There are 1001 ways to market and promote your business products and services, and it can be difficult to know exactly what to do.
The main challenge for most business owners is consistency, patience and not becoming overwhelmed by the huge number of options that are available to you.
You may be wondering how you can:
- create more awareness of your business
- make sure more people find out about what you do
- get more customers
- keep in touch with your customers
These questions and challenges come up time and time again when I’m facilitating workshops and discussing marketing with business owners, and I have a solution for you.
The following six aspects are the marketing activities that I committed to for the first 18 months to grow awareness of Learning Everyday, build authority, get customers and keep in touch with people.
There is no doubt that these six marketing methods will also work for you. My hope is that you will read this and take action.
Your six step marketing plan
One – Network like crazy
It’s a fact that the most successful people have the biggest networks. Successful people know a lot of people, and more importantly, people know, like and trust them.
In most cases when I’m discussing marketing with business owners their network is simply not big enough. There are not enough people out there that know about who they are and what they do.
It’s important to remember that although a lot of things now happen online, people still like to do business with, and refer their network to, people that they know, like and trust.
So with all this in mind, get yourself to every event that you can.
This is especially necessary at the start of your business, and will continue to be important as your business grows.
In time you will become more selective of the events you attend, but that will hopefully be because you have less time due to having more customers.
Make sure everyone knows who you are and what you do.
- Make good friends with the organisers of the networking events you attend
- Promote the events you are going to and attending using Twitter
- Follow up with everyone – connect on Twitter, LinkedIn and follow up with a personal email
Click here to read more articles about networking.
Two – Publish regular blog articles
You may be tempted to skip this step, and that’s why I’ve put blogging second on the list. Please do not skip this step.
Blogging is one of the most effective ways for you to get your message to your audience, and to build a relationship with people online.
It also works really well for continuing to build relationships with people that you meet offline.
It’s a very well tried and tested method and yet a lot of businesses still do not do it.
Start your blog today.
Click here to find out more about blogging.
Three – Build your website
You absolutely must build and develop your main platform – your website. It’s OK if your website starts off as a simple blog, but you then have to build in the content around it; the services you offer, information about who you are and why you do what you do, how people can contact you, etc.
People that you meet will want to know more about you, the services you offer and how they can do business with you – your website will be where they want to find this information.
Your website and blog will join the dots from your offline world to your online world. Provided it’s all done well, it ill provide you with additional credibility.
Click here to find out more about WordPress websites.
Four – Online networking and social outreach
There are a lot of interesting and relevant conversations happening online that you can tap into. This is called social outreach and the two best channels for this are Twitter and LinkedIn.
In short, find out where your audience are hanging out and hang out there and get involved in the conversation with them. You don’t always have to be creating content to be effective on social channels.
Here are some effective things you can do:
- Use Twitter search to find relevant conversations.
- Reply, retweet, and get involved in the conversation on twitter.
- Build Twitter lists to help you to group the right people together.
- Engage with local businesses.
Click here to find out more about Twitter.
One of the valuable places you can tap into on LinkedIn is the groups. At the time of writing you can join up to 50 groups, which is plenty to keep you busy.
Similar to Twitter, my advice is to find relevant groups for your industry, where your audience are hanging out, and join in the conversation there.
Tip: During your online networking you will find inspiration for blog ideas. So when you are engrossed in all of this online activity, note down the questions your audience are asking and the problems they are sharing.
Five – Grab speaking opportunities
As you start to grow your network and get out to more events, speaking opportunities will become available to you. Make sure the event organisers in your area know that you are willing to do it – put your hand up and let them know.
Take any opportunity that you can to get in front of people to tell people about what you do and why you do it. An even better way to get your message across is to show people what you do – perhaps you can run a free workshop for a local authority like the Chamber of Commerce?
Public speaking is a fantastic way to get in front of more people, raise awareness of your brand and build authority.
Six – Email communication
Email remains an effective way to communicate with people. It is a great way to keep your message and your brand ‘top of mind’. When people are looking for what it is that you offer, it’s easy for them to remember and contact you.
You can set up a Mailchimp account for free, which will allow you to communicate with your audience by email in a professional manner.
You can use email to send your audience:
- New content from your blog
- Information about events you are going to be at
- Relevant content that you find online (curated content)
- Regular newsletters
- Surveys and questionnaires
Great communication, great listening and great teaching
Before I wrap this up, I feel like I have to mention that in most cases these channels should not be used for selling stuff.
There should be very little sales messages, apart from on your services pages on your website, and perhaps the odd email.
There are so many bad examples where people just jump into online channels, forums and groups and just pitch their services and products. This is the best way to turn people off!
The best way to approach any online networking is just like how you would talk to people normally in the offline world – listen, be kind, and be helpful.
My advice to you is to approach everything with your focus on helping people, not selling. AND HAVE FUN!
I strongly urge you to watch this video from Marcus Sheridan, who is highly regarded as a master communicator and marketer.
Get ahead of your competition
You will have noticed that I have mixed up online and offline communication methods, as I still believe that the strongest connections come from meeting people face-to-face.
Remember that the main challenge for most business owners is consistency. Therefore, if you can commit to doing these things today, and maintain a consistent plan of action, you will get ahead of most other businesses and your competition.
- What are your current marketing challenges?
- What would you add to this list and why?
- Have you got a burning questions about marketing?
Please join the conversation in the comments section below.
Don’t forget to be awesome!