Just because you put your head in the sand doesn’t mean the need to market goes away.

As we all get our heads wrapped around the fact that a new year is here (gulp!), we are all faced with similar challenges as business owners. From my perspective, as a marketing consultant, I am hearing the following from my clients,

“Do I HAVE TO?” and another one is,

“I’m too overwhelmed right now to even think about marketing. I just want to run my business.”

This is normal. We all face challenges as business owners- making business plans, coming up with marketing strategies, and setting financial goals. There is a lot to do to run a successful business, including incorporating marketing into that already somewhat burdened equation-

Oh wait, did I just hear you say, “But I don’t have a 2016 marketing plan in place…what should I do?”

First off, breathe. It’s ok. It’s not too late. In fact, it’s never too late to make a marketing plan.

Yes. You read that right. You need to create some sort of a marketing plan for a period of time, ideally a year, or at least the next few months. Don’t be scared. You can do it. It doesn’t have to be 20 items long, but it does need to be applicable to what you do, are and sell.

Here are some tips to getting your marketing on track:

  1. Make time for marketing. It could be once a week or once a day. Schedule time for it like you would any other meeting or business activity. For example, set Tuesdays as your blogging day or Social Media posting day, then create a list of topics you want to talk about and share with your audiences. (Hint: If you make a list, you are on your way to a plan- just sayin’!)If you’re going to market, make it a habit. Your potential customers get confused if you do something once and then fail to keep it going. (I’m looking at you Social Media posters. If you post once to Facebook, and then not again for a year, you’re sending the message that you’ve turned off the lights and gone home (in a virtual sense at least)).
  2. Know where your customers hang out. Are you communicating to your potential customers on the right channels and in the right ways? If your business targets the millennial generation, they are probably not going to respond well to direct mail. They like to receive information online, more so than in the snail mailbox.
  3. Know your message and product (and how they relate to each other). If you don’t really understand what you’re selling, neither will your potential customer. Take the time to drill the product or service description down into digestible and easy to follow language. Extra points for knowing why a potential customer should buy from you!

I can’t stress enough how critical it is to the growth of your business to do even just a little marketing every day. Remember, marketing is the first step to sales- it’s not the same as sales, BUT you do need strong marketing to close the deal.

My recommendation is that you take 10 minutes and think about ways you can get your name out there. Start small, but start something.