With the current coronavirus epidemic putting a near freeze on the economy and breaking down the normal routines and opportunities of owning a small business, it may seem impossible to find any growth in the coming months. The truth is that while the country is shut down, growth will be difficult to achieve, but it is by no means impossible. Rather, this is a perfect time for your business to adapt and to learn to run more efficiently. This article will give you practical tips and tricks to help you streamline your process and use your resources more effectively than ever before. Make sure that you are marketing with a well thought out strategy during this difficult time, and come out of it with a stronger business than ever.
When devising your marketing strategy, it is important to have clarity. This doesn’t exclusively apply to just your marketing strategies however, this means that clarity has to run throughout your company and your products. If potential customers, clients, and even colleagues cannot easily understand the purpose of your company, the use of your products, or the application of your services, then they will not be likely to take part in what you are offering. Remember that there should also be clarity between you as the business owner and your business. While it is important to remember to market yourself as an individual, you also want and need people to recognize that you have your company behind you and vice a versa, that you are also behind your company.
A Clear Purpose
When marketing either yourself or your business, make sure your purpose is clear. Your purpose needs to be as clear to yourself as it is to everyone you interact with. Within a single conversation or pitch with a potential business prospect, they need to understand who you are, what your company is, and why the both of you can benefit from any kind of transaction or partnership. This is where a refined mission statement becomes invaluable. A refined mission statement allows you to explain to new contacts what your business stands for, as well as defining what you as an individual believe in.
When marketing yourself and your company, focus on establishing a genuine connection with the other parties involved. Find ways that they are seeking what you have to offer, and present solutions that allow both entities to grow and to work together to mutual benefit. When marketing your business, it is important to be clear that you wish to grow your business and increase profit, but don’t let that define the relationship. When engaging with other businesses profit will almost always be the bottom line, but continued success ripples from the ways in which both businesses are able to compliment each other and to assist each other in ways that they are not able to do to the same degree of success on their own.
A Clear Need for You
Part of maintaining a clear purpose is understanding what a new customer, client, or associate needs and establishing how that need can be fulfilled by you. On the flip side, it is also important to see how personal and professional marketing interactions can benefit you and your company in other ways than increased revenues. Part of this idea will be touched on later in the article for your benefit.
Whether you are choosing to market yourself via local networking opportunities of via other means of interaction, it is important to establish who you are, even outside of your business. As a business owner, especially for smaller businesses, it is easy to blur your identity between your personal capabilities and those of your business. However, just because your business is targeted to one area of the market or to one type of product or service, doesn’t mean that your knowledge and expertise has to end on such specific points. While you need to be an expert in the business sectors you represent, it is also useful to be knowledgeable in other areas of business as well. Especially when seeking out potential partners or associates, this extra knowledge can help you find common ground with other individuals and can increase your reputation as a knowledgeable and experienced contact.
From here, you can tie this extra knowledge back into what you personally have to offer. This can be your business and what that entity has to offer, but it can also be your influence as a mentor and an investor, but the important thing is that you understand what you have to offer and that you understand it enough to explain it to others so that a clear need for you is established in their minds.
A Clear Need for Your Business
While having a clear need for you works better in networking environments, establishing a clear need for your business is much more applicable to marketing on a broader scale. The purpose of marketing is to bring your business, your products, and your services to the attention of people that are currently beyond your scope of customers and/or clients. Proper marketing maximizes the influence and reach that your brand has and allows you to create new customer relationships and to increase your sales profits.
Similar to establishing a need for yourself as an individual, it is important to directly and plainly establish a need for your business. Once again, the Mission Statement can be a useful tool when marketing what your business has to offer. The Mission Statement helps establish distinctions between your business and others like it. If your business has a specific cause or charity that it works closely with, the Mission Statement is also a great place to identify that relationship and to convey it when marketing your business.
Finally, it is important to establish that the products and services that your business offers are both distinct and necessary. Set your business apart from the crowd by highlighting the products you offer than no one else does, or the personal touches that your business puts on its services. These distinctions establish the need for your business, as they are things that customers can latch onto and that often specifically target what they are looking for.
It may seem obvious, but many individuals and businesses forget to seek out opportunity when searching for ways to better market their business. Remember not to get caught up in the rhythm, especially when phrases such as “this is how it’s always been done” come into play. Opportunities often come by new and even unconventional means. While these opportunities often do present themselves, it is important to remember that new and more effective marketing opportunities also need to be diligently sought out. Take the time to seek out these opportunities and you will watch your marketing efforts become more effective and more substantial.
Leave No Stone Un-turned
Tying into the point above, don’t neglect the importance of new techniques. Especially in the rapidly changing technological landscape of the modern era, new opportunities and strategies present themselves almost every day. Don’t believe it? Consider social media. Ten years ago a business’ Facebook or Twitter presence would have been considered irrelevant. Compare that to today where every company needs to maintain a Facebook page, and many companies a Twitter page as well, to ensure that their brand and their products are being presented to countless potential customers. The internet and its increasing accessibility continue to offer new and cheaper methods for marketing your company. Make sure that you are actively seeking out these means of marketing more effectively for your business. Leave no stone un-turned, make sure that you are consistently up to date on new methods and how they may benefit your company.
Seize Every Opportunity
When marketing, it is easy to become complacent within a routine. Perhaps you have an outlined approach to Facebook marketing that you repeat every month. Maybe you have specific events that you attend each time they are offered. It is easy to outline these things and call it a day once they are done. However, in the ever-changing landscape of internet marketing, it is important to seize additional opportunities as appropriate. When you make sure that you are leaving no stone of opportunity unturned, you are establishing the idea of additional and more diversified strategies in your mind. Make sure to seize each of these opportunities as appropriate, especially if they are outside of the normal routine. These opportunities often present your business to potential customers/clients that wouldn’t have been reached otherwise.
Ask for Help
While it may seem like the easiest and most accessible approach to marketing, sometimes doing it yourself is no longer the most effective. As your business grows, so do the items that require your constant attention. While your marketing strategies as a one-person operation may have been effective, they may no longer apply as you take on more clients, more employees, and more opportunities. Sometimes asking for help is the most effective means of growing your business, and the appropriate ways in which to seek help are broken down for you below.
Internal Marketing Assistance allows you a similar amount of control in contrast to what you would have marketing your business on your own. However, an extra set of hands in the office also allows you to free up your time to focus on broader aspects of owning and operating a business. Internal assistance may also be held to a higher standard or increased expectancy that would not be available via external assistance. While it may be difficult to have in-person assistance during social distancing rules, you can still outsource and utilize the connective power of the internet.
However, internal assistance also increases the liability on your part. If your business has not grown enough to completely support an internal marketing employee, then it may be difficult reaching a stage where your business can support that extra employee. Internal Assistance will most likely require some individual training on your part as well. As the business owner you are responsible for ensuring that the employee can manage tasks to your personal and professional standards. Perhaps internal assistance is appropriate for you, or perhaps external assistance is what your business needs, but that fact must be determined by your business position and its expendable resources.
External assistance is useful counterbalance to internal assistance. External assistance allows for the burden of more effective marketing to be placed with another business. This means that the marketing side of your operations can function outside of your own work process. External assistance can also be a great source for opening new doors and means of growth. The most common form of external assistance would be to turn your marketing over to a marketing firm or company. Whether the firm is local or national, small or large, it provides a dedicated and experienced approach to marketing for your business. These company will often target markets to your specifications and can adaptably provide marketing solutions to fit your professional needs. External assistants are great for smaller businesses that can’t necessarily afford an in-house marketing employee, but that need a few extra hands to expand their business.
Don’t let your business slip into obscurity. Continue pushing your brand, your products, and your services on the market. Make sure that your company pushes a clear message that comes across comprehensively to potential customers and clients. A clear purpose can help give you an “in” in hard to reach markets. Also make sure to continue looking for new networking and marketing opportunities. Whether this means new applications and websites or new events, keep an eye and an ear out for ways that you can promote your businesses. Lastly, make sure that your business is getting the marketing attention that it deserves. Don’t be afraid to branch out with a dedicated marketing employee or with a marketing firm. Remember that it takes time and effort to market more effectively, but that when done properly, marketing will expand your business into new and exciting territory.