An extract from my second book, Power Climb: Growing Your Small Business which was published in 2012.
Who works in sales & marketing? You do.
If you are like many business owners, you started your business to do the things you love. Sales and marketing probably weren’t high on the list yet now these are additional tasks that you need to include.
This could involve a marketing budget and learning more about marketing, tasks you may not have budgeted for in either time or money.
With Social Media it is possible to generate interest and new clients with just time as an investment – indeed several people I know have built their own website into one of the top ranked sites by this method.
You can usually exchange time for money when it comes to marketing, but you should be aware that your own time isn’t free as it is potentially costing you billable hours. You should also consider the differing quality of results from doing things yourself as opposed to hiring a professional.
If you believe some of the negative stories in the press about the economy and don’t invest in marketing, you could find that this actually results in those stories becoming true.
A great story to illustrate this, is the famous one about the hot dog seller:
“A Man lived by the side of the road…and sold hot dogs.
He was hard of hearing, so he had no radio.
He had trouble with his eyes, so he had no newspaper. But he sold good hot dogs.
He put up a sign on the highway, telling how good they were.
He stood by the side of the road and cried, “Buy a hot dog, mister!”
And People bought. He increased his meat and bun order, and he bought a bigger stove to take care of his trade.
He got his son home from college to help him.
But then something happened. His son said, “Father, haven’t you been listening to the radio? There’s a big Depression on.
The international situation is terrible, and the domestic situation is even worse.”
Whereupon the father thought, “Well, my son has gone to college. He listens to the radio and reads the newspaper, so he ought to know.”
So, the father cut down on the bun order, took down his advertising sign, and no longer bothered to stand on the highway to sell hot dogs.
His hot dog sales fell almost overnight.
“You were right, son”, the father said to the boy. “We are certainly in the middle of a Great Depression.””
Marketing is a continuous process, whether it is paid for by time or money.
However, with the current financial situation, now is an ideal opportunity to get ahead as your marketing will be more effective when others are cutting back as there is less noise to distract people.
It’s something I did myself in 2012, offering a discount for tax returns early in the tax year. Whilst it can be somewhat unusual for discounts to be offered by an accountancy practice, there is a win win for both myself and the client.
The client saves money on their accounts and tax return, as well as having the reassurance that their affairs are completed ahead of the deadlines.
Once they know the tax liability for the year they can then plan for it and concentrate on their business rather than worry about tax. The benefit for me is that it reduces the year end workload, and increases capacity to take on more new clients in January 2013.
I have noticed a few other companies use marketing strategies for a win/win – for example my garage recently ran a promotion for a free health-check on your car, together with a free breakfast and also including a complimentary car wash and vacuum.
From the customer’s point of view the benefits are obvious, for the garage it continues customer contact, as well as potentially allowing preventative maintenance to be undertaken should it be required.