Becoming self-employed can be liberating, exhilarating, frustrating and terrifying. Often all at the same time. Most entrepreneurs I meet know they need to be doing marketing. They just often lack a clear sense of what marketing is, or they have no idea where to start. Here are the seven most common mistakes I see new business owners making with their marketing (and how to fix them):
1. They don’t do any – New consultants tend to focus their attention on the skill they offer their clients. Usually they are very talented at that skill, they’re just not talented at talking with people about it, or explaining how it will help others. If you aren’t doing any marketing don’t be surprised if the world does not beat a path to your door. People won’t know you’re out there if they never hear about you.
2. They market inconsistently – Although it’s better than not doing any, marketing in a hit-or-miss manner is not a recipe for success. Massive brands like Coke and McDonalds didn’t get that way by approaching their marketing as an afterthought. Without consistent effort it is difficult to stay top-of-mind.
3. They have no plan – It takes a plan to identify the best opportunities and timing to reach your ideal customer. Drafting an annual marketing plan forces you to identify your goals, target audience, geographic market, key messages and the tactics you will use to spread the word. Don’t skip this step.
4. They fail to delegate it – As a business owner you wear many hats but it doesn’t mean you have to do it all yourself. There are lots of administrative assistants, virtual assistants and interns who can take many of the basic tasks of marketing off your plate, freeing you to focus on serving customers and selling.
5. They fail to fund it – While some tactics like social media require only time and no money, other marketing initiatives do require funds. Take a look at your expected revenues and determine an appropriate amount to invest. By seeing your budget as a whole you can better invest those dollars wisely.
6. They see it as an expense and not an investment – When done correctly, marketing is an investment, not an expense. It’s not like your rent which flows out every month never to be seen again. The dollars you spend finding the right people and letting them know about you should flow back to you in the form of new business.
7. They expect immediate results – Marketing is both an art and a science. There is no one silver bullet that will completely provide you with all the business you could ever want. It takes time for your target customer to feel ready to buy, so commit to a long-term view to get the best results in marketing your consulting business.
Barbara Wayman, president of BlueTree Media, LLC, publishes The Stand Out Newsletter, an award-winning ezine for people who want to know how to leverage the power of marketing and public relations. Get your free subscription today at http://www.bluetreemedia.com
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©2010 Barbara Wayman, BlueTree Media, LLC.