By Sheryl Bindelglass
Think you don’t have time to market your business? Think again. One of the biggest mistakes range owners make is spending all of their time working in the business instead of on the business. That approach may keep the doors open, but it won’t do much to grow your numbers or boost your profits. Finding time for marketing, even just ten minutes a day, is critical to success in today’s tough business climate.
MAP3 out your marketing strategy
To effectively market, you’ll need a plan. The plan can be as informal as a wall calendar with the year’s events written into their appropriate months. Some owners get staff involved in the planning process. Take ten minutes of a staff meeting to brainstorm and list events and activities on the calendar for the coming year. This approach has the added benefit of staff involvement. When your staff feels a sense of ownership, they will be committed to the success of the events and activities.
With our clients, we use a MAP3 (Marketing, Advertising, Promotion, Programs, Publicity) system. It lays out the whole year ahead, establishing activities and events and their corresponding staffing needs sales goals and budget estimates. Using the MAP3, we can zero in on the marketing activities for each event.
Whatever method you choose to use, having a plan is a time saver. Think of it as a small investment that will quickly pay off a big return.
Steer clear of time traps
On the golf course, you do your best to steer clear of a sand trap. You’ll need the same kind of focus in your business to get out of activities that waste precious time. Let’s explore the most common time traps and examine ways to tame them.
E-mail – Let’s face it, most of us could spend two or three hours a day, just cleaning out our inbox. If we fall into the trap of doing that, day after day, countless hours are wasted. There are several ways to make e-mail more manageable. Have a business account that is accessible to designated staff members. Give them the task of keeping up with those messages. Use folders to organize your personal account. Try to limit your e-mail time to ten minutes.
Phone – Being accessible on the phone is generally a good thing. At times, however, the nuisance calls pile up and take your time an attention away from other more important tasks. One easy remedy – have staff members take complete messages. You shouldn’t be dealing with messages that simply say, “Mr. Brown called.”
Do everything “yourself” – No business can succeed for long if there is only one person with all of the answers. Involve your staff. Set your expectations and communicate them clearly. Listen to your staff’s ideas, respect their knowledge and reward good performance. Give them the tools they need to do their jobs.
Top ways to spend your ten marketing minutes
You have a plan, you’ve tamed the time traps, now you are ready to actively and effectively market your business, every day of the week. The following chart provides a lighthearted look at marketing activities that take only a few minutes a day.
Take ten before 10 AM
Getting in the marketing habit works best if you set aside a specific time each day to focus. Try taking ten minutes each day, before 10 AM, working on one or more of these marketing activities:
- Create a new sign to promote a special of the day
- Send out a “call to action” e-mail to a specific target group
- Read the local news, find a company with something to celebrate (a new product, a new vice president, etc.). Call or e-mail them with your congratulations
- Take a “walk about.” Start at the entrance of your facility and see which focus points need signage
- Have a “morning huddle” with your staff. Highlight a product or special of the day that you want your staff to promote to all guests
- Update your on-hold message and digital signs
- Check your website to make sure all current information is posted
- Create a sales contest for your team
When you decided to go into business, you no doubt had a vision of what that business would be. You spent thousands of dollars and countless hours bringing your vision to life. Spending just ten minutes a day on marketing will keep your business alive. More than that, it will make your business grow. Effective marketing is your only defense against economic downturns, bad weather, high gasoline prices or any other business challenges your facility will encounter along the way.