I regularly interview small and solo business owners who call my coaching company looking for help. After getting a sense of what their business is all about, what their biggest goals are, and what lifestyle they are trying to create, I ask them what their biggest challenges are.
Nine times out of ten, it’s getting more clients and the problem is marketing. Most work very hard at trying to get one client at a time. They try many different small business marketing methods that they’ve heard about or which they’ve seen their competitors use. In other words, a little of this and a little of that. The results are inevitably mediocre. It’s easy to get discouraged when you know you have a great skill or talent to offer the world and yet no one is listening to what you have to say.
The mistake made by the majority of early stage small or solo businesses, and even some who have been around for years, is to do what I call “shot in the dark marketing”. This is like playing darts with a blindfold on and being convinced that you’ll hit the bull’s eye. You may occasionally do so, but you’ll do it rarely. The same is true if you are an entrepreneur who has not mastered marketing.
I bet you’re great at what you do. But, are you also great at building and running a business? These are two separate and distinct skill sets and both are crucial to your success. When it comes to small business marketing, the real truth is that people who are marketing masters can make money even with mediocre products, yet many people with excellent products and services fail because they haven’t mastered marketing. If no one knows you exist how can you expect to get lots of clients and make a great income?
Here are some tips on what you need to think about in order to begin to master marketing:
It’s a mistake to decide what you want to sell, create a product and then try to find some people who need it and are willing to pay you for it. Instead use the Internet to find out what people are searching for within your area of expertise and to research what and how your top competitors are selling. Also figure out where your prospects congregate online or offline so you know where you can reach them with your marketing.
Create a Marketing Design
This is a detailed plan that locks in what marketing activities you’ll pursue and how you’ll measure and track the results to know if those activities are working. Make a list of all the different ways you could generate leads both online and offline. Then pick only those that will focus on your target market. For example, join social media groups that attract your target market, mail marketing materials, postcards and brochures only to your target market. The same applies to print ads and sales calls. Don’t waste time on broad groups of people, but on the type of person who you know would buy your type of product or service.
Then pick three activities from the list and get started. You most definitely need at least one of them to include online marketing, either. That’s why I teach my online lead generation system. You can use a variety of methods such as article marketing, video marketing, blogging and social media to organically generate traffic. You can also use search engine optimization and pay per click advertising to generate search leads.
Follow Your Plan
Stick to your plan and see what works. Give it a bit of time, then focus tightly on what works and get rid of the rest. Don’t waste time, for example, going to networking meetings just because you like the people when you’re not connecting with potential clients or referral sources. Your time is limited so use it wisely.
Why do $15 an hour tasks when you can outsource them and spend your time being the strategist and servicing clients? As soon as you outsource rote marketing tasks, you’ll find they get done more quickly and consistently and you’ll start generating a steady, reliable stream of qualified leads.
Once someone is on your mailing list or has called your company, have a follow up system ready to go into action so you don’t miss out on closing sales with people who are ready and willing to work with you!
Transform your small business marketing from lackluster to powerful!