February 8, 2012
In many of the small businesses I’ve worked with — and in our business too — marketing consistently is challenging. I’m not telling you what type of marketing you should do for your business, because every enterprise should have their own marketing plan and approach based on their company goals, target demographic, etc. What I do suggest though, is that whatever your strategy, you must market consistently for it to be effective.
What I mean by marketing consistently is conveying your message and performing your marketing strategy on a regular schedule. The trap that many (including myself) have fallen into, is marketing only when you have time. This leads to spikes in busy times and down times. Many businesses have some seasonality to their customer flow. The less busy times are when you have time to market, so you do. This can lead to your normally busy times being even busier. Of course, now you are so busy that you don’t have time to do your marketing. The cycle continues. Here are a few tips to help you market consistently.
Use a marketing calendar.
I advocate having a rolling one-year marketing calendar. The calendar should illustrate your next 12 months of marketing activities. This calendar will help you identify when you have holes in your marketing strategy. Plan to cover up these holes. If you send out a mailer every six weeks, for instance, then think about what you can do half-way through each cycle. If you do a lot during the holiday season, what can you do similarly in the spring/summer months?
Use your team to keep you on track.
Utilize those around you to make the marketing plan happen. Perhaps during your busy times, again when marketing tends to fall off, make sure you have marketing tactics planned that your team can administer without much direction from you. Maybe you have an employee who enjoys writing or using Facebook or Twitter — utilize his/her skills and ability to enhance your marketing approach. By spreading the responsibility, you maintain marketing on a regular consistent basis.
Don’t be afraid to outsource.
There are a lot of great professionals out there who are worth what you may pay for them. Find one who has experience in your industry so you can leverage not only their general marketing expertise but also their expertise with your specific target customer. A marketing professional can help you with planning your strategy, the execution of your strategy… or both! You can use them to perform one particular piece of your plan — website optimization, for example. Or use them to be your resource when you don’t have the time to commit to consistent marketing.
Want to see more consistent results? The answer is consistent marketing.