It’s not about marketing your small business. It’s about marketing your story. –Tweet This.
You have a business you love and you want to tell the world about it so they love it too. Seems simple enough, right? Well, small business marketing isn’t as simple as it seems because it is more than just telling the world about your business, it’s about telling your story along with your business story. It’s about developing relationships not just making connections. It’s about creating valuable content not just spreading a message.
Marketing is something everyone thinks they cand do and it can be overwhelming, especially if marketing isn’t your area of expertise. I get the need to tighten the purse strings. I get that you have no budget and you are a one-man or -woman show. It is doable and you can do it! You just need to be armed with the right kind of information and expectations.
When it comes to marketing your small business there is no substitute for time and time is what most small business owners lack. You have invested every penny you have and you need your business to take off. Sooner rather than later. Sure there are overnight successes but you can’t go into business hoping to be one. Marketing takes time. Developing a loyal customer base, generating word of mouth buzz and creating a community are vital to the sustainability of a small business and all take time. Understand that marketing through social media, blogging and any other medium can be effective when you are consistent and add value over – you guessed it – time.
Flying By the Seat of Your Pants
I am a firm believer of the just do something mentality. That doesn’t mean that doing just anything will get you where you need to go. It is important to use your time and energy wisely and market with purpose. That means creating a strategy. There are some basics that you need to know before you get out there:
- Who is your customer?
- What are they doing?
- Where do they hang out?
- Why do they need you?
- How do they spend their money?
When you answer some basics about who your customer is, it makes creating a strategy for your small business marketing plan much easier. Moving forward with a plan helps to measure and maximize your marketing efforts.
Putting Your Eggs in One Basket
I know this will come as a shock but I believe blogging is the most important thing you can do for your small business marketing plan. That doesn’t mean you should rely on that alone, you still need to get out there and promote you and your business in multiple ways and in various mediums. This means getting active on the social networks where your customers are, becoming involved in community events and networking with other businesses both in person and online.
Unwillingness to Change Course
It is a fact that when I began using social media to market my businesses many moons ago, I didn’t really have a strategy. Some of things I tried worked and some didn’t but one thing remained constant – my willingness to try new things. I truly believe that is what made me successful. Even the best marketing plans need constant evaluation and the ability to change course when tactics are not working. The biggest mistake most small business owners make is relying too heavily on the status quo. Stay vigiliant, measure success against relevant goals and alter your course when necessary.
Most people start a business because they have an idea that excites them. They are good at a few aspects of running a business but not necessarily all of them. If marketing isn’t your thing, it is time to make it your thing. Get out there and sell yourself and your business. Make sure your expectations are realistic so you don’t get frustrated before things start to get going. Give yourself time to fully engage and utilize your resources to market your business and your story.
Photo via CanStockPhoto