Taking the “SHOULD” out of your marketing

How to break free of the marketing activities
that everyone else says you should be doing!

Woman with lots of stickies

As a small business owner, responsible for pretty much everything from running the finances, to making the tea, from organising your diary to doing the marketing, have you ever felt overwhelmed by all the different marketing activities you think you should be doing – because everyone else is?

I know I have done in the past!

I have spoken to three people in the last week or so where the topic of conversation was just this: what marketing should I be doing and how do I know it’s the right thing?

With more and more ways to communicate with your target market, it seems that the choices for marketing activity is just growing. The explosion of social media has just compounded this. For example some people say that to be effective in your marketing you SHOULD be doing a monthly email newsletter, a weekly or daily blog, Twittering like crazy and regular online networking etc.

WRONG! Your marketing, your specific marketing for your specific small business, is just that: specific. Just because other people are doing those things, doesn’t mean you have to or SHOULD.

What you should be doing is looking at what type of marketing is relevant to your business and what type of marketing works for you. I’m not saying DON’T do these things – but ONLY do them if they will help promote your business effectively and in a worthwhile way – don’t forget you have to find the time to do all these things or the money to find someone to do them for you – so only do it if it’s worth it.

Ok there some types of marketing that you absolutely need to do for your business, such as a logo, a brand, a business card and a website. But with so many ways to market your small business these days you need to be selective.

qanda-on-whiteSo how do you work out what it is you SHOULD be doing in your marketing?

It’s quite simple… You need to:

  1. Work out exactly WHAT you are selling (or marketing)
  2. WHY you are selling it (and how)
  3. and WHO you are selling it to.

If you can define, understand and set down the answers to these three questions (which essentially are the building blocks of your business brand and business offering) then knowing how to market your business is the easy part.

For example, if you are offering a product or service to a group of people who do not use the online world, then Twittering, blogging and email newsletters are not the way to market to them.

I know you might be thinking that any marketing or profile is good and you might be right – but you have to prioritise. With so many things to do as a small business owner, you absolutely HAVE to prioritise and so yes you can Twitter if you want to, but don’t make it a priority when putting together your marketing plan if your target market are just not online.

A simple example but I hope you get the idea.

Pick and choose your marketing – but know why…

I am currently in the middle of a series called “17 Ways to Generate Leads for your Business” which is essentially a list of ways to market and promote your small business. (And I have added a few as we have gone on and so now there are 20 but it’s too late to change the title!)

pick-n-mixThis series if you took it at face value and did everything on the list then I am not sure you would have time to actually run your business – properly that is! But it is a very useful list of “How Tos” from which you can pick and choose the methods of marketing you want to use for your business and those that are most appropriate. I have actually categorised these 20 Ways into Non-Negotiables, Good-to-Haves and… The Rest.

Ok so if you ARE feeling overwhelmed with all the marketing you think you SHOULD be doing – take a breathe and go through those three questions to understand your business and your target market better and then prioritise the type of marketing that will appeal to your market.

The key to effective marketing is: communicating your clearly defined offering and brand to a well-understood target market in a way they will be most likely to respond to.

So I’m hoping you can see that marketing isn’t just something you SHOULD be doing. It is much more fundamental than that. It IS understanding your business and offering, understanding why you are in this business – what’s your driving force and passion?; and who your target market really is (and this will give you insight into how they will react to your marketing).

Don’t just do the marketing activities that you think are going to work for your business because other people are doing – take action to really know how you should be marketing your small business and the do it with confidence not pressure.