Kathryn Ross, owner of Lancaster-based consulting firm Kross Strategies, is a mentor and the past vice president of marketing for SCORE Lancaster-Lebanon. She recently wrote an article for LNP on the topic of finding time to market your business. See the full article below.
Small-business owners are often consumed with daily business tasks, which leaves little time for their own marketing efforts.
One of the biggest challenges many of our SCORE clients and small-business owners have is marketing themselves. Most do not have the resources for full marketing budgets, and they have to do a lot of it on their own.
Unfortunately, marketing activities tend to get assigned a lower priority than immediate business needs.
Throughout my decades of experience in revenue generation, sales and marketing, I’ve seen so many businesses struggle to make time for their own marketing initiatives.
Since this is a problem that’s prevalent in almost every small business, we spoke with SCORE mentees and mentors in the marketing industry to see what advice they could give other businesses. Here are some of their recommendations.
Treat your business like you treat your customers
The age-old tale of the cobbler’s children having no shoes still holds true in many industries today, including marketing.
It’s easy for marketers to become so caught up in marketing for their clients that they are uncomfortable or don’t make time to market themselves, and the same may be said for you and your business.
Justin Quinn, a SCORE client and the owner of Lancaster-based content marketing firm Headline Consultants, Inc., says, “The number one reason small businesses overlook their marketing is the time involved — not the cost. Developing goals, creating a marketing plan and implementing a campaign can be overwhelming.”
His advice is always the same: “Treat your business like you treat your customers. After all, if you’re not putting your business first, no one else will.”
Don’t look for a quick fix
If a small business is looking to ramp up its marketing efforts, sometimes it aims for the quickest approach.
Another SCORE client, Char Newswanger from marketing firm Char Co.wants to remind small businesses that there is no quick fix to marketing and that “effective marketing takes patience, intention, and care; day after day.” Taking the time to truly focus on your business’s brand and figuring out how your marketing can relay your brand’s position to its customers is vital.
To build your brand, do one thing every day to better your marketing. Eric Parker, a SCORE mentor, frequently works with small businesses in various marketing disciplines and says a large part of his meeting agendas focus on developing marketing plans for small businesses.
That could include narrowing down your brand voice, working on creating cohesive branding materials or creating new written content. No matter how big or small the move you make to improve your marketing is, create a plan and take one step each day toward your goal.
Focus on the customer experience
How you treat your customers is another large part of how you can market your business. Focusing on creating a customer-centric brand that’s based on the relationship you have with your customers makes engaging online much easier.
Newswanger suggests focusing your marketing on creating a personal connection that allows your customers to engage with you and share your business with others. Creating an atmosphere based on community costs very little but provides incredible benefits.
If you’re struggling to make time for your marketing, reach out to SCORE to find a mentor who can help. Robert Smith, a SCORE mentor, also recommends using the Duke Street Business Center, which you can access online.
Taking advantage of all marketing avenues can help you create a brand that truly resonates with your customers.