Over just the last month I’ve connected with three entrepreneurs who told me they rarely did any marketing for themselves or their small business.
I was really surprised. One is a freelance writer, another owns a PR agency and the third runs a software firm. Each is successful but all of them cited a lack of time as the main reason why they weren’t doing any marketing. They aren’t alone.
According to Infusionsoft, nearly one in five owners of small businesses has no plan to use any digital marketing in 2017. Of those who do, 49 percent handle marketing on their own along with their other duties.
I argued to each of my three new contacts that ignoring marketing in the long-term is a bad idea, potentially slowing the growth of their company. Here are four tips I shared with my colleagues to help them better market themselves for just a few minutes every day.
1. Start by brainstorming.
Before you can effectively market with just a few minutes a day you have to spend a few hours brainstorming what you are looking to achieve. You need a plan to guide how you’ll do marketing every day. Identify what your goals are and potential tactics for executing them.
You might be trying to get more leads, establish authority in your niche or attract more customers, which requires learning where they hang out online. Let’s say there are certain blogs your target audience reads. It would only require a little time each day to comment on the articles, share some on social media and network with the writers and editors.
That’s what I did by regularly writing for publications read by marketers and business owners, taking my time to become active with these communities while networking. But before I dived into writing for marketing-focused blogs, I had a plan of action. I took a purpose-driven approach to marketing. You need one too, otherwise your approach risks being aimless.
Related: 4 Low-Cost Marketing Strategies Every Business Should Know
2. Start with just one marketing activity.
In the beginning, eliminate excessive options and focus on just one marketing channel and one activity. Focus on a single channel, such as only marketing on LinkedIn, a podcast or Quora. Focus on a single marketing activity like interacting on behalf of your business with relevant Facebook groups.
I’ve seen small businesses focus primarily on an email newsletter to build a dialogue with their target audience, while others have spent their time being interviewed on multiple industry specific podcasts. This approach takes little time, allows you to focus on your leading priorities and gives you a timeline to dive deep into one tactic.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach. You have to determine what marketing works for you. When you are seeing results scale up your marketing efforts to a few channels and tactics at once, but only when you’ve got more bandwidth.
Related: 3 Social Media Marketing Plans for Every Startup Budget
3. Foster a marketing habit.
It’s easy to neglect marketing when business is good. Fit in 15 minutes of marketing work daily to make marketing a consistent habit.
Try working on your marketing efforts at the same time of day every day. This way it’ll be easy to remember the task and more likely that it’ll become part of your regular routine.
Making the process frictionless will make it more likely you’ll stick with your marketing while you’re still forming the habit. This might mean buying a tool to automate part of the process or doing research to understand alternative ways of executing a certain tactic.
Regardless, try to identify and manage any issues that make marketing your business clunky or irritating to improve the likelihood you’ll continue to invest in the practice.
Related: Operating on a Shoestring? 20 Inexpensive Ways to Market Your Business.
4. Reward yourself.
To stay excited about your daily marketing habit, reward yourself after you’ve achieved a particular milestone or have consistently dedicated time to marketing your business for a set period.
You could reward yourself with chocolate (which usually doesn’t hurt) but I recommend you instead slightly expand your investment in marketing to further support your progress. Whether you’ve built an email list of 800 subscribers or have successfully promoted your business for six months, allocate a portion of your budget from elsewhere to expand your advertising efforts or experiment with a new tactic you want to try.
Give yourself the opportunity to either test something new or boost what’s already engaging you and the audience you’re trying to reach. With each achievement, slowly scale what you’re doing with marketing to see continued results for your organization in the long-term.
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