Is it laziness or complacency?
I'm not without sympathy here. I know how hard it is to run your business, deliver the product or service to the client/customer, and have the headache of marketing your business. Where do we find the time?
But the important thing to say here, is that you must find the time. Plan some time, say twice a year, to do a thorough audit of your existing marketing. And I mean all of it. No holes barred.
1. Make a list of all the marketing activities you have done over say the last 6 months.
Your list should include things like...
- Your website and any tweaks and changes you've made (if you haven't made any tweaks and changes, then put that on the list - because that's something you need to think about).
- Any networking events, formal or informal you've attended.
- Any ads you've done.
- An analysis of your social media activities.
- Press releases, leaflets, business cards etc.
- And anything else you've done over that time period.
2. Give each marketing 'thing' a score out of 5.
With 1 being 'utterly pointless and a waste of time' and 5 being 'resulted in new business'. Be honest. I mean, what's the point of spending hours on Facebook if you're not making any new connections of getting any engagement? I'm not saying junk anything that's not scoring well, I just mean that any activity you've tried that has not scored well needs to be tweaked or changed.
3. Dump the duffers.
If advertising in your local paper isn't working, stop doing it, or do it different. If you spent hundreds of £s on leaflets that haven't brought in any business, throw them away and start again. It's common sense to stop doing what isn't working. But (and I see this all the time), small business owners can get caught up in what we think we 'ought to be doing'. "That's what people do in my sector..." So stop, evaluate and then either change it or dump it.
4. Look at your branding and the overall look and feel of what you're presenting to the world.
Does it need a refresh? Maybe different colours. Maybe a new logo (or just refresh the one you have). Does your website look tired? Have you been using the same leaflets for years? Does your website work on mobile devices? Are people confused about what you do?
5. Get opinion and feedback (and not just from your family and friends).
Don't rely on your family and friends to tell you if your marketing ideas are good or not. If you're lucky, your family and friends love you and will want to be supportive, and so tell you what you want to hear. If you're not so lucky, some friends and family members may want to sabotage your efforts. The point is, this is not the best or most scientific evidence upon which to base the future success or failure of your livelihood.. So what do you do?
- Ask your customers for feedback.
- Do a short survey among target customers (use tools like SurveyMonkey or Wufoo).
- Run a low cost mini focus group (I wrote a blog post on this a while back, you can read it here.
In short, get into the habit of measuring and evaluating what you do. It will save you time, money and a lot of frustration.