Marketing for SMEs – mind how you create content!

Marketing for SMEs

There are a lot of options for self-employed, freelancers and medium sized businesses to promote their wares these days.  But have you thought about them?  Do you know them all? How do you decide which will work for you or which to invest your time and money in?

After all, time IS money to SMEs!   We don’t have budgets for marketing, or staff to do it often, and then time – well, there just is never enough of it!

So why am I, a coach, writing about this topic?  Because I’m an SME too!  And I like to help, to support, to share tips and ideas, thoughts and creative thinking.  It’s my job – it’s my life!  I like the creative side of work – and most if not every job has some of that!

Not yours?  Think again.  Marketing for one, sales another, process and systems yet more!
So back to marketing …I just pick up ideas as I read, read and read some more!  I do like to read, I do love to learn!

Here are a few to get your mind working overtime I picked up on Sunday (yes, even then!) and perhaps it will motivate some thinking, some action and achieve some goals for you and your business too!

  1. The cost of reading your staff, checking out your offers and attending your workshops or events.

These costs are discovery and transaction costs – even when free.  Time and effort + money so says Ryan Holiday on Tim Ferriss’s blog.  And you know what?  He’s right.  Can I be bothered reading the many and various emails in my inbox, pointing me in the direction of fame and wealth, too many customers to manage (if only!) but I don’t have time having read many others and got nowhere fast because they only tell me it can be done …and do I believe them enough to spend time doing their course, and effort to get there, not to mention the charge for their services?

Well, that’s our potential customers too!   Are we worth it to them?  I hope so!  I’m sure so, but I have to encourage them to come along and find out!  Marketing!

  1. Social Media is anything but social!

We sit on either side of the screen, at different times of day (or night!) and converse.   But we don’t really do we?  I write this conversationally because I am writing to YOU!   The marketing goes out to YOU.   But instead of selling, instead of ‘boasting’ as many people think it is when you are selling yourself and your products/services – we are actually just telling it how it is – we are great and we do have lots to offer!  But a different perspective – for you, for your customer, for you AS a customer …

“When it comes to social media, think self-expression, not self-promotion” says Susan Cain of MBMC and she’s right.  Those selfies we hate, the posed lips and pouts – but is that self-promotion? No.  It’s reflection actually!  It isn’t posing for others but to see from their eyes how they see you – so looking your ‘best’ (?!?) is what that’s about!  Oh, and fitting in – as the young girls all pose the same way.

But self expression – well, that’s different.  One it is your Self, two, it is expressing YOUR ideas, thoughts, feelings, beliefs, values, perspective and way of being  YOU!  So that’s OK.  And it works.  That is, after all, why we go on social media – gossip without the effort, insights without prying, knowing without the conversation …

How would you/do you Self Express then?

This one resonated with me because I do express myself online (and off!)  I am careful how I write things, what I comment on and what I tell people about me – but only because I am now well-aware that the world is watching and not all will be nice, not all will be customers or some might be customers – or business colleagues and contacts!

But there is no point in creating if it isn’t yours or about you – from you!  Yes, I pick up and run with topics I see and read, but it’s my ideas, my perspective, my opinion and knowledge I put into it. It’s my ‘spin’ if you like.

I tell the same points in my way, with my beliefs entwined in the comments and facts;  I share my views and comment positively or negatively on whatever I share!   I don’t pretend to be something or someone I’m not.  Why?  Because what I have to say is valuable – if only to me, but I know if that’s the case then someone else, other people, will also benefit from it and I want to share it with them!

“That was the whole point — to write down what I really thought and felt, without having to (in today’s parlance) ‘put myself out there.’ ” is a comment by Susan Cain too (see above) – and that is scary.  But being you is safer than trying to be (like) someone else – you know you, you can be you, and you think, feel, act and believe like you!  And no=one can really criticise you for that or doubt you, or correct you – only you are you and know you well enough to comment!  So OWN IT!

  1. Picking up a phrase to work a post or article around

“Dance to your own beat” is just a comment in another post on Twitter I read today and resonated (as I was posting on something musical for a family member).   I like individuality, I like being unique and that each of us in unique – something to enjoy, to celebrate, to share and accept.  Being unique means no-one can or should judge you because they are not you!  They don’t know all that you know and never can!  They only have their own ‘unique’ perspective, experience and perceptions!  Leave them with it but yes, by all means, listen (or read!).  And this phrase too from reading today…

It’s good to be different – stand up, stand out!

  1. Linking to your product/service/standpoint

Dancing to your beat also resonated with me again, too, following on from an article I read earlier about men’s health and re-posted with my comments on Facebook from a DJ ‘bravely’ coming out as suffering depression and bullying earlier in life, to reduce the stigma.

Now, there it was for me. The stigma in the article about reducing the stigma of mental health!  Which bit?  The ‘being brace’ to share bit.  If it’s normal, and main-steam, and commonly accepted then it isn’t ‘brave’ to ‘admit’ it like you should be ashamed!  “I am fed up”, or “I fell over” isn’t something you share ‘bravely’ – it’s just there, it’s a fact, it’s understood, accepted and could happen to any one of us!  Well, so could depression and bullying!

So all these things I picked up this morning for my Sunday read – not a newspaper but online, Twitter, Facebook, Linked In -maybe the MEN or Guardian online news too!

These are the ideas that reading stimulated in my head, my mind and views, my ideas and