I’m currently writing this on a flight back from visiting a client in Athens. Whenever I’m travelling, I find it a good time to sit back and think (usually in a hotel bar) and come up with blog article ideas, based around my editorial strategy. I separate the ideas in two columns - ‘definitely’ and 'maybe'. This article sat promptly at the top of the ‘definitely’ column. That’s because I’m convinced that this is the number one issue many small businesses face with their marketing… and that issue is that they’re not doing any, or they’re doing very little.
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Marketing inaction is often the reason why businesses aren’t generating the growth they seek. It’s not that they don’t want to do marketing. Quite the opposite. Business leaders and whoever is responsible for marketing spend hours talking about what they want to do… but they don’t actually get around to doing it. Here are some reasons why I think this is the case:
- They’re scared of doing it wrong
- They get caught up in the whirlwind of operational work
- They don’t really know what they’re doing, so procrastinate
Here is why each of these is wrong:
Scared of doing it. If you have some business acumen (which I’m sure you do) it’s highly unlikely that you’re going to do something with your marketing that will do damage to your company. That’s because there is very little evidence of marketing campaigns that have done catastrophic damage. The worst that will happen is your marketing will achieve nothing, then at least you would have learnt a valuable lesson about what doesn’t work (always test and measure so you don’t risk too much money or resources). So be brave and just run that marketing campaign that you’ve been moving along in your to-do list.
Caught up in the whirlwind. Ah yes, we all suffer from this and it affects much more beyond marketing. The whirlwind is all of the day-to-day operational work that needs to be done, but you’re not sure whether it ever really gets you anywhere. Probably best described as the urgent but not important work, if you’re a fan of Ansoff’s Matrix. I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for this. I love busying myself with tasks that I can tick off a to-do list and it takes discipline to silence the notifications and do some ‘deep work’, on activities that will grow your business. So, schedule time for your marketing activity, and don’t let the whirlwind sneak into and then blow away that time. It’s crucial for moving your business forward.
You don’t really know what you’re doing. If you don’t have an experienced marketing resource, you might not really know what you’re doing so keep putting it off. It’s ok to not be sure. Here are a couple of tips. Get access to an experienced marketing resource - you can either use an agency or a freelancer. Can’t afford it? Have a Google. There are so many marketing guides and a never-ending stream of advice for you to follow. You can read our blogs, or Hubspot is usually a good resource. Finally, just give it a go. Marketing defies logic all of the time and it’s not only the tried and tested methods that work. Just read the book ‘Alchemy’ to give yourself confidence that sometimes the ideas that don’t make sense have the biggest impact. Plus, good marketing is often just common sense. Understand your audience - their pains and what they’re trying to achieve - and use marketing to appeal to them or help them to solve a problem. As long as your intention is sound and you truly understand who it is you serve, you won’t go too far wrong.
It wouldn’t be an article from me if I didn’t give a plug to consistency. Marketing is not a one-off campaign that you only run when you’re short on leads. It is an ongoing discipline that covers your whole business. Your marketing strategy should include some hard-hitting campaigns, as well as ongoing communications.
So, are you ready to dust off that marketing hat and start to consistently do the marketing you have been meaning to do? Great. Let me know if this article struck a chord and you have taken action as a consequence of reading. I’d love to hear it.
If content marketing is one such part of your marketing mix that you’ve been meaning to get underway, get in touch - we’d love to see if we can help you to achieve your goals.