Marketing is just one of many activities a business owner is responsible for. Carving out time for generating new business is arguably one of the most important, since without that, the business will not grow. Yet marketing is intimidating for many people, so it gets relegated to the bottom of the to-do list.
Here are some tactics that are easy to build into your annual marketing plan:
Emailing – Set a schedule to send an email to prospects and customers at least once a month. Email product or service tips, new product releases, event notices, special promotions or articles of interest to your market.
There are templates that are ready to use in programs like Mail Chimp (which is free) or Constant Contact, so you don’t need to know html to get going. You can create the email in advance and schedule it for a specific date.
Take advantage of trade shows and events to encourage people to sign up to receive your e-communications. Remember that you must have permission to email people (see the article on CASL). Your website should have an easy way for people to subscribe as well.
Social Media – Schedule a few hours each week to post information on social media. By using Hootsuite, you can schedule posts in advance. Start with a few key sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook, which are most utilized by your target market. You can always expand your efforts in the future.
Don’t forget to take time to respond to comments you receive on social media as well.
Networking – Join an organization that your customers belong to and attend their meetings on a regular basis. Personal contact is great for generating referrals as well as building relationships with prospects and clients. Consider joining the board to raise your profile.
Develop Partnerships – Find a non-competing company that is selling to your target market and develop a partnership to share leads and sell or distribute each other’s products. You can reduce your marketing costs by sharing booths at shows or combining direct mailers.
List your Company Online – I’m shocked how many businesses haven’t taken the time to complete their Google profile. It only takes 10-15 minutes and your company will instantly show up when people Google your business – without having to pay for Google Ad Words! Be sure to put in photos too. You can also list your company on Yahoo, Yelp and other sites.
Investing in marketing is time well spent to grow your business. You just have to do it!