On the TCA's webinar on Marketing Your Business today, the panelists all agree that content marketing is king. Content Marketing is leveraging various platforms (blogs, social media, your websites, etc.) to attract and retain customers by creating and curating relevant and valuable content. Important word: Valuable. It has to be Valuable to the reader, your prospect!
What I usually hear from people is that they don't have time for marketing. They want to outsource it (if the price is right). It is true that marketing can take time -- and it takes time to see results.
A couple of points:
Marketing can take 90 days to work or it can take longer (rarely shorter).
Consider that most buyers do their research online before buying... if you aren't online and in the results, you are missing a lot of sales.
Hubspot and other online marketing agencies are all about inbound marketing via content. Inbound is the new term for lead generation.
Content marketing is trendy. First it was white papers to build a leads list. Now it seems to be infographics. (Considering most people would rather look at a picture than read anything, I can see the Infographic trend lasting a while.),/p>
What do you do if you have limited time?
Have a plan. Who are you targeting? Why are you targeting them and what do you want them to do (what action should they take?)? Sign-up for email, white paper, infographic, webinar, etc. No one is buying right away. It takes more than 20 touches today to get a sale.
Survey your customers to see where they spend their time online and spend 30 minutes three times a week on that platform. (Make a calendar appointment to do it).
What do you do if you never marketed before?
Colleges offer help for businesses in marketing with SWOT analyses and such. It's a place to begin.
The next step is the Value Proposition. Why should anyone buy from you? Why you and not that guy?
Then begin having a conversation with (not TO) your prospects. That conversation can be a story about your employees, the impact your customers received from buying from you or why cloud services are so popular.
LinkedIn, twitter, slideshare (which LinkedIn owns), blogs, forums - where ever your customers hang out is where you should be telling your story. (Be exceptional and occasionally tell their story.)