Marketing: It doesn't have to be a journey full of delays

By Emma Saldanha

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Can your business survive without marketing?

My personal opinion is ‘no’. Though, I wouldn’t go as far as Bill Gates who said: “If your business is not the internet, then, your business will be out of business”. But, then he did have a vested interest for saying that.

All businesses do some form of marketing, even if you think they don’t.

For instance; signage on a shop is marketing. Having the business name printed on the side of a vehicle is marketing.

Many small business owners start to become nervous about marketing when they want to take it to the next level. The next level could be designing a website, launching their products online or building up an audience on social media.

There are so many different channels to choose from and without previous experience, it may seem difficult to know which is the right path to take.

I think what happens is that many business owners over think things. It is like the snowball effect: the idea starts off small and then as it gets added to, it gets bigger and bigger. It then seems so daunting and unmanageable, that it seems easier to leave it.

When first starting out with marketing, the best rule is to keep it simple. The most important thing is deciding what the message will be. What it is you want to tell the public about your product or service. The message must inform your customers how your product or service will help them, not how great it is.

For example, I am a freelance writer. Business owners come to me because they do not have the experience or time to write content for their website or marketing materials. I take this problem away by creating great content for them.

The next stage is to determine who your customers are and how you can reach them. This could either be through your own website, on a networking site (LinkedIn, Facebook etc), trade subscription magazines or even through Yellow Pages. And don't ignore the power of 'word of mouth' recommendations. If a customer is happy with the service they have received from you, ask them to recommend you to friends and family. The best bit of recommendations, is that, they cost you absolutely nothing. 

Finally, don’t put your eggs in one basket. Finding the route that is best for you is in the beginning trail and error. If something doesn’t work, don’t get discouraged by it. Look at why it didn’t work and think how you can improve it next time!

 

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