10 Easy wins for the New Year Who loves your business more than you? Answer: No-one. No-one will ever love your business as much as its owner. Do remember that when delegating your marketing within your company and /or if it’s up to you to ‘do’ the marketing. How much time are you going to allocate yourself each day /week to spend on marketing and all that makes up this wonderful word?
Don’t make working harder on your marketing one of your New Year Resolutions. Statistics show that these resolutions generally don’t last too long! “Marketing is not an event, but a process… It has a beginning, a middle, but never an end, for it is a process. You improve it, perfect it, change it, even pause it. But you never stop it completely.” Jay Conrad Levinson. So a rush of energy into your marketing in January only to forget it for the rest of the year won’t give you the success you want or need.
Focus on what you want to achieve in 2012. Not just “more of the same without a plan”. But make goals. Write them down. Pin up above your PC/laptop where you can see them every day and calculate how you’re going to get there. They won’t just happen.
Start a Marketing Calendar. Doesn’t have to be complicated. I can send you a very simple excel one if you’d like – just email me. I’ve added most of the ‘national’ dates for 2012, then you need to add your local industry dates, look at your peaks and troughs, add specific dates for the business, eg birthdays/anniversaries, milestones. Then think broadly about the marketing activity to support what you’ve written
- So for lawyers and accountants, what new legislation is coming in that you need to communicate to your clients and prospects, and how are you going to do this? If say you produce a quarterly hard-copy newsletter, how about introducing an email update between times – especially useful for prospects.
- If you’re into hospitality jot down all the key dates throughout the year including the special ‘food ones’ and see how imaginative you can be
- And for a florist, with so many dates throughout the year, it’s easy to find a new reason to keep in touch.
- does your business have a ‘big’ birthday this year you can use to gain some PR?
- will you be involved with any of the ‘fun’ fund raising campaigns you can post to your web and use social media to talk about?
Show your customers you ‘love ’em’ – with Valentine’s Day coming up next month – and being at the beginning of the year, it’s a great way to show your customers you appreciate their business and support and that you look forward to a great ongoing relationship. What are you going to do to demonstrate your customer/client is important to you? Being ‘unique, special and different’ doesn’t only apply to you and your own business but also in what you do. Think what impact a New Year or Valentine’s Day thank you could have on your clients. Far more powerful than something in December. And I’m not necessarily talking about ‘gifts’. A tasteful hand written card from the ‘boss’ can be very powerful.
How effective is your Data Base? Such a hugely important asset to your business – and yet some businesses don’t think that ‘a data base is for them’. There’s no excuse at all for a customer not to know all your offerings and services, but it is down to you to tell them. Your communications don’t have to be intrusive or pushy, in fact they mustn’t be either of these, but it is down to you to keep in touch and not for your prospects and clients to be experts on your business and all that it offers.
How far have you got with Social Media presence? All professional business owners must have a proper LinkedIn Profile with a professional photograph (not of you with your kids/skiing etc.). The scope of LinkedIn is growing all the time. This really isn’t an option any more.
Then you need to consider which of the others is right for you, decide how much time you’ll spend each week and stick to it. It doesn’t have to be hours, but you do need to get started. A blog, using info from your newsletters is easy, Tweeting and using something like BufferApp so all your tweets don’t appear at once is neat and Facebook for Business if appropriate. There are manyothers including those location based but start with the basics and grow when you can.
Free Business Directory listings are also a valuable way to raise your web presence. I’m compiling a list of the ‘best’ out there. If you send me your most effective ones, I’ll send you back the complete list in a few weeks when it’s got most of the main ones. (starting of course with Yellow Pages – which doesn’t count as a contribution!))
What Testing and Measuring do you have in place so you can check the effectiveness of your marketing? Renewing ads ‘blindly’ is not great, even if you’re pushed for time. Before you place any ‘hard copy’ ads you need to be sure they’re going give you a return on your investment (ROI) . Look at the size of Yellow Pages now v what it was years ago. If you attend an exhibition or run a specific promotion, you want to be able to trace response to these efforts. If someone wants to consider using you or your services, they won’t be guided by the copy in any ad; they’ll Google you and see what others have said, or they’ll ask friends for a referral. It’s all about customer engagement nowadays. Are you up there on the first Google pages? Or are you getting left behind?
“Marketing takes a day to learn. Unfortunately it takes a lifetime to master “– Phil Kolter
So what’s the best way to get additional marketing help if you need it? 1. There are many subscription schemes out there which offer you lots of marketing info in return for a monthly fee. This is great for the organization producing the info as it provides a residual monthly income. Traditional marketing information is very much standard and it’s just a question of presenting it ‘differently’. There’s nothing really new. These schemes can generate a huge amount of data, often daily emails as well as hard copy information, and it wouldn’t be geared to you and your immediate needs to follow your plan and goals. You may find that you end up putting the info to one side because you just don’t have time to go through it just now. Their goal too is to upsell to you, and on the one I joined some years back (out of curiosity to see how these do work) it was all I could do to ‘fight off’ the increasingly regular emails (often several a day) sent to join the next ‘masterclass’ held in XXX at quite an investment to ensure I was on track.
2. You could invest in a marketing book(s) and follow through ideas here, chapter by chapter to suit you. Would this in fact be any different to (1) above? If you take traditional marketing, whilst there are new approaches you can take, the basics are the same, so it’s just the way it’s presented, isn’t it? Thoughts?
3. Use a marketing professional on an ‘as you need him/her basis’ – It’s funny if you take the analogy with, say, a legal practice drawing breath in horror, I imagine, at some of the unregulated will writing services out there which don’t have the formal expertise or knowledge to think around all the potential pitfalls which may occur. Is there such a difference in this principle with marketing when done in house by a non-professional? “Oh, XXX looks after our marketing” – and often XXX also does 101 other jobs and isn’t trained in the subject. Answers on a postcard, please! I am biased of course, but surely far better to invest time & money in what’s right for you, here and now?
The New Year is a great time to start with an ‘audit/health check’ of where you are now – and ensuring you and all your colleagues have a professional profile on LinkedIn. Would be delighted to work with you on both or any other aspect of your business growth.
|High Growth Coaching
Delighted to announce I’m now part of the High Growth Team in Wiltshire and Swindon for marketing. See here for full details
There are three areas where support may be available:
Coaching for High Growth
Starting a High Growth Business
Understanding Finance for Business
Please talk to me if you would like any further details and to see if you may be eligible for funding to grow your business.
“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of education derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race” Calvin Coolidge, 30th US President 1872-1933.
Marketing is an ongoing process without a beginning or end; persistence is key!