There's a store in the middle of our town that's been, in quick succession: a soft furnishings retailer, a record and CD store, a lighting shop, a pet store, and yet another soft furnishings store. It's currently a coffee shop.
I think the store's finally settled into its niche. Each time I pass it people are lined up to buy coffee and cake, so all appears well.
Why didn’t the previous tenants make a success of the store? Probably because the easiest way to go broke is to sell something that no one wants. Not enough people in our area wanted to buy soft furnishings and pets.
That's the first rule of marketing. Find out what people want to buy. If you've got something that people want to buy, marketing is a snap - you can be as lazy about marketing as you like, you'll still be a success.
Is lazy marketing for you? Your success may take a little longer if you choose to go the totally lazy marketing route. Sometimes you don’t have a choice; you may have a fulltime job and want to start your own business. That's the message of lazy marketing: it's the scenic route to success. Enjoy the view.
Here are five lazy ways to market your business.
=> 1. Get a Web site
This is the ultimate lazy way. Put up a Web site, or get someone to do it for you. Then forget about it. You won’t hear much for around six months, but once you get listed on the search engines, you'll start getting business.
You can help the process along, by promoting your site, and by updating it regularly, but once it's up, and you're listed on the search engines, you can be as lazy as you like.
=> 2. Make three phone calls a day
How long does it take to make three phone calls? You could probably make them in ten minutes.
Who will you call? Potential clients, suppliers, people who are in the same business you're in - it doesn’t matter who you call. The idea is that you're shaking the trees. Once you start communicating, you'll move your business along.
In any one work week, that's a total of 15 marketing-related calls. I don’t care who you are or what you do, but if you make 15 marketing-related calls a week for a few months you're going to kick your business along.
To avoid getting trapped in voice-mail hell, you can use the ultra-lazy person's alternative – email. However, do make your messages professional. That is, send an email message that's just like a snail mail message, with all your contact details. Be polite and courteous, and include your full name, your business name, and your complete address, as well as your phone and fax number.
=> 3. Contact one client a day
Call, email or fax one client a day. You're not touting for business, you're just touching base. This person has done you the kindness of doing business with you in the past. Call and find how he or she is.
If you're a writer, this means send out one letter, query or proposal a day, every week day to your previous clients: that is, editors who've bought from you in the past.
If you're just starting out as a writer, then send one query a day to a market you'd like to sell to.
=> 4. Give something away
"Free" is an incentive. And it works. What can you give people to remind them that you're still in business, and that you're good at what you do?
Give away something that's useful, whether it's a pen, a T shirt, a bookmark - or an hour of your time to mentor a beginner.
Be creative with your freebies!
=> 5. Do what you enjoy
This is the ultimate lazy way to work, as well as to market. If you love what you do, it's not work.
Make a list of marketing-related activities that are fun for you. Again, be creative about this. No one is holding a gun to your head and saying: “THIS is the way you market. " There are hundreds of marketing activities you could engage in. It's your business, so find a way that's fun.
For example, I love to write. So writing articles to promote my business is not a chore, it's fun.
Maybe you like to interact with others. So why not start a business breakfast club in your area? Or an online club?
Once you've worked out what you love to do, you'll be able to find marketing activities that relate directly to that, and you'll have another great lazy way to market your business.
There you have it. Five lazy ways to market your business. Take the scenic route to success today!
Author of many books, including Making the Internet Work for Your Business, copywriter and journalist Angela Booth also writes copy for businesses large and small, and consults on search engine marketing. Angela has written copy for companies in many industries, ranging from technology and real estate to the jewellery trade. Her clients include major corporations like hp (Hewlett Packard), WestPac Bank, and Acer Computer. For copywriting services and marketing advice contact Angela at angelabooth.com