When it comes to marketing, there is always a cost. It will cost you time, or it will cost you money. If you don’t have the time to invest yourself, then the choice is simple—don’t do it, or pay for it.
Think about it … how many emails, conversations or pitches have you had from people in the last week? How much time and energy did you invest in thinking, deciding or acting upon it?
I generally receive at least one interesting pitch per day. The rest are usually caught by my email spam filter, but one or two slip through and catch my attention. In most cases, I simply delete them from my inbox, but sometimes if the subject line is intriguing enough or if I confuse the name of the sender with someone that I know, then I will open and read. Very rarely does it go beyond this, for a very simple reason—priorities.
Here are five things that should take priority over the next, new thing.
- Listen to your customers. With the proliferation of social media and web publishing tools, it’s easier than ever to find out about what your customers think of you, your business, and your products and services. Check out my How to Listen infographic, and then, at a minimum, setup some basic Google Alerts. Also, follow a few blogs related to your industry, even if they are your competitors.
- Track and connect. Sometimes your potential customers come knocking on your door, but sometimes they are just signalling online. If you are not connected to your customers via LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter, you may be missing opportunities. If you use Gmail, then adding the Rapportive plug-in will let you see their emails in a social context—showing not just the email they sent you but the latest updates they have made online.
- Own the destination. I’m going to say it—you need your own website. Don’t think that a Facebook page is enough. If you own a business, you need to own your own website, plain and simple. You can get one for close to free using WordPress or sites like Posterous. Do this today if you don’t have your own website.
- Share your story. Every business has a story, and it’s not just about your products. Share your passion with your audience. Explain why you started or got involved with your business. Do it via a blog (see point 3) or via YouTube or Twitter. Take photos and share them, and don’t forget to showcase your team.
- Provide an offer. Remember, you go online to drive offline, so think about how people find you online and why they should visit you offline. Provide an online incentive of some kind—a coupon code that can be redeemed in-store, or a BOGOF (buy one get one free). Remember that your customers are seeking you out online for a reason. Make it easy for them to buy from you.