If there’s one thing I do know about getting your marketing right it’s this: you’ve got to be prepared to give some time to it.
It’s not so much that people are bad at marketing, it’s more a case that they simply don’t do it. And I understand that. For most people it’s simply because they don’t know what to do, where to start or what the priorities are.
With the Winter very much on its way there may be a good reason to focus your efforts and concentrate on your marketing over the next few months.
That may mean a lot of time at your laptop but trust me it will pay off in the end.
So where should you start, well here are my Top Five actions that you can get on with straight away:
1. Stop and take a good look at all the things you have that you’d list as being part of your marketing. That will probably be things like your website, brochures, letter, business cards or packaging. You need to check that these are all consistent. Make sure that your branding and images complete a whole picture, rather than a jumbled and confusing collection of ideas. And check out The Brand Kitchen from Sophie for lots of sounds advice on this.
2. Think about your customers. Find out what they really look like and who they are. Try to identify the profile of your average customer, or at least put them in groups. Are they what you expect or are they completely different? Perhaps your best customer profiles are not what you thought your business would all be about.
3. Think about your product or service. When was the last time you actually did an audit on what makes this different and interesting. Perhaps you’ve changed something recently, or added new features to these, or the way you do business. Does your marketing reflect this? Are you including all the main points that your customers would be interested in?
4. Think about the way you actually approach your marketing. Do you have a plan, are you confident that you know what you should be doing first? If not then start reading. There is a wealth of great ideas and advice out there. Seek it out and start taking your learning seriously. Learning new skills and ideas is one of the most rewarding things about running your own business.
5. Decide what you want. This may seem strange but ask yourself this question, and be honest with the answer. Do you want to get more involved with your marketing? Do you want to put it at the heart of your business? Perhaps you feel you want help or support. You might even want to engage someone to work with or for you on this. Just be careful though, marketing isn’t something you should abdicate your responsibilities on.
These five points cover most of the main subjects that makes marketing work. Each one is a large subject but you can still make a start with them. I’m not suggesting that you should try to do all at once. In fact, you should probably only concentrate on one or two at a time.
Once you’ve scanned this list, go back and look over it again. Decide how you feel about each area and start with the one that makes the most sense to you.
And above all give yourself some time. Investing time in your marketing is about investing time in your business and the time you put in will be rewarded. Marketing, just like business in general, isn’t something that comes together overnight. It can take months or even years before you really feel comfortable with it.
So get started now. Begin by opening your diary or calendar and prove to yourself that you’re serious about your business.
By Nial Adams
of Make Marketing Work