December 02, 2016

How to Achieve Effective Small Business Marketing with a Team of One

The good news is, you can market effectively without sacrificing valuable time working on what you love. So, let’s talk about how small business owners like you, especially solo operators, can market your business effectively without breaking the time bank.

How do you find time for marketing when every minute is packed?

There’s a difference between being busy and productive. Examine your day-to-day activities. Are you being efficient and productive? Or are you just busy? To become more efficient and carve out more time for the critical task of marketing, do what productivity expert Tim Ferriss refers to as batch processing. Let’s use email, a huge time thief for many small business owners like you, to explain this valuable time saver. It’s easy to focus too much time and energy on email. We often leave our email inbox open and check it constantly. When we stop what we are doing to check email and respond to any messages that come in, we lose momentum and we lose focus on the thing we were doing. When you batch process email (or any other task), you set aside a specific, scheduled time to check email. You set aside all other activities during that time, and you only check email. Block and Tackle Digital Marketing The same batch processing principles can apply to many marketing activities.  Here are a few activities to consider blocking and tackling: Social Media If you’ve ever managed a social media account, you know that it can be a huge time-suck, sending you down rabbit holes and eating up hours of your day. Instead of trying to manage your social media presence 24/7, set up a few blocks of time a week to focus on social. Use one block to schedule out your social media posts for the week.  Then use another block or two to respond to social inquiries and actively engage with your audience. Email Marketing Email marketing is key to turning prospects into customers and keep your customers coming back. Set aside some time each month to create your monthly newsletter, brainstorm an email promotion, and set up a fresh lead nurturing campaign. You can even automate your emails to send to the right person at the right time with marketing automation - putting email marketing on autopilot so you can get back to your business. Content Marketing Content marketing is key if you want to build brand awareness and get found online. It fuels your email marketing campaigns and your social media posts, driving prospects back to your website. But finding the time to blog and create resources is a challenge. To help, keep a running list of topics that appeal to your audience.  Then, set aside some time each month to write a few blog posts.  You can also package related blog posts into a lead magnet for your website or create an email marketing series - two birds, one stone. Research has demonstrated that you cannot effectively multitask. When you try to, you do each task less than optimally, and you waste a bunch of time. Then, your productivity plummets. Batch processing, dropping multitasking and focusing on one activity at a time will help you achieve your marketing goals and spend more time doing what you love. Add Low-Tech Marketing to the Mix Let’s talk networking. Face-to-face connections with other business people can help you build relationships and partner with advocates for your business. Done right, networking can help you boost your business by getting the word out and sharing ideas with fellow professionals. You may even pick up some super effective marketing tactics you never tried before. So, instead of working through breakfast, lunch and dinner, join a networking group like 1 Million Cups or find a meetup to build lucrative relationships. Keep Your Network Close - And Your Customers Closer The most productive and profitable marketing you can do is re-engaging previous customers. You’ve already invested marketing dollars into your customer base, making it easier to get the second sale.  In fact, according to research, a first time buyer has a one-in-four chance of returning.  In addition, returning customers spend 20% more than first time buyers. Marketing to your customer base is a simple, cost-effective way to grow sales - without investing a ton of time. Don’t Forget to Ask for Referrals When you are marketing to your current customers to try and spur repeat sales, go a step further. Ask them for referrals. Ask them to tell their friends, family and business contacts about you. Talk about a powerful introduction! If the person they tell you about happens to be in the market for your solution, you have a strong advantage over your competitors. And remember, a little incentive goes a long way.  Referrals can dramatically decrease your customer acquisition costs, so it pays to payout to your referrers. An effective referral strategy and the smart tactics to back it up will make marketing a lot easier. You will have a small army of happy customers doing your marketing for you! Finally, you can’t do it all yourself when it comes to marketing. For example, web development is a specialized skill. Rather than taking your time and energy to learn website development and doing it all yourself, why not invest in the services of a very capable professional? Look for activities you can outsource to a very capable third party. Investing in marketing - whether it’s $500 a month or $100,000 a month - is essential if you want to grow. You may be a marketing team of one, but you can still accomplish a lot.  Block and tackle your digital marketing, build relationships to help boost your brand, re-engage your customers and outsource high-value marketing tasks.