Ways to connect when you’re time-poor

For small business owners who are busy getting work done, it can be a struggle to find the time to physically get out there and connect with others. Many time-poor business owners simply don’t have the capacity for time consuming marketing strategies such as cold calling, letter dropping or attending regular networking events. But actively marketing your business is crucial for its success even if you don’t have the time for it. With marketing there are no short cuts, but there are some fast and effective methods to consider, especially if you’re time-poor.

Social media
This can be one of the most powerful ways to share your brand, connect with your customers and showcase your products and services. The secret of social media is to say something quickly and get to the point. Focus on providing valuable content that users want to share across their social networks. If people like what you have to say they’ll spread it around, which is free marketing that shouldn’t be missed out on. It should be authentic, brand-aligned content that will attract traffic to your site, increase awareness and hopefully sales. Social media content, videos and images also influence Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) efforts by increasing relevancy in search results within social media networks and search engines. Social media can be hard to stay on top of when it comes to marketing through the many platforms, but if done well it’s a highly effective and time-efficient marketing option.

Search engine marketing
Businesses use SEM to grow their website traffic through paid online advertising. One of the most popular SEM methods is pay-per-click (PPC) links. Essentially, a company buys or sponsors a link that appears as an ad in search engine results when keywords related to their product or service are searched. Every time the ad is clicked, your business pays the search engine a small fee for the visitor. It’s time efficient, highly targeted and measurable.

Free media
Also known as earned media, it’s publicity that’s created through efforts other than paid advertising. It can take a variety of forms such as social media testimonials, word of mouth, a newspaper article or editorial, a television or radio mention. But positive free media cannot be bought like traditional advertising, it can only be gained through good fortune and opportunity. You can, however, improve your chances of it happening by writing press releases, providing story ideas and articles to the media or speaking at industry associations. It doesn’t take much time and costs nothing, but is potentially very valuable to your business.

All of these marketing strategies mainly focus on content and tactics, but a vital consideration for time-poor small business marketers is the style in which you are delivering that content. Marketing your business is mainly about the presentation. Even if you happen to be in a not-so-exciting or downright unsexy industry, your message should still hit its target if it’s delivered well. A subject may not be that interesting, but often people become interested, because of the way that it is presented. Pictures and video are far more engaging than long winded articles, for example. People want you to get to the point fast and everyone is looking for faster and faster ways of communicating a message. So the trick here is to cut out the noise and get to the heart of the issue. A big part of promoting any business is to tell the story of that business. But the problem is most people want to tell too much of a story. It’s unnecessary, and you’re watering down your message by doing so. Find the essence of what your business is and this is what you want to be actually promoting. Later on when you’ve established relationships, people may want to hear the full story, but for now you’re better off revealing only the important parts. It will be more impactful in the long run and also save you time.