How much time you should spend on marketing is a question every business owner needs to answer. The tricky part is there is no one-size-fits-all answer.
One definite is to make sure that all of your business information is clear, concise and focuses more on your clients or customers needs than on your biography. You need a website (that’s not optional) so make sure you present yourself in a way that interests your prospective clients and includes a call to action. You need to establish a sense of urgency if you want visitors to do more than simply read your copy and move on. If they are going to hit an opt-in button, or are going to email or call, they need a compelling reason to do so. Make it clear how you’re going to help your customers, why they need you and why they need you – now! If you’re not a good copywriter, hire one. But make sure that the copy reflects who you are, not who the copywriter is. Know your market and focus on speaking directly to that market and its needs.
Create a good networking and support system. If you can get others to recommend you, or point prospects in your direction, that makes life much easier. But actively networking can take time and money. If you are spending hours driving to and attending networking events start to measure how much money they are bringing in. People often confuse activity with productivity. That can be a dangerous trap. Some people also use networking as a substitute for a social life. Be clear on why you’re networking, if it’s paying off and, if not, how you can modify your approach.
Various Marketing Options
Those are your basics, now comes the harder decisions. What type of marketing should you do and how long should you spend on the process? To come up with the right formula for you and your business, you need to define what goals and business objectives you want to accomplish. The answer is going to be different depending on if you’re launching a new business, introducing a new product, or launching a campaign to reach a different market. The one constant in this formula is that for a marketing campaign to be effective, it needs to be consistent. Marketing does not work like a fire sale; it is not a quick fix. It takes time, effort and consistency.
Develop a marketing budget based on your needs, time and resources. If you can outsource and hire professionals to run your marketing campaign, do so. If you’re on a shoestring budget and need to wear the marketing hat, along with all of the other business hats, spend some time and money on a good marketing consultant and set up a program that is effective and realistic. Remember your job is to run your business; spending 75% of your time on marketing is not the wisest use of your time.
Maximize your marketing by creating a synergistic marketing program. Spending all of your budget on a one-time ad or commercial is not a marketing plan, but a Vegas style gamble. If you’re working on a tight budget, consider a marketing mix that includes public relations, social media, and blogging. These approaches reinforce one another. You can place an article you were featured in on Facebook and post your newest blog on Twitter. Done correctly, the sum is greater than its parts and in time you can create an effective inbound marketing machine.
That still begs the question how much of your time should you spend marketing. There is no one answer, but you can come up with a basic formula. When you launch a business chances are your going to have more time than clients. That’s okay, that’s the nature of a start up. Use that bulk of your time to market. Write articles about your business and your company, blog, develop a presence on social media sites; pitch yourself and your company to the local and national media. As your company begins to take off, keep the marketing in high gear, but start hiring professionals to do many of the jobs you were doing. Hire a copyrighter, a PR firm, a social media expert. Pretty soon you’ll be overseeing your marketing but not running it all on your own. That is a sure sign that you’re headed in the right direction. Approach marketing as an essential. Err on the side of marketing more rather than less. It will pay off in the long run