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January 8, 2019

Marketing & Sales for ‘Old’ Business Owners, Part 5

“I don’t have the money!”

Edging out “I don’t have the time!” as the primary reason ‘old’ business owners are not actively engaged in marketing & sales is “I don’t have the money!” Or “it’s too expensive.” Or some other money-related ‘excuse’ – yes, it really is an excuse!

For these owners, I have a few thoughts…

#1. In the vast majority of circumstances, it’s not that you don’t have the money… it’s that you don’t want to spend it. It’s a choice!

#2. Yes, you do have to spend some money to get results from your marketing & sales. It doesn’t have to be a ton… but some. Smart investing in establishing your reputation, building brand awareness and generating & nurturing sales leads is essential to helping grow your business.

#3. This isn’t a new idea… you’re already spending money on marketing, even if you don’t think you are. You have a website, right? And you send emails? You attend a conference or two, don’t you? Business cards? Maybe a piece or two of sales collateral? Those are all investments in marketing & sales.

#4. Most importantly, there are dozens of low-cost/no-cost things you can and should be doing – with some frequency – to help grow your business. They require some of your time, but not much of your money. Here are just a few of them…

  • Post regularly on social media, especially LinkedIn (your profile page, your company’s profile page and in targeted groups) and Twitter.
  • Regularly connect with/follow others on LinkedIn and Twitter. The more connections you have, the more clients and potential clients will see your posts.
  • Send out a monthly enewsletter to your database. It’s a great way to stay top-of-mind and share valuable content. You can even do it for free with MailChimp.
  • Blog consistently… weekly would be ideal, monthly at a minimum. Blogging regularly is a great way to position yourself as a Subject Matter Expert and give people a reason to keep coming back to your website (to read your latest posts).
  • Then promote each blog post via email and social media to drive people to them.
  • It might seem a little ‘old school,’ but pick up the phone once in a while… reach out to old clients and old prospects. Try to rekindle a relationship.
  • Spruce up your website… make sure it’s up-to-date with the services you offer, the markets/industries you serve and the members of your team. And occasionally check out your competitors’ websites – see what they’ve been up to.
  • Network locally. While we all enjoy flying to an exotic location for a big industry conference, it’s an expensive venture. The good news is that there are plenty of local networking opportunities in most metropolitan areas… with chambers of commerce, AMA chapters, industry associations and so on. Before you go, however, make sure you’ve got a plenty of business cards and fine-tune your elevator pitch.
  • Test ‘social advertising.’ Sponsored content on LinkedIn, for example, is easy to do, very measurable and can be done for as little as $10/day (and stopped anytime).
  • Try ‘gated content.’ ‘Gated content’ means that for someone to access it, they need to give you their contact information. Start with tip sheets (see what ours look like), templates or webinars. They are not that expensive to produce, can help to cement your reputation and are a proven way to generate sales leads.
  • Ask for referrals. That’s right… “ask.” Reach out to your clients (for whom you’ve done good work, of course) and ask them who they know that might also benefit from your services. And don’t forget a little ‘thank you gift’ if their referral turns into a client.
  • Create a marketing & sales plan. Lay out – in rolling 3-month increments – what you’re going to do, when it’s going to be done, who will be involved and how you’ll measure it. Then hold yourself accountable to it.

Before you lament your financial situation with “I don’t have the money!”, consider some of these low-cost/no-cost ways to ‘invest’ in marketing & sales.

Best of luck in 2019!

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