Running Toward Success
Spring is right around the corner and I’ve got running on the mind. It’s a bit strange to hear myself say that because for most of my life I hated running. Well, I didn’t hate every aspect of it – I DID like the feeling that came with finishing a run. Recently, it occurred to me that running is a lot like marketing a small business. We all like the results (big revenue numbers and great profits) but sometimes the work to get the results can feel tedious and even daunting. Let me share some advice a friend once gave me. It helped me learn to love running, and it’ll make you a better marketer and business owner.
- Have a Goal: One of the biggest mistakes most small businesses make is engaging in random acts of marketing. They place an ad, or two, go to a trade show their friend recommends, maybe blog a little and they call it marketing. In order for your marketing to be effective, you must have a goal. Short and long term goals are important for measuring success and gauging effectiveness. My friend encouraged me to sign up for a race. Once I had a specific target in mind, it was much easier (and more exciting) to measure my progress.
- Follow a strategy: Once you have a goal – you need a strategy. This includes knowing who your target audience is, what you want to say to them, and how you want to say it. This is a great place to get some help from the professionals. In my example – I knew I wanted to run a race. I even knew when that race was, but I had no idea how to train effectively and prepare for it. I sought advice and coaching from a professional. He laid out a detailed plan that eventually lead to my success. The same is true with your businesses. Simply knowing that you need a website as part of your strategy is not enough. What will your website do? How will people find your website? What will be the voice of your brand? How will you utilize social media? Etc. Your strategy is the road map to achieving your goals.
- Use the right tools: Once you have your strategy laid out and your goals in place, you need to decide which tools to use. For example, if your customers are searching for your product or service online (and finding your competition instead of you) some of tools you might consider are SEO Services, Social Media Marketing (SMM), and SEM. If you have a physical store front or attend trade shows, print marketing such as brochures would also be in your toolbox. In short, using the right tools will save you time, money and energy. For me, this meant tossing out my beloved pair of 5 year old trainers and shelling out some dough for a real pair of running shoes. The difference was night and day.
Marketing (or running) doesn’t have to be painful, but it can be frustrating if you don’t know what you are doing or where you are going. Have a goal, follow a strategy and use the right tools–that feeling of achieving success is so worth it.