We come across a range of clients from sole traders right up to large, multi-site International organisations with 100s of consultants. Whilst the biggest of those will almost inevitably have a dedicated marketing manager or team, and the smallest are often entrepreneurial by definition, the large space in the middle doesn’t always have a dedicated marketing function.
This post is a little marketing primer for non-marketers. Whilst we’re certainly not perfect in that respect, we do have a couple of dozen years of marketing experience between us. We know what we should be doing (even if, like you, were usually too busy to do it). But what should you be doing with that mythical ‘spare time’ for developing the business?
We’ll try to draw a distinction between newer style, ‘inbound’ marketing activities, as opposed to more traditional ‘interruption’ marketing — print ads, radio slots, trade shows, etc. You should definitely aim to do the kind of marketing that builds your brand ethically without annoying your audience.
‘White hat’ inbound marketing
It was easy to tell the good guys from the bad guys in the old cowboy movies — the good guys wore white hats. If only it was that easy in real life. White hat is ethical marketing.
These activities will do the most good with the least annoyance:
- SEO and PPC (search engine optimisation and pay per click advertising). Requires time and good software, budget if you go down the PPC route (Google Adwords, LinkedIn ads)
- Email marketing. IF you validate your lists and have opt-in permissions. Time, effectively free. Try mailchimp.
- Events — attending, supporting and sponsoring. Choose wisely, harder to quantify benefits directly.
- Press and public relations. Everyone should have a ‘PR head’ on, even if only bigger organisations have an actual PR person.
- Thought leadership. Getting your name out there, positioning yourself as a trusted voice in your field. Time and networking.
- Community building. Bring people together.
- Blogging. Great for thought leadership, community building and SEO. Cheap.
- Social media. Cheap, but do it well.
- Content creation. A website with a user friendly CMS for self publishing, plus inclination.
- Video content. It’s all in the editing. A website with a user friendly CMS.
Most of these are about EARNING people’s attention, rather than INTERRUPTING them and adding to the general noise we’re all surrounded by in working life.
A non-specialist can only do so much, but do keep feeding the machine.
www.hubspot.com — useful blogs on anything from writing meaningful mission statements to the ideal length of YouTube videos
www.sethgodin.com — sign up to his blog for a daily dose of email common sense and thoughtful musings, guaranteed to make you think differently every now and then.