Many small business owners are not marketers. They’ll tell you as much.
People start their own business in order to do what they love and do well. Marketing becomes a necessary evil.
For many, writing is a chore. Or databases are a mystery. Or blogging takes too much time. Social media creates an uncomfortable blend between business and personal. Networking is superficial. Advertising is too expensive and doesn’t work quickly. Public relations is a crapshoot.
It’s altogether too time-consuming, too hard, too expensive. There’s so much marketing work to do that nothing gets done. And it’s easy to justify, because word-of-mouth is the thing that works the best anyway. But word-of-mouth isn’t real marketing; it’s luck. And while I’d rather be lucky the good, the real winners are both.
Aside from being under-capitalized, marketing paralysis may be the most common affliction among small businesses. There is a lot to know about marketing and too many easy reasons not to get started.
But marketing is now more accessible to small businesses than it’s ever been. Marketing rarely comes for free, but it’s possible to start marketing seriously without risking thousands of dollars like you had to do 10 years ago.
So here’s an idea: Try one thing. Instead of getting overwhelmed by all there is to learn about marketing, try choosing one marketing activity and focusing on it until you’re proficient – or at least comfortable.
What should you do first? I’d advise doing the activity that interests you most; you’re more likely to find the joy in mastering it.
But if you insist on being pointed in the right direction, swallow your pride and jump onto Facebook. Why? It’s a tool that can allow you to reach 1 out of 2 people in the United States – for free. If you coughed up $3 million to advertise on the Superbowl you wouldn’t reach that many people. Facebook is, simply, the largest media outlet in the world. And you can get started without spending a nickel.
What do you do on Facebook? Start by building a profile for your company, and then explore and experiment. We can discuss it in more detail another time. What’s important is that you do something. Anything.