Before I get into tip two in this series, your marketing stack and budget, I will be the first to admit I’ve never had a marketing budget. Since 2007, I have paid for many marketing campaigns and advertisements. Typically I see something, review it, then buy it if I feel it’s worth trying. If you want to read more, I have another blog about starting a computer repair business here. The marketing blog is No. 9 in that series.
Most of the marketing that has worked for me has been good old-fashioned hard work. And, while hard work is free, you have to be consistent and always keep it going, no matter what you find what works. If that means going to networking meetings and events, then you have to keep doing that and doing it well. For others, online marketing is what works. And some find that the No. 1 way to get new clients is through referrals. Bottom line: You need to figure out your "marketing stack."
- What is your marketing stack?
- What is working?
- What do you love to do?
- What do you hate to do?
In the first part of this series, I asked you to make a list of all the marketing efforts you have undertaken and review the results. If you have not been tracking them, I mentioned that now is the time to start asking clients. I also told you about my marketing activities. What works for me is pretty much blogging first, followed by other efforts.
Got your marketing stack ready? Now review it, and while you’re reviewing it, look at your wins/losses. Now look deeper. What did you love? Did you love paying someone for results? Or did you love that you did it yourself? Money makes everyone love marketing, so this is a key for moving forward. If you love paying for the help, the rest of the blogs might be good for your marketing person if you want them to learn more. If you love doing it yourself, I will now be all yours. I have 15 or so more of these blogs created just for you.
Before I discuss the loving part of marketing, let’s review the marketing I hate doing. I really hate doing newsletters, but I do them anyway. I have tried to hire it out but found that I was never happy with those results, probably because I’m really finicky. Last winter, I actually emailed all of my people and said I was done with newsletters. Then in June, there was a huge Outlook issue and I felt I had to get back to newsletters to disseminate the information. That restart sparked a lot in me, and so while I still hate “doing the newsletter” I’m happy with the "opens" and continued marketing there. I pay $1,020 a year for my plan with Constant Contact ($85 a month). Currently, I have about 4,900 people on two lists (clients and technicians).
I also hate paying for ads on websites, but I have done it and will probably continue to do it. However, I'm not sure why as the results are usually nothing special. I have paid $300 for a month on a top-ranked site and got six clicks in a week. No kidding. I paid almost $1,000 for a year (it is a good deal) for a spot on another website and, again, got just a few clicks. I consider that just flat-out “marketing” so you never know, one person might click it and be the next thing you were not expecting. Kind of like gambling, right? Yep. For example, I was contacted by ChannelPro Network in August to work with them on their online magazine. The publisher was on my newsletter list. I started newsletters in June. If I had given up, he probably would not have contacted me. See how this works? Working with ChannelPro opens many doors for me for the future, a “channel” for me to get content to people. That’s important, as I do so many things.
Finally, I really hate doing webinars, but the funny thing is that I love creating the content and doing all the marketing. However, I almost always feel disappointed if people don’t sign up. Usually, after I get all the fun parts done, I am in a state of "I can’t believe I now to have to do the webinar." When it happens, I love doing it. When it’s over, I’m happy that folks learned a lot. I love it more when I actually charge for it (some are free and some I charge for).
There really isn't anything I hate so much that I don’t want to do it, though there are some things I avoid. I avoid sales hustlers on Facebook. I avoid watching their sales videos, their hype, their “Hey, I’m good-looking so listen to me hype.” I see it all the time and I’m not falling for it!
To close part two of this series, figure out what you love to do. Is talking your thing? Or is writing your thing? What if neither is your thing and you’re just a good old-fashioned, extremely talented nerd who loves owning a business? You are probably the type of person who does need to hire out your marketing efforts. Most of the free marketing involves talking or writing, at least from my experience. Here is my list again, all “communication-type marketing.” This is where you need to consider a budget.
- Social media
- SEO blogging
- Error blogging
Here is what I have heard about a marketing budget: Take 20 percent of your gross and that should be your budget. WOW? Really? If I were to charge myself time for all the free work I did, it would probably be billable at more than 20 percent of my annual gross. I do a lot to keep my machine going! Take 20 percent of your gross and see how much that is, divide by 52 weeks, and that’s your “budget” each week to get more clients. Put this toward paid advertising, hiring a salesperson, doing ads on TV or radio, and other things that don’t take your time up and don’t require you to create the content. There are plenty of folks out there who will help you.
In part three of this series, I will get into details about blogging. That, folks, is the key to the rest of the series. If you have a website that does not have a blog attached, you can get a free one from www.wordpress.com and you can follow along. You can move your website and merge the blogs in time.
Lisa Hendrickson is the owner of Call That Girl Technology Support. She is an Outlook expert and Office 365 consultant. Her specialties include being a remote support technician, technology blogger, podcaster, and she is also of the author of six e-books for computer repair businesses including the most popular, Call That Girl's Guide to Remote Support. To read and learn more, go to callthatgirl.biz