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5 tips for marketing when you don’t have time

in Uncategorized by Colleen Newvine Leave a comment

Whether it’s back to school, harvest time or retail holiday season, plenty of businesspeople hit a point when there’s not enough time to sleep, much less market yourself.

Do you not have enough hours in the day for marketing? Five tips to help you stay in touch with your customers. Photo by JD Baskin used under Creative Commons license.

Do you not have enough hours in the day for marketing? Five tips to help you stay in touch with your customers.
Photo by JD Baskin used under Creative Commons license.

If that sounds like you, let’s dive right into five pointers to stay on your customers’ radar during your busy time:

  1. Think small — Your customers are probably busy, too, so don’t be afraid to do an email newsletter or blog post that’s just one photo and a couple sentences. A sale, a new product, the return of a favorite product, special hours, all you need is one idea your customers will find useful.
  2. Think efficient — If you have little chunks of time, like a few minutes between when you’re done setting up and when you actually open, grab your phone and write one quick post you push across Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Conversely, block off 15 minutes to schedule daily social media posts for the whole week using a tool like HootSuite. Let technology make it easier to use whatever limited time you have.
  3. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure — If part of the reason you’re so busy is that you are answering endless calls and emails with the same questions over and over, use your marketing to intercept those frequently asked questions. Be sure your hours and directions are on your website and that you share them frequently in your e-newsletter and on social media, for example. If people are always asking if you have X in stock, post a picture of it when you do.
  4. Delegate — If you usually update your website yourself because you want to make sure it gets done to your exacting standards, it might be better to let someone else do it for now than to not have it happen at all. Give a clear assignment like “put our back-to-school sale on the front of the website with a big, bold headline and a picture” and accept that done is better than perfect. If you don’t have anyone on staff who can help, maybe you should hire a consultant or temp for short-term help or perhaps a favorite customer would pitch in for a trade.
  5. Be human — If you’re up at 4 a.m. (either already or still), snap a selfie and share it on your social media. Showing people what your frantic time is like might help them understand why your email response time is a little longer than usual.

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Five questions to begin your strategy for effective use of social media

in Uncategorized by Colleen Newvine Leave a comment

Last summer, I wrote a series of guest blog posts for Stirring Up Success, a B2B blog run by Dawn Foods, a manufacturer of bakery ingredients and products and distributor to the bakery industry. According to a case study by Crossroads, StirringUpSuccess.com has been featured in top industry trade publications as a unique and helpful tool for bakery owners.

Here’s my first post in the series, encouraging bakeries to take the time to define their business goals to help them be more effective on social media.

We have a shelf full of cookbooks, which help us figure out a plan when we cook.

Using social media without a strategy is a bit like turning on the oven without knowing whether you’re reheating last night’s leftovers or baking an elaborate wedding cake.

Just as understanding how to use a measuring cup and mixer are essential to baking, comfort with social media tools can make it easier to implement a plan. But there’s a difference between randomly throwing some ingredients together and following a formula – you need a strategy.

Five questions to help you get strategic about social media:

  1. What are your company’s goals? Do you want more sales, bigger sales, new customers, more orders from existing customers, different kinds of customers? Be as specific as possible, so you can measure your progress.
  2. What’s your status quo?  Inventory your existing communications, including newsletters, social media and brochures. Even in a small organization, this is worthwhile so everyone is conscious of what you have and so you don’t reinvent the wheel.
  3. Who is your audience?  Describe who you want to reach, what they want and how they like to communicate. Are you trying to stay in touch with existing customers so they will tell their friends about you or find potential new customers? The way you talk to moms planning birthday parties in the Midwest is very different from corporate event planners in Los Angeles.
  4. What is your competition doing with social media? You don’t need to copy what they’re doing, but you should be aware. It’s also a cheap way to keep an eye on them.
  5. What resources do you have? Be realistic. If you have a small staff with no communications budget, you need to be selective about what you take on. Consider your talents and interests as well. For example,would you rather write or take pictures?

Answering these questions doesn’t mean you have a social media strategy, but it should get the conversation started.

One final thought: don’t limit yourself by only thinking about pushing out information. Social media is a two-way conversation. It can be an excellent way to ask questions, listen to what people are saying about you and your competition and to respond to customer concerns.

Colleen Newvine Tebeau is a former reporter and editor who then earned her MBA at University of Michigan with emphases in marketing and corporate strategy.  She is a marketing consultant who helps small and midsized organizations with strategy and tactics, including social media and communications.

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