Stop Putting Out Fires and Create Effective Habits
Are you busy putting out fires in your business? We all have issues that come up in our daily operations. As a business owner, there is always that constant pressure to improve the bottom line. So where do you draw the line and put processes in place to market your business? If you’re too busy working IN your business, there is not the time to work ON your business.
For many business owners, they are great at what they went into business for but figuring out how to market their business is daunting. You know you need to market your business, but how do you know the best way to get your name out to new customers? I hear time and time again – “People don’t know we’re here.” Marketing seems labor intensive, expensive, and like something to tackle down the road once a business is better established, but the reality is now is the time to be marketing your services.
Planting the Seeds
A recent Constant Contact survey found that nearly two-thirds of small business owners (64 percent) are focused on increasing revenue and/or sales while a quarter (25 percent) identify making a profit as their biggest business challenge.
You can create habits and processes that will play a key role in driving business growth. It’s the strategy and the plan that can take speaking events and convert attendees into your mailing list. Consistent messaging and touches to this group of individuals can result in new prospects and potential clients that are regularly being added to your mailing list.
Set goals with measurable results and consider picking up the phone to call a prospective client versus always sending an email. Use different forms of communication such as instant messenger in social media platforms.
Identify “Small Marketing” Tasks and Execute
Break larger tasks into smaller pieces. Take one important marketing task, something you need to do consistently, but that you find yourself putting off, like calling prospects or sending an email newsletter, and break it down into smaller steps. Put the task on your calendar and mark it off when done. I personally like Asana and can break my task into smaller steps and check off when that task is done. I try and complete daunting tasks early in the day, so I can get them off the list before interruptions of the day begin. Working with numerous clients, I can color code various tasks for the day per client. Planning is key.
The Building Blocks of Marketing Strategy
Blend the small marketing action with a process and determine how you will implement the action Can it be made it easier, faster and better; or better yet, can the task be automated?
- Automate it. One of the easiest ways you can create marketing consistency for your small business while gaining valuable time to invest back into your business, is by automating the action. If email marketing is your focus, the click segmentation coupled with an autoresponder series, allows you to send personalized emails your customers want to receive. I use this tool when networking to grow my newsletter lists. My clients use this process following a tradeshow or special event.
- If You Aren’t Measuring How Do You Know If It’s Working? Measuring your actions will enable you to see what’s working and adjust accordingly. Measuring can come in many forms – analytics on a website, coupons redeemed from a print ad, calls received on a dedicated phone line, engagement on social media or reviewing reports in your email marketing program. Don’t just market…measure the results!
- Marketing Your Business is NOT a ONE and DONE! Little things done consistently can make a difference. Remember to not only repeat the initial tiny action, perhaps daily over weeks at a time but also the process of making a big challenge smaller. Any action, no matter how small, can be transformed into a positive habit and drive real results.
The key is to start somewhere and keep pushing forward with small and purposeful steps. There is no magic fairy dust to make every marketing activity a success, but consistency in your brand and messaging can create a powerful momentum.
About the author: Autumn Edmiston is the CEO and owner of the Edmiston Group. The Edmiston Group is a multifaceted Pittsburgh based marketing consulting firm providing senior level marketing management services to businesses and non-profit organizations on a short or long-term basis. Core areas of service are business development, marketing, strategic planning and public relations. The Edmiston Group has consistently delivered and implemented real-world, proven business marketing ideas and strategies for business.