Many entrepreneurs that I speak to tell me they know they need to market their business, but they just don’t have the time, or they don’t know where to start. While I understand that marketing can seem intimidating, it presents huge opportunities for business growth. My advice is not to dive right into complex marketing campaigns, but to begin with these three marketing must-dos, which will start you off on the right track, without breaking the bank.
- Ask yourself who your ideal customer is, and think about the type of customer you don’t want too. Before you start marketing, take the time to understand who you want to target, and who you don’t. Start by thinking about your top clients. What makes them your favourites? Then examine the work you hate. Why do you hate it (or why is it not profitable)? Understanding these things will ensure you are able to target profitable work that you will enjoy, and you’ll learn to identify and say ‘no’ upfront to bad clients or those who would bring you work that doesn’t pay.
- Steer clear of makeshift marketing. Don’t fall into the trap of only thinking about marketing when you have a free moment. You’ll either end up never doing any marketing, or you’ll fall into the trap of ad hoc marketing. This makeshift marketing typically doesn’t offer long-term value. Instead, should set aside a bit of time early on to develop a marketing strategy. It doesn’t matter how beautiful your website, brochure, or billboard is – they probably won’t bring you the business you want unless they are aligned with an effective strategy. Don’t waste your money on marketing tactics without a marketing strategy.
- Prioritise measurement. You cannot track your marketing progress unless you understand your starting point. Marketing metrics are necessary to be able to decide what works, what doesn’t and where to spend your money wisely. Start with the simple stuff. Make use of customer surveys to get feedback, install Google Analytics on your website to keep track of your traffic sources and visitor behaviour, and keep tabs on your newsletter statistics to see which information is of most interest to your readers. Remember: you can’t improve what you’re doing until you understand your current performance.
This article first appeared in Finweek www.finweek.com