Everyone has the same amount of time in a day—24 hours, that’s what we’ve got. And I bet you have lots of people telling you how to spend that time. Your family, your friends, your colleagues, they all have lots of advice on what to do and how to do it. None of us can do it all, so we need to decide who and what to listen to. In some circumstances it’s probably easy; in others, probably not.
When it comes to growing your business, I bet that advice leans towards this kind of talk. Your teenager insists you must put your business on Facebook, your peers keep sending you articles about the miracle of blogging for business, and marketing salespeople are around every corner. No matter where you look or who you listen to, everyone will be telling you something different when it comes to how to market your business. How on earth do you know what advice to take and what tactics to choose?
First, it’s important to know there is no one magic marketing formula that’s going to work for every printer out there, so let’s not spend our precious hours looking for one. There’s no such thing as a best fit for everyone, just as there is no one style of shoe that feels comfortable on every foot. Second, when it comes to expert advice, keep the one tip in mind we’ve probably all heard from our mothers at some point, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” Last but certainly not least, it’s important to listen to the one person who knows your business best. The one who’s been standing on the front lines since opening day. It’s time to listen to the expert in you.
I know what you’re thinking, “So, Tawnya, are you telling me to quit paying attention to the trends and ignore the experts?” Absolutely not. I wouldn’t be writing this column if I believed that. We have to know what’s out there to choose from and be armed with as much knowledge about marketing best practices as possible. But here’s the kicker— we don’t have to do all of it. We don’t have to feel inadequate if we aren’t able to do all of it. And we certainly don’t have to do something we know in our gut isn’t good for our business simply because “everyone else is doing it.”
Take what you learn from those experts, peers, friends, and family, filter it through what you believe will work best in your specific situation, and then come to terms with your specific time, money, and ability limitations. Let’s talk through the examples I mentioned earlier.
A Place on the Face
Your teenager can probably point out at least a hundred other printers that have Facebook fan pages (the “business” version of a Facebook profile—essentially, a mini-website). He may show you that XYZ Printer has an amazing number of “fans” on his page (people that show their support for these businesses by becoming “fans” of their page). Your teen swears you should have a Facebook page, too. Now these are all really great points, and all very true. But what works for those other printers may not be the best fit for you, no matter how many fans they’ve found. Maybe they have a different customer base; maybe they even offer different products and services. So take your teen’s advice, take a step back and make sure that spending a few of your precious 24 hours on Facebook makes sense for your business.
Consider your customers. Are they on Facebook? If you started telling them, “Visit us on Facebook,” would they really comply? Next, consider your business’ budget, time constraints, and staff ability. A lot of people tend to jump on the Facebook bandwagon because it’s “free marketing,” but as we all know, time is money, so be sure to account for the time it takes to create and update your page consistently. Consistency is key, so be sure you have the time to devote both now and a year from now to keep your page updated and vibrant.
You can apply these same Facebook principles to every marketing decision you make. Replace “Facebook” with about any other marketing or business growth idea and this advice holds true.