time is also about stopping all that procrastination – ending up doing nothing.
There is a business adage that I like which tells us that we will lose 20% of our customers each year. Think about this – you know it’s more or less true. On the other hand, we all love to quote how much business we pick up through word of mouth, testimonials and referrals. You know that’s the case too.
So, while we pick up business “passively”, we also lose some. So what I am saying is that, even though you undoubtedly are winning new business all the time, if you keep the other side of the equation in mind, you might greater appreciate how you should nevertheless be marketing.
Make time for marketing.
In fact, when things are going quite well, that’s when I want you to be marketing. People like to do business with busy people.
Here are some ideas of how to make time for marketing this new year
1. At some predictable point in your week, there is downtime. For me, it’s every Monday morning before 10.00. Use it to schedule out posts on your social media platforms. On Facebook and Instagram, using the Business Suite, you can schedule posts up to three months out. This hugely reduces the amount of time you need to spend on FB & IG daily, leaving you free to just respond to comments, interact, engage.
2. Use automation in your email marketing campaigns, via www.mailchimp.com or other service. It allows you to keep interested parties warm, through automated follow-up emails based on what they clicked.
3. Rather than running a large ad in a newspaper once or twice (if still relevant in your sector), run a smaller version for a protracted period of time. Devising the ad takes less time and it runs for longer, giving greater impact.
4. Go to networking events. They force you out of the office for a while each month and grow your connections at the same time. They improve your “elevator pitch”. If ‘offline’ is currently not an option, get into online networking groups that are relevant to you and active. In there, be active!
5. Spend less time browsing “news” on the internet that you really don’t need (you know you are guilty of this) and more time on the phone and email to customers present and past, as well as prospects.
6. In B2B, send out a manageable number of sales letters/emails (why not try postcards?) this week. Realise that a letter/email is only an excuse to pick up the phone. Force yourself to pick up the phone. Repeat next week.
7. Commit to trade or consumer shows a few times each year. I’m not saying you necessarily have to get into the expensive business of exhibiting, but do go along. Meet people; press the flesh; get used to having coffee with strangers.
8. Get into video marketing. Get used to putting your face on camera.
And so on.
Trust me : if you want to make time for marketing, you’ll make time for marketing.
So, as another new year approaches, I invite you to write down some targets for your renewed marketing activity. Get on it!
While you’re at it, go read this post about avoiding time wasting habits.
Updated Dec 2021