If you’re a business owner with limited staff keeping the ‘sausage machine’ stuffed is a perpetual challenge! When business comes in the customer has to come first and it’s easy to push the marketing activities onto the back burner simply because of lack of time. The problem is that when the current customer demands are met you’ll need more business and the marketing machine has been switched off. Starting from scratch is tough and it takes a while before your efforts are rewarded.
So – how can you keep your marketing ticking over while you’re busy elsewhere? The secret is in planning ahead, start now and create these basic elements to tick the important boxes that will market your business:
When you DO have some time create a bank of value based posts. I usually aim at a minimum of 28 – all linked to various relevant pages on your website or blogs. These can be scheduled to go out weekly. With a small investment (about £7 a month) in Hootsuite Pro account you can post the whole batch to Twitter, LinkedIn and your Facebook and Google+ Pages every week in a couple of minutes. Once they’re written this is an easy task to delegate. It means you’re sharing your expertise and being visible even if you’re busy.
If you’re B2B then LinkedIn is probably the best platform to build relationships with potential customers. If you’re B2C then Facebook may suit you better. Get the habit of coffee and LinkedIn/Facebook. You only need to spend a few minutes looking in the groups and/or Pages where your target audience is active. Scan the threads for anything where you can add value and post your thoughts. This will keep you visible and show off your expertise.
If you’re not writing blogs already, think about doing that as it’s an excellent way to demonstrate your expertise (like this one!) and can be used to feed your social media and as the base for a newsletter. If you write a bit then have a brainstorming session and create a list of things you could write about – answer questions your customers often ask, create case studies, share your expertise. Start writing them up – aim to complete one each week and then post two a month and keep the others in your ‘bank’ or schedule them ahead to post into the future.
If you’re not a natural writer short video clips will do the job or find someone who can write and get them on the case. We do this for some of our clients, but I also know wives/husbands who do this for their other halves and, if you have staff, there is often someone in the business who is able to do it.
If something has to give, this is probably the one to go. However, if you have a couple of blogs posted and an offer or promotion, putting together a newsletter shouldn’t take long. Whether you’re using an in-house CRM system, MailChimp, AWeber or one of the other online distribution tools, get your newsletter template set up and then lead with the headline and opening paragraph of each of your blogs, followed by your promotion or offer. It shouldn’t take more than half an hour to put together and, if you have staff, could easily be delegated once the template and list are set up.
Choose a couple of networking groups that actually bring in business and make the commitment to turning up. If you have an urgent project people usually understand if you miss occasionally – but, not if you only attend one in four meetings. Put it in your diary and go. If it’s a breakfast group you should be back in the office by 9, if it’s at any other time of the day treat it as an appointment with a client – it will be as important to your business as any client as it’s the means of bringing more business in.
Of course, there are many more networking activities you could do, but if you schedule these activities in you will keep your traction and won’t end up finding you’ve finished all your existing projects and have to start from scratch.