As a small business owner, if you are trying to incorporate a new habit into your already hectic existence, the best way to ensure the success of this new activity is to make it easy.
Because what do we do with stuff that’s too hard?
We toss it with speed and accuracy into that seemingly always overflowing too hard basket.
With so many items on our to do list, fires to fight, exciting opportunities to chase and those distracting little procrastination options that lay waiting for us, adding a task that is complex and overwhelming is the bloody last thing we want to do!
From working with hundreds of small business owners over the years, I know that marketing can sometimes be one of the items that find its way into the too hard basket. Marketing is often described as a ‘dark art’ or a ‘necessary evil’.
It’s hard to know where to start. The number of communication platforms and their ever-changing focus is confusing. It’s hard to know if your marketing is working or not, or how much to invest, or how to best communicate why your customers should choose you.
Let alone the time it will take to get the marketing done! In fact, this is probably the number one reason that marketing gets tossed into that too hard basket, way too often.
However, if marketing keeps ending up in the too hard basket, then your business will miss key opportunities for growth.
Without marketing, you risk failing to position your small business for sustainable growth. You may lose the chance to acquire new customers. Without marketing you may fail to differentiate your business from your competitors. You could be missing the opportunities to increase your profit, to inspire your team or to create a business and a brand that you can sell further down the road. And that’s just to name a few missed opportunities.
So, how can you lift marketing out of the too hard basket and make it easy for yourself to leverage all of the opportunities that marketing can create?
- Create a plan
Proper planning prevents poor performance. A marketing plan does not need to complex, but it does need to be considered. for your marketing to be focused and efficient, it needs to be align with key business priorities. You need to know exactly what type of customer you are looking to attract, how your marketing mix (product, place, price and promotion) fits into your customers lives and the market place and how you will ultimately position your value. Part of your planning will also include how you plan to make more people aware of your business, how you plan to get them interested in your offerings, how you plan to encourage them to buy, then buy again and ultimately become a raving fan who shouts about your business from their rooftop. Without this plan, your marketing stands to be misguided guess work that’s expensive, time consuming and demotivating.
- Get the right people in place
Too many times, I’ve seen the marketing in an organisation assigned to someone who is either unmotivated to do it, or simply doesn’t know how to do it. This is a sure fire way to ensure that your marketing ends up back in the too-hard basket. While you don’t necessarily need a trained marketer on your team, you definitely need someone who is energised and motivated to ambassador the marketing activities and ensure that they get done. If that person does not exist in your team, look at what you may be able to outsource. For example, if your marketing plan is done and you identify that you don’t have a resource on hand to execute the social media elements of the plan, outsource this function to a freelancer or agency who will not only have the skills, but also the motivation to drive results.
- Prioritise it
As far as I’m aware, no-one has worked out how to increase the number of hours available in our days. So if you feel that you don’t have the time to fit marketing in, then it’s simply a matter of shifting the priorities of your existing workload.
- Develop easy to follow systems and processes
Once you have established the marketing activities that you will do, create easy to follow marketing systems that are documented and incorporated into the operations of your business. Look for opportunities to incorporate software and automations that might save you time – such as social media scheduling tools, reporting dashboards, graphic design tools such as Canva and so on.
- Measure the results
There is no better way to ensure the effective return on investment of your time and money spent on marketing than regular measurement. We recommend monitoring the results of your marketing on a monthly basis ensuring that your metrics are aligned with the initial marketing and business goals. Measuring your marketing can be hugely motivating as well. When my clients see each month how their marketing is adding value to their business, they are so excited and can’t wait to do more.
By following these five essential actions, your marketing will not only become a lot more easier to incorporate into your day to day operations, you’ll also generate excellent results.
If you would like help getting any of the five actions in place for your small business, please get in touch with me at email@example.com – I’d be happy to help.