One lovely member of the Dream On community is called Emma Cobbledick. Ironically, I met her recently, through my part-time finance job… Not only is Emma a marketing guru, but she is also a fabulous copywriter (http://geniusmarketingltd.com/).
Emma kindly asked what she could offer the community, and I asked her if she would offer some marketing advice for all us beginners.
a BIG thank you to Emma!
Here it is:
If you can put your hand on your heart and say that you’re doing all of these 100% right, then chances are you have a pretty successful little business there and you can feel very good about yourself. If perhaps there are one or two things you’re not doing or have been neglected, then don’t feel bad or beat yourself up. Just diarise an hour or even half to start to make progress on it in the next week and you’ll be amazed how much better you feel AND how quickly you see results.
1) Know your customer: Now I know this might sound obvious, but a lot of people do this on instinct rather than as a process of conscious thought. You should be able to say right off the bat without pause or resorting to specific examples:
- What they are like (pencil sketch of common traits or characteristics)
- Where they hang out (a 3D view of all your possible touch points with them, not just online or face to face)
- How they like being communicated with (when, via what channels, using what tone, about what?)
2) Know why people work with you: This is similar to a USP, however a lot of people stress because they think they have to find a totally distinct and radical USP. Clearly that’s by and large impossible for most business owners, however you can normally find a niche that you can comfortably occupy as a small business e.g. the only award winning garden designer in SW18, the freelancer with the best reviews on a certain job board etc. If you then decide to grow your business to compete on a national or international scale, you can focus more time and effort on owning a larger niche.
3) Take the why and make it a you: The temptation once we’ve identified how to get to/talk to our customer base and know why we are getting work is to run off, waving our star qualities over our head, yelling “look at me!” and expecting the work to roll in. Your niche might ultimately be why people buy from you but that’s not the way they see it initially. Think about your customer; what are they looking for? What do they want? Your marketing message needs to focus on them not you.
4) Have a plan and stick to it: Marketing is much like any area of your business, if there’s no set time, budget and activities planned, it’ll get neglected when you’re busy as it’ll always play second fiddle to your main bread winning work. Having a defined plan allows you to fit your marketing activity around the rest of your work, be that half an hour at the start of the day or a set afternoon and monitor whether you are on track or need to play catch up.
5) Spend when it makes sense: If there’s an area of your marketing plan you know you don’t like doing or haven’t got the skills to address, it makes sense to get a reputable firm to help. It’s always worth getting references and doing thorough research because sadly there are a lot of duffers out there too (and not always just those who promise to fix everything for just $99 a month, sometimes paying more doesn’t get you a better service either!).
“No Time!” Note: We’ve all been there “no time, no time, stressed, can’t do x, y, z, too much to do!” If you want to do more of something yourself (be that marketing bookkeeping, whatever) and you feel haven’t got time, you can always try my “delegate, delay, destroy” exercise.
1) Work out how many hours you need to complete the priority tasks you don’t have time for
2) Sit down in front of your weekly planner (if you don’t plan your week hour to hour, start now) and look at every activity. Make yourself choose one of those 3 options for each activity until your whole week is allocated.
3) Now take back only the number of hours you have in the week minus the hours you need to give to priority projects. Action your “delegate, delay, destroy” choices on everything that’s left.