The work is rolling in … but will it last?

Why you should promote your business especially when you’re busy

Our business is ticking along nicely. We have work coming in at a steady pace and we’re completing our projects on time and within budget. We’re happy, our customers are happy and our families are happy because we’re taking on a really nice family holiday soon.

We’ve worked hard to ensure our business is in a good place and is building steadily. Every part of our workflow and business is planned … except our marketing, we figure we don’t need it as there’s plenty of work coming in.

Like most things in life, business goes in cycles and one of the (many) keys to success is picking when the cycles are working in our favour and when we need to give them a little nudge to steer them in our direction. This is where marketing comes in. Good business marketing will ensure the cycles are more likely to work in our favour when the slow times come. And they will come. The biggest businesses in the world still have slow times but they have processes in place to help prevent the slow times becoming extreme. A slow time for an unprepared small to medium business can ruin it.

During the busy times it’s easy to throw all our resources at the work at hand to the detriment of other aspects of our business. When the slower times arrive we then have to try and drum up new business in a hurry before the cash (or credit) runs out. These swings form large hills and valleys in our business cashflow (as well as our stress levels) while the average plateaus.

Marketing needn’t cost a lot of money either. There are simple things a business can do that, when done regularly, will keep them in the customers mind. Obviously these will depend on the type of business but social media is the current darling of cheap advertising. This doesn’t mean just posting on Twitter or Facebook every now and again. There are many ways that a business can utilise multiple social media platforms to increase the return on their investment.

Keeping our website up to date and posting on social media sites will keep our current customers informed of what we’re up to and what they can expect from us. But how do we get new customers via social media? Customers will gravitate towards a business they feel they can trust. So one of our first tasks is to give the customer a reason to trust our business. We need to let them know we’re an expert in our field and. Advertising alone doesn’t demonstrate our expertise.

Writing articles, guides, training material, blog posts and creating videos are all good methods of demonstrating we know what we’re doing. This may seem like giving away our hard-earned knowledge but what it’s really doing is filtering out the low-return customers, the tyre-kickers who just want something for nothing. It leaves behind the potential customers who are prepared to invest in their business and will generally be willing to form long-term relationships with business partners. These are the clients we want as they form a much more stable client base and keep the valleys higher and the average on an upward trend.

Some considerations and benefits of good marketing:

  • We need to be clear who we are marketing to
  • Creating a marketing plan will help us focus on our business goals
  • Stay front and centre in the customers’ minds
  • Build credibility in our business
  • Make it easier to cross- and up-sell to clients as they’re already aware of our other products and services
  • Create good routines
  • Allow us to be proactive rather than reactive to changes in the market

‘Marketing is food not medicine’

Marketing should become a part of our business strategy as much as any other aspect of the business. But remember, it’s a snowball. Building a website or a Facebook page doesn’t mean we will suddenly get an influx of new business. We must build marketing into our business and build it up along with the rest our business.