This is a guest post by fellow marketing consultant and LinkedIn pro, Jeff Zelaya.
Running a small business or sole proprietorship is no easy task. If you’re like most small business owners, chances are that you’ve got tons on your plate and wear many different hats. You are the Accountant, the Sales Director, the Production Line, the Janitor and the CEO. It can be exhausting and overwhelming to say the least. Many times small business owners get so focused on servicing their current client base that they neglect marketing. When you neglect marketing it means that you can also neglect future growth of your business and can easily go belly up or suffer major losses if one or a couple of your regular clients go away.
As a small business owner you never want to be in this position and instead want to have a constant inflow of leads and interested parties that want to work with you. This gives you the ability to sometime “fire” those trouble clients that are more headaches than they’re worth and it also might mean a better pool of potential clients that are willing to pay more for your services and products.
So the question is: How can I continue to grow my business with limited time and or expertise?
The obvious answer is to hire someone from the outside to help you like a consultant (Patrice for example) or a part time employee. However, if that’s not feasible right now for you, here are 3 fundamental marketing tactics that you can easily fit into your very busy schedule.
1) Obtain Partnerships
Obtaining mutually beneficial partnerships is a marketing tactic that is often overlooked. A single, quality partnership can be all that you need to take your business to an unprecedented level. When BEATS headphone partnered up with Olympic Athletes it took the visibility of their headphones global and caused lots of buzz. The athletes were happy to get a new pair of headphones and BEATS was happy to get all of the free publicity and attention that followed. In your line of business, who does it make sense to partner up with? If you own a cake making business, doesn’t it make sense to partner up with a wedding planner, or party planner? Of course it does but in order to make the partnership work effectively, first seek to add value to their business AND only when you’ve done that ask for something in return. Most partnerships that fail is because people went into it with their focus only being on “I” and on “what I can get”. If you focus on GIVING rather than RECEIVING you will see that the partnership will turn out to be more valuable in the end for you and your business. Now, I know that you might be wondering “Jeff, that’s great but how do I find the right partners?” Well I’m glad you asked, that’s the next item on our list.
2) Leverage LinkedIn
Too many business owners are forgetting about the powerhouse that LinkedIn could be for them. Personally, I have been able to use LinkedIn to drive over a million dollars worth of revenue in a short amount of time and have helped many clients produce similar results. LinkedIn is the #1 professional networking tool and is your power rolodex. As a small business owner I would suggest using LinkedIn to join key influential groups for your industry and geography. You might be too busy to make it out to a face to face networking event that week but you can still find the 15 minutes to get involved in a group discussion or to share relevant content about your industry with group members. It might take a bit of time to get your LinkedIn presence & network up and going but the time investment yields a great ROI. LinkedIn can also help find individuals based on their title, years of experience, industry etc…so once you figure out the criteria for who would make a good individual to create a business partnership with, you’re literally minutes away from being able to send them an invite and connecting to begin the dialogue. If you’re focusing heavily on business development, then LinkedIn Social Selling is what you need to focus on, check out my free upcoming webinar if you want to learn more about how to use LinkedIn for Business Development: http://jeffzelaya.com/social-selling/
3) Google+ Hangouts
You probably know how important content is to your online visibility but I imagine that one of the hurdles that you are running into is the time and effort that it takes to create great content. One of the often neglected solutions is right under your nose, Google+. If you are worried about SEO, then doesn’t it make sense to use the tools of those that are calling the shots? Of course it does! But that’s not the only reason you want to use Google+ hangouts. If you want to become more efficient and effective in creating content give this tactic a shot: Every week schedule a 15 minute hangout where you answer questions that frequently come up in your line of business. You can have someone interview you or just do it solo but just be sure to share great content during those 15 minutes. Promote the Hangout Series and let your current customers and prospects know what you’ll be doing. Post it on your website and across your social platforms. But don’t worry too much if a lot of people don’t end up showing up to the live hangout. Why you ask? It’s because the Hangout will automatically be recorded, uploaded to Youtube and available for replay later as well as being visible on the search engines. On top of that and to maximize the reach of your content, you should also get the video transcribed cheaply through fiverr.com or odesk.com so that you can post the text on your website for SEO purposes. You can even lift the audio if you want to use it for a podcast. With Google+ hangouts you kill three birds with one stone:
- Live Webinar
- Audio/ Podcast
How is THAT for productivity?
About Jeff Zelaya
Jeff Zelaya is a rising Social Selling influencer & considered one of the best speakers on the topic of LinkedIn. In the past 3 years, Jeff has presented in over 50 Sales, Marketing, Personal Branding & LinkedIn workshops. Jeff has worked as a Marketing Consultant for the past 10 years and provides marketing, sales and PR consulting to business owners & C-Level executives. You can learn more about him at http://bestpublicspeaker.com