Marketing is important to every business. It helps attract new customers, maintain relationships with existing ones, and raises your profile, but it can be costly. Many things come down to finding ways to save time and money, because time = money.
If you’re a small business owner, then your time is precious. There are ongoing projects to complete, meeting customers, staff to manage, daily operations and finances to reconcile. Plus, the task of marketing your business to attract new customers and keep your sales opportunities strong.
If you’re new to marketing or struggling with it, it can feel like so much work. What if you could do just a little bit each day?
Marketing works best if you promote your business little and often. The more you can keep the conversation going with your audience, the more likely they will remember you and your company – and that’s going to be critical for keeping your new business pipeline strong.
Implementing a marketing plan isn’t as difficult as it sounds and will save you lots of time trying to come up with ideas daily – and it’ll stop you from wasting time on marketing that doesn’t move your business forward in the right direction. It doesn’t need to be a grand 100-page document, a simple one-page plan will get you going.
You can spend a little time planning what exactly marketing looks like for your business, then just follow it each day.
Here are a few tips for what to include:
- Company vision – define where you want the company to be in five years’ time
- Audience – understanding who your audience is and what they want will help you figure out how best to reach them
- Competitors – analyse the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors with a quick SWOT analysis (identifying your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats)
- Marketing goals – the direction you want your business to take as a result of this marketing plan – more leads, better conversion rates, etc.
- Tactics – what you will do to achieve your goal and where e.g. social media, blogs etc.
- Measurements – how you will track your success, for example, yearly revenue, number of customers, products & services, and market share.
Once you have your plan in place, you can really start marketing your business. There are a number of ways you can do this, and I’ll give you some tips on how to keep them from consuming all your time up.
Being found online is vital to stay ahead of your competition.
Heading online to research a product or service is an everyday occurrence, so you need to make the most of the opportunity. Your website is an opportunity to make a great first impression, reassure people that you’re a real business, and showcase your products or services.
Building a website doesn’t need to be expensive or take months to implement. There are many companies, including Yell, that offer a low-cost build and hosting of websites using content management systems (CMS) such as Wix. CMSes are really easy to use, so it’ll be quick for you to update your website content regularly.
Search Engine Optimisation
Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO, is key to getting found online. There’s no point in having an amazing website if no one can find it in search engine results.
Try and keep it simple. Don’t try to rank for every keyword under the sun, it’s just too much work for a small business. Focus on about 20 really important keywords or phrases initially. Use your keywords on relevant pages on your site to help them rank higher in the search results, and write lots of blogs around those topics.
While even a few keywords may sound time-consuming, you can do a little each week as part of your marketing plan.
Social media is a great way to market your business, but you may feel overwhelmed with the thought of needing to post in multiple places several times a week. If that sounds like you, then a social media scheduling and management tool might be worth investing in, as it can save you lots of time by posting on multiple channels at once.
With a social media management tool such as Yell’s Reputation Manager, you can:
- Manage multiple social media accounts under one login
- Schedule posts
- Engage with your audience in real-time
- Spend more time creating better content
- Ensure you never miss an important message
To be more efficient, you need to have the right tools and to manage your time well. It sounds costly but doesn’t need to be, there are plenty of free marketing tools available to help you save time. Here are a few of my favourites:
If you’re lacking design skills or just stuck for inspiration, online tools like Canva can be a quick and easy way to access free templates to create posts, reels and stories for Instagram, Facebook posts and covers, as well as TikTok and YouTube videos.
Canva isn’t just for social media, there are templates for business cards, logos, flyers, brochures, posters, presentations etc. In fact, all your marketing design needs can be found on one handy site.
HubSpot’s free marketing tools include a CRM, email marketing, live chat, forms, ads, reports, and more. Using an all-in-one tool can dramatically cut down the time you spend on marketing, helping you turn your leads into customers.
The free version of MailerLite is the perfect starter email marketing system. You get access to customisable email templates to save you time creating emails, as well as forms and landing pages, basic reporting and analytics, and integrations to 300+ 3rd party apps like Facebook and Canva.
Yell for Business app
The Yell for Business app not only gets your business listed for free on the Yell network which includes Apple Maps, Amazon Alexa and Bing Maps, you can also use it to update your details, request reviews, create invoices to send to customers and lots more. It also acts as a remote control for a range of Yell products including Reputation Manager, so you can manage your business details, social media posts and online reviews on the go, 24-7.
The best tip for streamlining your content production is to repurpose it.
One blog post can be broken down into bitesize snippets of information and distributed on multiple channels, for example turning stats into an infographic or multiple posts to social media. Similarly, a podcast could be turned into smaller video clips or even generate ideas for blogs and articles. Redistributing content isn’t restricted to online. Brochures can be broken down into posters, presentations become multiple flyers – you get the idea.
My final tip for saving time marketing your business is networking. Get out there and meet people to spread the word.
Networking doesn’t just have to be attending trade shows in person, many events now run virtually as well. Check out Eventbrite for a list of events going on in your area.
Meeting people lets you find opportunities quickly and helps other business owners get to know you, so when they’re next looking for your product or service, you’ll be on their radar.