Don’t Delay

by Karen Reyburn

One of the reasons we miss out on so many marketing opportunities is because we limit ourselves.

“I’ll update social media on Monday mornings”, we say. Or, “I need to start looking at PR for my business, but I’ve got clients in today.”

Marketing opportunities are available all the time. But, these days especially, it’s very much a case of blink-and-you’ll-miss-it.

Twitter is not a pool. It’s a raging river of white water rapids that swirls constantly. You don’t dip in, have a look around, see what you’ve missed over the past few days or weeks. You jump in, swirl around a bit, and leap out again.

Similarly, you probably get at least ten or twenty emails a day from companies you know and trust. These are the ones who have survived the dreaded unsubscribe button – but still, you often just delete them without even bothering to read them. (I’ve done it myself.)

An example is an email I get from an organization that supplies PR opportunities. They send out a list of requests, and if one of them applies to you, you can respond. If the requester gets in touch, you have instant PR. Requests range from “How Not To Take Life For Granted” to “Need An Expert On Mayan Astrology”. But every once in a while there’s a request for something like “Seeking Accountants To Interview” or “Marketing Expert On Small Business”, and I drop them a note for myself or on behalf of one of my clients.

My point is, I can’t just scroll through these emails when it suits me. Most of them are on a deadline, and sometimes the deadline is today. Once I emailed someone four or five days later, and I got an automatic reply saying the deadline was gone, sorry. It would have been a great story, too!

It’s not just PR opportunities – everything has a deadline. And these days, the world expects speed. Email is still powerful, but we’ve got live chat on our website because sometimes even email is too slow. Clients and prospects text me, Skype me, send messages via Linked In, DM us on Twitter, watch videos on Vimeo. And if they’re looking for a response, same-day is good, but same-hour is better, and immediately is best still.

So when it comes to your own business, you want to be available and ready for those who want to talk to you – because you might just blink and miss that opportunity.

 

Here are a few ways you can do that:

–        Find an organization that will answer the phone for you 24-7. Make sure to screen them carefully, so that they represent a good image for your company. It’s better that the phone not be answered at all, than if it is answered poorly, or gives a bad impression.

–        Get help to ensure that your social media posts are going out regularly. As with blog posting, you don’t want it to be ghost written so that you sound like everybody else; but you can give outsourcers a lot of great material and then do the time intensive work of putting it online for you.

–        Consider an online chat facility, if service is important. I cannot stress enough how little desire people have for speaking to someone these days. They would rather book online, register online, purchase online, get help online. It’s faster, and it means they can multi-task. Of course there’s no substitute for the in person meeting or phone call, but give them the option.

–        Get help from friends or family. If you have a small business, ask someone you trust to man the phones on the weekend or in the evenings. Or the other way around, if you want to be on call weekends and evenings, but not during the day. Make sure to explain what is needed, what they need to know, and what they should say. Run a few testers to make sure all is working as you want it to.

–        Organize your inbox. Everyone talks about how many emails they get, but down deep most of us feel really important when we come in from the weekend and have 400 emails to deal with. Stop fooling yourself and get organized. I suggest Mark Forster’s book, Do It Tomorrow.

–        Outsource as much as possible. I’m passionate about outsourcing because we use it extensively ourselves (if it’s of interest, you can read my blog post about a guy named Javier, a treehouse, and a paintbrush – I promise, it’s relevant!). We’ve learned that there is so much that can be outsourced – from logo design to email copywriting to HTML coding to just about anything. It’s amazing how much you do that you don’t need to. Let it go.

It’s interesting how the concept of “don’t delay” includes an element of “yes, delay” – but it’s up to you to discover the difference for your business, your industry, and you personally. You probably already know the difference – but hopefully these tips get you into good habits of delaying the wrong things, and hurrying up the right ones.

 

Karen ReyburnKaren ReyburnThe Profitable Firm
Karen Reyburn is a creative-minded individual who specialises in online marketing for accountancy firms. A former accountant (and a Certified Public Accountant in the States), Karen now assists accountancy firms all over the world to understand and use online marketing to get more leads.

 

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