Have you ever wondered how to market your small business better?
Are you painfully aware that you’re under-marketing your business, even though you have so much knowledge to share and sales goals to meet?
Maybe you’ve made a schedule and jotted down email newsletter ideas – but the newsletter never gets sent.
Perhaps you know you’ll be launching an offer or going into a selling period, and when the time comes to sell, you’ve missed the pre-launch phase, where you seed your offer and gain valuable customer insights.
Or your big goals to post on LinkedIn every day have gone by the wayside.
Wherever you’re falling off in your marketing, you’re not alone.
I struggle to consistently market my business, even though I write copy and develop marketing strategies for my clients daily.
If you’re a subject-matter expert and consultant who works 1:1 with clients, you’re likely failing to market your business for the same reason I am.
We’re so dedicated to our client work that talking about what we do and how we do it seems unnecessary.
Recently, I was invited to be part of a roundtable hosted by Dr. Michelle Mazur, founder of The Expert Up Club and a messaging expert.
She welcomed Bev Feldman and me for a candid conversation about how many small business owners struggle to market their businesses for various reasons.
She recorded our conversation for her Rebel Uprising podcast, and I’m sharing some key takeaways in this blog post.
Prefer to listen? Click here for “The Dangers of Undermarketing“.
First, we’ll explore the most common reasons why small business owners under-market. Then, we’ll move into some meaningful moves you can make to become more consistent.
How to Recognize Under-Marketing in Your Business
As an established, experienced business owner, you know if you’re marketing enough and whether your marketing is working.
But it’s always helpful to stop and reflect on the state of the union.
Here are a few questions you can ask yourself for a quick assessment:
- Have you strategically planned out your marketing tactics for the quarter?
- Are you following through with them consistently?
- Are you experimenting to see what works and pivoting to see what may work better?
- Where is your audience most engaged?
- Are you aligning your marketing strategy with your sales goals?
And if you can’t remember the last time you marketed your business in any capacity, you are an under-marketer, my friend. Welcome to the club!
In all seriousness, there’s a silver lining: you can improve your marketing efforts immediately.
We’ll get to how later in the blog post, but let’s explore the why behind the what. What is stopping you from growing, engaging and selling your clients?
Reasons Why You May Be Under-Marketing
There are many reasons why marketing comes second (or last ) in our businesses. As service providers dedicated to providing clients with excellent work and services and a whole host of “CEO” jobs to do, it’s completely understandable why we opt out.
At the roundtable discussion, I shared my reasons, and attendees gave even more insight, which all aligned with why my clients hire me for marketing support.
Let’s get specific.
Lack of Time: Many business owners are stretched thin, juggling multiple roles. They often prioritize immediate operational tasks or client work over marketing, which can seem less urgent in comparison.
Insufficient Resources: Small businesses need budget to hire marketing professionals or invest in advertising. This can limit their ability to execute comprehensive marketing strategies.
Limited Marketing Knowledge: Some business owners may lack the necessary skills or knowledge in marketing. Their efforts may not yield the desired results without understanding the nuances of SEO, social media algorithms, or content marketing.
Overwhelm by Choices: The digital landscape offers myriad marketing channels and strategies. This abundance of options can be overwhelming, making it difficult for business owners to choose the right approach or to focus on a specific area.
Fear of Failure or Rejection: Marketing often involves putting yourself and your business out there for public scrutiny. Fear of negative feedback, criticism, or being ignored can be a significant deterrent.
Perfectionism: This is a big one! Some business owners hesitate to market their business until everything is “just right,” which can delay or impede marketing efforts. They tend to overthink their strategies or content, leading to paralysis by analysis.
Inconsistent Effort: Marketing requires consistent and sustained effort. Sometimes, business owners start with enthusiasm but need help to maintain momentum over time, leading to sporadic and ineffective marketing.
Underestimating Marketing’s Importance: The sad truth is that many business owners don’t fully appreciate the role of marketing in business growth. There’s a tendeancy to see it as a secondary activity rather than integral to attracting and retaining customers.
You can get by on this for a while, especially if you rely on referrals and repeat business, but you can’t predict the future.
Difficulty Measuring ROI: In digital marketing, it can be challenging to directly measure the return on investment, leading to uncertainty about the effectiveness of marketing efforts.
Rapidly Changing Trends: The fast-paced evolution of marketing trends and technologies can make it hard to keep up. What worked yesterday may not work today, and staying current requires continuous learning and adaptation.
Additionally, if you’re working in a creative, service-driven business and expend much creative energy on your clients, you might find yourself lacking ideas and energy for your own marketing.
Recognizing these challenges is the first step towards better marketing for small businesses. The next step involves adopting effective strategies and tactics to overcome these obstacles.
We’ll start with two golden rules and then move into more applicable tactics.
Your #1 Golden Rule: Be Strategic
Strategy, or the “S word,” as I like to call it as so many people seem to avoid it like the plague, is absolutely necessary to achieve your marketing and sales goals.
Every post should have a goal that supports your overarching goal as related to sales.
When cycling through the Grow -> Engage -> Sell phases of the marketing cycle, you should spell out a micro-goal for each activity long before creating the post.
Marketing efforts go awry when you post for the sake of posting or panic-type a newsletter email because you realize it’s been a million years since you last sent one out.
I am (unapologetically) constantly beating the strategy drum because there’s no point in doing any activity without an underlying goal.
Your #2 Golden Rule: Be Consistent
The second golden rule to successfully marketing your business is consistency.
All the points we’ll get into below are essential, but they mean nothing if you are not doing suitable activities regularly — not just when you remember or feel like it.
So, with consistency as our over-reaching goal – maintaining a steady presence and message across all your channels – let’s discuss how to achieve it.
Strategies to Overcome Under-Marketing
- Create a Marketing Calendar:
Planning is crucial. Map out a simple marketing calendar. Include social media posts, blog articles, email newsletters, or other marketing activities relevant to your business.
2. Regular Updates:
Decide on how often you want to post or send out content. It could be daily, weekly, or bi-weekly – the key is to be realistic and consistent.
3. Set Aside Time for Marketing:
Schedule it. Just like any important meeting, block out time in your schedule dedicated solely to marketing tasks.
Whether it’s an hour each morning or a day per week, having a routine helps you stay on track.
4. Automate Where Possible:
There are many tools for scheduling and posting to social media, and email service providers make it very easy to format and send emails in advance.
5. Keep a Content Bank & Repurpose:
Keep a notebook or a notes app where you jot down content ideas as they come. One of the most helpful strategies is to batch creation and repurpose content.
Don’t hesitate to revisit and repurpose old content. Turn an old blog post or recorded webinar into a series of social media posts or emails.
6. Monitor and Adjust:
Use analytics to track how your content is performing. Which posts get the most engagement? What time of day works best for your audience?
Adjust your strategy to respond to your findings. Consistency doesn’t mean being rigid.
7. Hire External Help:
As you’ll hear in the roundtable, I hired a social media consultant to help execute my plans which has been a huge relief and motivator.
I also appreciate collaborating with others for fresh ideas and to divide the workload.
The investment makes the difference in getting it done.
How to Market Your Small Business Better
I hope this post helps you reflect on your marketing efforts and identify any gaps and find some inspiration.
Remember, consistency in marketing is not about overnight success; it’s about building a reliable presence that grows over time.
It’s about showing up, again and again, to remind your audience why they should choose you.
If you have some time, check out the full Rebel Rising episode here.
And if you’re looking for more tips and tricks in the marketing world, don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter. Email me here: firstname.lastname@example.org with one word “Subscribe.”