Marketing is essential if you want to make your small business a success. It helps you define your goals and tells the right people about you. But in order to make it work for you and your business, there are a few small business marketing truths you need to know about.
Marketing Truth #1: Rome wasn’t built in a day
I am not the most patient person – no actually, I could just hear my friends and family laugh out loud when I wrote this, so let’s rephrase that: I have no patience whatsoever.
But one thing I have learned quite early on in my marketing career is that marketing takes time. It’s a longterm game. It thrives on consistency. It’s all about the touchpoints.
Read more about why marketing takes time.
And that means that you have to be in it for the long haul if you want to reap the rewards. So one of the small business marketing truths to learn and accept is that there are no quick results.
For example, when I started sandstonecastles I had no business contacts in Scotland at all. It took me almost a year until I had everything lined up and got my first paying client.
And it took me another year of blogging, tweeting, holding workshops and giving talks before I had a reliable flow of enquiries and potential clients.
You can, of course, give your business a big push and create a buzz about your company in a short period of time. You just need a lot of money for that. However, to build a sustainable business you have to keep going to show people you’re here to stay.
Marketing Truth #2: You’ll get what you give
Another trap I have seen small business owners walk into is spreading themselves too thin. In what is an understandable thought process, they were thinking that a lot of marketing helps a lot. And they were hoping to become a success sooner by doing more.
So far so good; this is certainly something that works if you have a team to fall back on and a lot of marketing budget to spend. But most small business owners have neither staff nor budget when they get started with their marketing.
So when thinking about the most common small business marketing truths, don’t forget: As small business owners, we wear many hats. And our well-being is central to running our business. So pace yourself to keep everything moving.
Don’t do everything at once. Don’t get started on Twitter while trying to figure out what the deal is with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube at the same time.
Take it one step at a time and when you do something, do it properly. You will only get good results from your marketing if you give it your full attention.
To finish number 2 on my list of small business marketing truths: Avoid doing things in a rush just to get them done.
For example, don’t set up your Facebook advert campaign on Friday afternoon when you really just want to get out of the office. Give it time and thought – the results will be all the better for it.
Marketing Truth #3: The feel-good factor
“Marketing doesn’t work for me”, or “Marketing is just a waste of time and money”. I hear these a lot. But there is no way around marketing when running a small business. If you hate marketing, this is probably one of the hardest small business marketing truths to face.
But let’s replace ‘Marketing’ in these statements with the marketing channel you hate most. Facebook perhaps? Or advertising? Pushy, annoying sales tactics using unsolicited emails or cold calling?
Or do you get jittery when thinking about marketing in general? Yeah, you’re certainly not alone with this one.
Over the years, I’ve gotten quite a few surprised looks when I’ve told people that if they don’t like it, they don’t have to do it. And I mean it: If you hate social media or copywriting or cold calls, then DON’T DO IT.
The usual rule applies: If you do something you dislike, chances are you won’t get good results. Just think back to your school days and compare the grades of your favourite classes to the ones you hated or found boring.
But before you start celebrating, that doesn’t mean you can stop marketing altogether (sorry!). It does mean, however, that you can choose the marketing activities and channels you enjoy most. Or the ones you hate the least.
Do that and then put all your energy into it to make it work for your business. Play to your strengths!
I have a whole post here on how to choose the right marketing channels for your small business. Check it out!
Marketing Truth #4: A pinch of salt
And that leads us to the next entry in our list of small business marketing truths: What works for others doesn’t necessarily work for you.
The moment we go online, we are bombarded with suggestions and best practices for our marketing. You simply can’t avoid the voices that tell you to invest in the latest marketing trend or risk getting lost in the myriad of businesses.
Find out more about marketing trends and how important they are to your small business.
For one, you might not feel comfortable doing it, and we know how that turns out. But it’s also important to keep in mind that there is never only one solution for your marketing.
A lot of people run around and tell everyone about the surest and safest way to grow their small businesses. But marketing is not a one-size-fits-all situation.
YOU have to find the best marketing activities that help YOU achieve YOUR goals. Because your marketing is as individual as your business.
Get inspiration from other businesses and have a look at success stories and best practice advice. But always take it with a pinch of salt.
Marketing Truth #5: You can’t please everyone
One of my favourite quotes about marketing is: “If you are talking to everyone, you are talking to no one.” And I can’t emphasise enough how important this is.
Never, ever underestimate the power of knowing your market and defining your niche.
In order for your small business (and marketing) to be successful, you have to provide a solution for somebody. You have to make somebody’s life that little bit easier or more fun.
And I’m saying somebody, not everybody! Focusing your marketing on a specific audience is vital for you to be heard through the noise. Knowing what your target market needs and what your competition is offering them is what makes all the difference.
For example, you need to get new headshots done for your website. You have the choice between a photographer who does a bit of everything, and a photographer who specialises in photography that is in line with your brand – which one would you go for?
If you are interested in reading more about this topic, have a look at these:
The Key Ingredients for Successful Small Business Marketing
What’s a USP, Why Do I Need One & How Do I Get One?
How to put your Marketing Theory into Practice
How I Found My Ideal Client & What I Learned Along the Way