Posted: Mon 24th Jun 2013
Finding and maintaining contact with customers is one of the most essential tasks for every small enterprise, but it can be very time-consuming. Beryl Pettitt of Ridgeway Marketing offers her six straightforward tips for saving time on your marketing, without reducing your impact.
Just when you thought you had got the hang of Twitter, people tell you that you should be on Google+ and Pinterest as well,Â writes Beryl (left). Oh, and how do you keep up with finding stuff to share on social media, or write content for your website? It can all feel overwhelming when you are running a business, so just how can you do it? Here are some ideas and tools to help.
1. Reuse, recycle and repurpose
You spent hours preparing that training session or presentation, so don't waste it. The chances are that with a bit of tweaking you could use it again in a different form for a different audience.Â It could become a blog post, a podcast, press release or article, or part of an email newsletter. Then you could share it on social media, so that you really get some value out of it.
2. But I don't create enough stuff to share on social media!
Don't feel that everything you share has to be your own work - your prospects and clients are also short of time, so if you share useful stuff from other people, they will appreciate that, and you will build your reputation as a helpful contact.
"With tweaking you could reuse material in a different form for a different audience. A presentation could become a blog post, a podcast or an article."
3. But I haven't got enough time to look for stuff to share!
Use Google Alerts to set up some searches for the type of information your customers would find useful. So if you are running a B&B, that could be information on local events and tourist attractions. If you are an accountant, your clients and prospects will appreciate information on the latest tax changes and other business information.Â For a fancy dress company, tips and hints for organising parties, recipes, games, and so on.
4. Use a scheduling tool for social media
If you are concerned that social media is taking up a lot of time, or that you just don't post frequently enough, then a scheduling tool such as Hootsuite or BufferÂ (or Sign-Up.to - see our special offer below! Ed)Â will enable you to schedule your posts in one go, say once a week or every few days, and spread them throughout the week. (Facebook actually lets you do this, too - look for the Â little clock bottom right hand side of the post, then select Add a Year, Month, Day, Hour, Minute and click Schedule). This needs to be done with care - don't go sharing the same stuff across all social media, as your followers may follow you on more than one, and will soon get fed up with seeing the same post. Also, be aware that you may need to delete a post if it seems inappropriate as news unfolds. You also still need to allow time for interacting on social media, but having some posts scheduled will take the pressure off.
"If social media is taking up a lot of time, then a scheduling tool such asÂ HootsuiteÂ orÂ BufferÂ will enable you to schedule your posts in one go."
5. Use an email marketing system
Now that you have got some great material to share, then it makes sense to start emailing it to customers and prospects, too. Using email marketing software not only looks professional, but will save time. You can link it to your sign-up page on your website, and it will automatically handle unsubscribes and delete bounces. You can link to your blog posts or website, and check how many people click through your links.
6. Invest some time in saving time
It may take you longer at first to get the hang of a new way of working, but a small investment of time will pay off in the long term! There are additional benefits to all of the above - Google Alerts can also be used to find out about competitors or what mentions your own or client businesses are getting online. By searching for relevant information for your clients and prospects, you will also keep your own knowledge bang up to date at the same time. These are just a few ideas that could save you some time on your marketing, but what do you use? Feel free to share! Beryl Pettitt is the founder of Ridgeway Marketing and has more than 25 years' experience as a marketing mentor and trainer for small businesses and organisations across the UK. You can connect with connect with Beryl on Google Plus.
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