As a business owner or sales professional, we all have the same number of hours in a day and days in a week so how do we make the most of this time when it comes to our marketing efforts? When we start out, we sometimes feel like we are the jack-of-all-trades with a lot on our plates. How are we going to find time to create our products or deliver our services, manage our money, attract new customers, ensure our operation runs smoothly and not lose our minds while we are doing it?
Attracting new customers is the lifeblood of a company but the one question I always get from my coaching clients and others is, how do I actually find the time to attract more customers? Well, sometimes you have to go slow to move faster. The truth is you are going to have to invest some time into your marketing, and that is exactly how you should view that time: as an investment in your future success.
I am not offering you a silver bullet in today’s article but if you are thoughtful about your strategy and incorporate these six marketing tactics, you can save time and bring in new customers.
- Focus your social media efforts. Do you really need to be on every site out there or can you tailor fit your marketing to the message? If your content is highly visible, would Facebook and Instagram work best for you? Are you in the creative space, where Pinterest might allow you to increase the reach of your work? LinkedIn might be your best bet if you run a business-to-business company or professional service. You need to ask yourself where your ideal clients hang out and if you do not know, you need to find out! Tip: When it comes to social media either, be on it consistently or do not bother.
- Set up a social media schedule. Yes, your customers expect to see you on social media but if you are on it all day, when are you actually going to have time to be face to face with them? Take an hour or two every two weeks to plan what you would like to post for the upcoming weeks. Write your blogs in advance and choose the pictures you would like to use and utilize Tweetdeck or Hootsuite to get them out to your audience. Make sure to check in periodically and comment where appropriate but do not live on your pages! Tip: set up time in your day to check social media and put a timer on while you do it so you will not end up spending all of your time there.
- Put your marketing on autopilot. Email is still an effective means of keeping your name and company in front of potential prospects and clients. Many business owners use a newsletter but if you choose to go this route please make sure you are consistent with it. You can offer special discounts or an IFO (irresistible free offer) to get people to provide you with their name and email addresses so you can communicate regularly with them. Tip: remember to keep do not call list rules and anti-spam regulations top of mind when doing this.
- List your company online. This one almost goes without saying but I am still amazed at how many business owners make it difficult for potential and existing clients to find them. Make sure, when people search for you and/or your company that you show up on Yahoo, Bing, Google, etc. If people cannot easily find you, they will just as easily give up on you. Tip: Set up a Google Alert on yourself. This is a must-do and it ensures you will always be on top of what is being said about you online.
- Look into a strategic partnership arrangement. Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to do everything alone. Find another company that you can develop a relationship with around promotion, distribution, product development and possible add-on sales. A great example of this would be health and beauty products aligning with a local spa. Tip: Make sure to do your due diligence before aligning yourself with anyone.
- Get out there and network. You are the face of your company or product and no one can sell you better than you can! Make it part of your weekly/monthly planning, schedule it into your calendar and do not break that appointment with yourself. Tip: If you have not already figured it out, when you are an entrepreneur, you are in sales.
Finally yet most importantly, if you do not have the time to get some of these marketing strategies in place or to maintain them yourself, then you are going to have to seriously consider hiring someone to do it for you if you want to grow your business. However, do not panic. You do not have to hire someone full time right out of the gate and many VA’s will work with you on an hourly or package basis so ask around and find someone who is ready and willing to work with you to get you on the right track. Tip: A great resource to engage in your search for a VA is Yvonne Arts Weld who is the VA Matchmaker and one of the best in the business. Find her at www.yvonneweld.com.