'Binge marketing' describes a behaviour I see all too often, particularly from those running a small business.
The classic cry of the binge marketeer is "I guess I'd better do some marketing". This is often said in the midst of a quiet spell with the belief that a few actions here and there will get things moving again!
It sometimes works, but often it does not. There can be many explanations for quiet spells and whilst marketing may not make you totally immune, it can certainly increase your flow of business opportunities.
Effective small business marketing is not an activity to be done in spurts, it should be constantly happening in your business. If we think of marketing as an engine, it needs to be ticking over steadily at all times. A quiet spell now, often signals a lack of marketing six or nine months ago.
Certainly there may be occasions where a particular marketing activity takes centre stage - a direct marketing campaign perhaps or a series of local advertisements - but these are tactical actions, not the whole story.
Being an ex-marketing consultant, I'm proficient at baffling people with marketing jargon, but that has no place here so let's concern ourselves with real live marketing actions that we can apply to our small business.
First up, I'd like to make 3 clear statements:
* Basic marketing is simple. * Anyone can do it and that includes YOU. * Marketing takes time to work. Stick with it and it will spread like a virus.
Let's look at a very basic marketing plan. I recommend you develop something similar for your own small business.
Daily actions As any successful network marketing person will tell you, the secret is to 'sow a seed' each and every day. We should be doing the same in our businesses. In practical terms this might translate to:
* Tell at least one person per day what you do and who you do it for * Add the name of one potential client to an on-going prospect list * Add one more personal detail about an existing client to a personal profile database * Send one letter/one email/make one telephone call to a new contact
The main point is to have marketing be the focus for at least a brief period each and every day. Start the engine, keep it ticking over.
Weekly actions Next, look at compiling a list of weekly marketing actions. These might include:
* Following up the new contacts you've made during the week * Setting aside time to make a block of calls to new prospects * Asking past customers to respond to some questions regarding your level of service * Researching your competitors and seeing where your 'point of difference' lies
Monthly actions If you're effectively handling your daily and weekly actions, your monthly actions can be a time for summarising and looking at more far reaching strategies.
This can be a good time to review the effectiveness of all the 'contact points' of your business - your initial phone greeting/voicemail message/email signature/letterheads & business cards/vehicle appearance - these all project an image. Could any be improved? Could they work harder for you?
Very importantly, I strongly recommend that every month you make voice contact (either in person or on the phone) with the people who really support your business: your advocates. These are the people who generate referrals and really help your business to grow.
When you next contemplate a binge, try instead to translate your actions into a regular program of activity. If you already have a regular program, consider how you might get the engine ticking over a little faster.
Robert Gerrish (http://www.flyingsolo.com.au) is a Sydney-based coach working with those going it alone in business (Editor's Note: he's got some great tips on his site). He can be reached at email@example.com