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May 24, 2021 4 min read
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My CPA‘s office overcharged me for my tax preparations last month. When I brought it to his attention, we realized it was a juxtaposition of the numbers. Simple to solve. He had it handled immediately.
To thank him, I went on Yelp and wrote a great review — their first one ever. Their business, founded in the 1970s, relies very much on local people coming in, but it was still “unclaimed” on Yelp. The founder’s grown son said, “Yeah, every year I plan to see if I can figure out how to build our presence on social media, but so many other things….”
I work with authors to sell their book manuscripts to top publishers. Most are businesspeople who want to get published to build their core business or get more paid speaking, coaching or consulting engagements. To my astonishment, very few have taken even the first steps toward marketing themselves, just like my CPA firm. They do “OK” and then just hang on for dear life, living off their current revenues and customer base. But without at least some marketing, their book will not sell. That means no agent can sell it, which means their book cannot magically increase their revenues.
Like the CPA firm, like so many hopeful authors, the growth that comes from good marketing starts with very small things done right, just like so much of life’s success.
Here are a few questions to help you decide if there’s a wee bit more you could do to move your company toward growth:
1. When is the last time you, your company, your services, your employees or your customers were featured in any media? Newspapers, magazines (trade or general), radio, TV…think of all those potential customers who don’t even know you exist yet! Since they have never even heard of you, how can they seek you out?
2. Other than narcissistic announcements and pitches about your new products or services, does your social media strategy include general interest content, features about your best or most interesting clients, sharing information from other sources that will help your customers work with you or attract new ones, offer insight into your employees, etc.? If not, you are blasting, not connecting. Connections get calls.
3. Do you know where your customers are? Do you have a plan to make allies in your industry who will endorse/recommend you? Do you have a plan for building a good reputation in a pleasant, consistent way — and subtly broadcasting it? Examples include appearing helpful on podcasts that serve your customers, offering free guides on your website and using the publicity you get to endorse your excellence.
If you’re running a small business, you likely know that you’d like to scale up, increase your revenues and maybe bring on more people. But how do you do that until you have more revenues? How do you build your marketing while serving your clients, trying to keep every pot boiling and handling what’s already coming in (the good and the bad)? The secret is to use clever systems to simplify or maybe even delegate things like your overall media strategy. Even one step in the right direction counts.
Related: How to Get Noticed in a Noisy World
Doing more outreach brings in more customers. More customers bring in more money. More money means you can hire more people to serve your customers. That’s how businesses grow. Getting knowledgeable about even one sliver of publicity and marketing can bring in revenues you cannot even predict until you try.
Wendy Keller is an entrepreneur, the author of The Ultimate Guide to Platform Building and the content strategist behind StrategicVisibilityMarketing.com, which gives small businesses access to wise, inexpensive, successful marketing and growth strategies.