It feels like I’m already behind the – proverbial – eight ball this week. Losing an hour over the weekend to daylight savings is always an adjustment but yesterday I needed an extra dose of inspiration. So, I took my coffee – and my favorite U2 tunes - to the beach despite the blustery winter temperatures and a call for an “extreme winter storm.” Then, I’m was ready to take on the world and this week's blog on marketing for small businesses.
In full disclosure: I am as guilty as any small business owner who puts marketing on a back burner. It doesn’t happen often but it does occasionally happen and that’s a no-no. So, I am sharing 8 everyday marketing tips. Spend as much or as little time as your schedule allows. The point is to just do it.
Start fresh every day: Please don’t confuse this with re-inventing the wheel. That’s not what I’m suggesting. Think of it like this: a blank slate that allows you to focus on a new aspect of your business each day. I find if I schedule time on my calendar – with or without ideas – I get it done.
Keep a running list: I’ll start by saying: Thank God for talk to text. I’m usually driving when ideas hit so I keep my list on my phone and then transfer it to my editorial calendar. I know a lot of people who keep a written to-do or task lists. My two cents: having something on a task list or a to-do list isn’t doesn't inspire and that's when things fall through the cracks.
No time like the present time: It’s all about baby steps. Maybe, today, it’s about jotting down ideas and tomorrow, the dates. If you have a known holiday (Easter, Passover, and Mother’s Day etc.), work back from there to give yourself enough time to successfully market and deliver.
Thank clients: Kind of obvious, right? Here’s my experience as a consumer: I live in a resort community on the Jersey Shore. Years ago, my friends and I were off-season regulars at a semi-new restaurant and when summer came so did the long lines – except for us. It may not be fair to others but we appreciated the simple acknowledgement of our patronage.
Listen to your customers: Sent out a customer satisfaction survey. Be prepared for positive/negative feedback and the onslaught of marketing ideas. You just have to be open to the feedback.
Ask friends and family members for referrals: I don’t do this well at all. Somehow, it feels like cheating. It’s not. If pride is what is stopping you (hubris can be a bitch), change the way you look at it. You’re not asking for help but offering services/products that provide solutions. Does it really matter if it’s your best friend’s uncle or your aunt’s dentist?
Update your website and social media profiles: Don’t attempt to do this in one day; it will feel overwhelming and it shouldn’t. This should be something that allows you to celebrate your professional successes and highlight your expertise. Keep the changes fresh and energetic but simple.
Give it away: If you’re on a shoestring budget, even small giveaways might be out-of-the-question. Consider donating your time to a local community cause. It doesn’t have to be a huge commitment; maybe a community planting day. It is nearly spring after all.
Winston Churchill said, “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” As I see it you have two choices when approaching marketing. It can be a fun change of pace or a hassle. Your success depends on your attitude.