By Ramon Ray
Whether you run a shoe store, a software company, or a dog walking business, you probably think, “I’m the owner. I’m not a marketer.”
If you think running a business is just about producing a great product, you’re wrong. You’ve also got to market it, sell it, and educate people that they need your product. In the four companies I’ve built, it’s ultimately been me who has to market. Sure, as you grow your professional team to help you that can take some of the pressure off of you, but it’s ultimately your job to market your business.
Now, I don’t mean that you need to be constantly sending emails and writing blog posts (well, you do). It’s more than that. Marketing your business simply means being the brand and representing it wherever you go.
Building a Better Pitch
Think of the opportunities you have to tell people what you do. Even if it’s in the grocery store. What does your pitch sound like? Is it a 5-second stumble like “Irunamarketingfirm,” or do you take time to explain what you do so people will be interested? Don’t underestimate the power of your pitch. You never know who might be interested in your services or be able to refer business to you.
Look for Opportunities
This is another quality to nurture outside of the office. Opportunities and inspiration are all around you, if you just know where to look. Let’s say you run a point-of-sale (POS) software solution for retailers. On your day off, you’re buying something and the sales clerk has trouble with the store’s POS system. The immediate opportunity is that you can help. You can simply provide advice to assist her. Another opportunity comes after the sale. You could ask questions for market research. What’s frustrating about this particular system? What does she wish it did instead? And the other opportunity is that this could be a potential sale.
I also like to use the real world to find inspiration for blog content. I might write about that store’s experience with the POS (keeping them anonymous of course) or find inspiration elsewhere that I can turn into interesting stories in my content.
By paying attention, even when you’re not officially wearing your CEO hat, you can uncover a wealth of business opportunities.
The Importance of Owning the Marketing Role
As I said, you might have a marketing team working for you. Then again, you might not. Either way, it’s of the utmost importance that you understand how marketing works and be able to do it yourself, even if you have someone else handling it.
Understanding how content attracts customers through created value, how the right targeted emails can encourage a subscriber to buy, and how providing free advice on social media turns you into an industry leader is essential for the growth and success of your business. You need to understand metrics and what matters so that you invest the resources into marketing efforts that get results.
There’s a sales moniker that says “always be closing.” I find that a little aggressive. Instead, I encourage you to “always be marketing.” Be your brand 100% and find ways to spread awareness of your company and what you do. The sales will follow.