The following post is a series written by Nate Ellis, Director of Marketing at Homage. Not only is marketing an ambiguous topic for accountants, it’s constantly a challenge for any small business owner. Over the next several months, Nate will write an introductory series on marketing and what accountants can do to help their marketing cause on their own. After all, we’re accountants, not marketers.
The following is a very common occurrence among business owners:
You’ve gotten to a certain level of success selling your product or service to friends and family, and maybe some of their friends too. But you know that you need to market your offering and aggressively expand your customer base to build the business of your dreams.
You think to yourself:
Where do I start? What to I do? Or simply, What is marketing?
Anxious to take that next important leap in growing your company, you pick up a book (Be a Marketing Master), read a blog (5 Easy Steps to GOING VIRAL!), or attend a conference (Marketing Makes Millions) – wide-eyed and ready to take over the world.
Yet, inevitably, you walk away feeling worse than when you started.
Meaningless jargon and sales pitches for expensive marketing services whirl around your head like those ephemeral birds in the aftermath of a cartoon anvil crashing into your skull.
All you wanted was a bit of info about marketing your business. Or, hopefully, some insight on a good place to start.
If you’ve ever felt this way when trying to decide how to best market your business, you are not alone. Most people come away from these situations and wonder, “so… how do I market my business?”
Well, it’s simple. Kind of.
MARKETING IS EVERYTHING. EVERYTHING IS MARKETING.
This idea doesn’t make the task of marketing your business seem easier at first, but it’s the most important thing to remember when deciding what marketing is and how to do it.
Marketing is: the person that answers your phone, the organization [or lack] of your showroom, your ad in the local paper, what people say about you on the web, the chicken wing sauce you just wiped all over your shirt at the networking event. They are all marketing.
Every tiny, seemingly inconsequential item that refers to you or your business or product is marketing. Literally everything.
Now, I can hear your sarcasm, “Well, that narrows it down.”
Stay with me.
WHERE TO START
The most crucial first step is to take inventory of every single thing you do that a customer, or potential customer, sees, hears, thinks, or feels about your business. Create a gigantic list of all those things, separate them into categories that make sense to you if you like. You may have categories like “advertisements, social media, community involvement, sales materials, store appearance, etc.”
Once you’ve compiled your list, go through it and think of ways to improve upon what each little piece is saying about your company. Start with one from each category.
But how do you improve all these items into something that could be called “marketing”?
We’ll get to that in the next installment. Now start your list!