The Reality Of Marketing A Small Business
Marketing. The very word strikes fear in the hearts of many small business owners. It can feel like a code you need to crack or the never-ending search for that illusive client, sometimes even reminiscent of the search for Bigfoot. Before you let panic set in, try to relax, and strap yourself in, because you need to be in it for the long haul. Here are 4 marketing realities you'll undoubtedly face as an entrepreneur:
1. Marketing is like planting seeds, not like finding a magic bullet.
You may have heard stories from people who swear by one technique; “oh well I just did a targeted mailer and now I have clients beating down my door.” or, “I just did a few paid Facebook ads, and voila.” What they're probably forgetting to mention is that it took a lot of time and effort to find the right design, printing, copy, etc. There's always more to the story.
Good marketing means consistently trying several different methods. Do some research and pick a few marketing methods that your target audience gravitates towards like paid social media ads, networking, mailers, tradeshows, etc. Once you decide on the ways you want to attempt to market your business, stick to them for a while. Plant the seeds and give them time to grow.
2. Starting over hurts more than helps.
Don’t try something just a few times then give up and re-strategize. The fact is that when you are executing your marketing plan, you won't always see immediate feedback. Results can come weeks, months or even years down the road.
Take marketing your blog on Pinterest for example. Pins rarely go viral in a few hours, but can create a steady stream of blog traffic over time. The lifespan of a pin is endless. It will be discovered over and over for years to come, which means the article you write today is likely to bring in a client even in a year or longer from now. Don't give up and re-strategize when the blog post hasn't pulled in a client in 24 hours, because you'll lose all the time and effort that you've put in, and you're hurting the chance of someone finding you in the future.
3. Marketing will bring out your need for faith.
It may feel like you’re putting in a lot of work and getting little response at first, but if you're persistent the trickle of customers can turn into a steady stream and then a flood.
Your branding and product are very important in determining the success of your marketing, but after you've gone through your initial branding process, and received expert advice, you'll have to have some faith. Believe in your brand, believe in the advice you've gotten, and believe in your work or products. If you don't have faith in your work, you won't get very far as an entrepreneur. After all, why would anyone you're marketing to have faith in your business if you don't?
4. You can never spend enough on marketing.
Time and money. Marketing is like a fire that needs to be stoked continuously for it to keep working. It’s not something you can ever really stop spending time and money on. It will be the one thing that will need almost daily attention to grow and to make work for your business. The more you grow the more you'll have to market to maintain your success. It's never-ending. The only change as you grow is that you can usually afford to hire help (which is in fact, a great change).
So there it is. The reality. Be prepared for a long haul and don't give up. Your customers are out there, and we're rooting for you.