So what is this scary thing, marketing? Marketing is basically getting your business and products known to the market, where “the market” is the people who you want to buy them. It's telling people about your products and making it easy for them to buy from you. One of the reasons many of us struggle with this is that we feel all our marketing has to be done ourselves – I often hear, “I'm not really good at talking to people about myself,” or “I'm too shy to give someone my business card.” A bit like the struggle with pricing, it's a lot more fun and comfortable for many of us to make cake rather than talk about cake. We'd rather be playing with modelling chocolate than stand up and tell someone about what we made with it!
So how do you market if you are not confident at speaking up for yourself? The good news is, not all forms of marketing require you personally to be out there knocking on doors. Marketing can be done in a number of different ways, everything from engaging in social media to putting up fliers to taking out an ad in a local newspaper. Here are the basic things which are vital to your marketing:
• Planning – you need to decide ahead of time what it is you would like to get the word out about, and how you're going to go about that. It's no good if you'd like to sell a range of Christmas treats but it doesn't occur to you to tell anyone about it until December 25th, and you're wondering why you didn't get any orders.
• Being Consistent – a lot of times we try something once, it doesn't work as well as we'd hoped, and we just give up in frustration. The problem with this is, trying something once isn't usually a good indicator of long term success. Marketing is something which needs to be done continually, not just when you're desperate for some orders. Sometimes the result of marketing does not happen for weeks or even months after you've done it. It's a long term strategy for your business so you need to treat it as something you do long term.
• Tracking The Results – how do you know if something has worked unless you've checked? You've got to find a way to check if that marketing you did is working. Sometimes this is technology based (tracking clicks from a website) and sometimes it's as simple as asking customers, “How did you hear about us?”
• Achievable – the truth of it is, if you have a list of marketing activities which you find extremely uncomfortable, you're just not going to do them. I believe in pushing ourselves outside of our comfort zones, but not to the degree which then makes us avoid doing things altogether. Settle on some marketing activities which you know you can devote time to, which have proven results, and which you are comfortable with. Then go at those activities with full force! You don't need to do every single idea you've come up with, or be across every single social media platform you find. You simply need to plan some activities which you can successfully do consistently. Doing something is always better than doing nothing!
Above all else, successful businesses are those that engage in marketing activities on an ongoing basis as part of their plans for long term success. You would not think that a company like McDonald's or Coke don't need to bother with marketing any more, but that's the one place they spend a huge amount of money and time. Marketing your business is simply not an optional activity for any business, no matter what size it is or where it's located. With an investment into some planning time, and setting aside some money to execute those plans, marketing can be something which is quite exciting rather than just another source of stress or overwhelm. The goal for your business is NOT to be the best kept secret in town, but the place everyone goes to because they've heard so much about it.
Copyright 2015 Michelle Green
The Business of Baking
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