Many businesses today are entirely reliant on projects consistently coming in to keep their doors open. The moment the projects dry up, your business could face serious trouble. This is usually more common among smaller companies, but it often happens that businesses have to close their doors because they haven’t had a new project come in for months.
It is called the feast famine cycle, and this means that you either have too much of something (feast) or you have too little (famine). This cycle closely resembles a documentary I have recently seen called “Bears”. The film takes you on a journey throughout an entire year with a bear during her hibernation phase, with her waking up on the brink of starvation and then eventually finding the Salmon River where she eats so much salmon in a few days it would last her the entire winter again. Many businesses go through similar extreme stages.
During the feast season, you have so much to do, that you can hardly keep up, and all your time and attention goes into completing the projects at hand. This is usually the time when businesses neglect their marketing strategies and this is where the biggest mistakes are made. In order to prepare your business for the famine cycle, there is one vital thing you should take from this article…
NEVER stop marketing! This applies especially in the busy times where your company should focus on lining up new projects for when the rush is over. Sales people also stop selling as hard in the feast season because they have reached their targets, and they think that the company already has enough to do. The company stops doing what has made them so busy in the first place. If you are not careful though, then one by one your projects approach completion and before you know it, you have no more projects.
Usually companies start marketing aggressively at this stage and the sad truth is, that you don’t convert leads into sales within just a week. Many of the marketing strategies only start paying off in a few months. At times you can wait up to 3 months to get approval on a quote or proposal you have previously presented.
They key to consistent marketing is automation. Automate as much of your marketing and daily business processes as you can. When you are so busy, you don’t have time to sit and write two hour proposals, so have template proposals and quotes ready, that you can simply modify and adjust.
Give your potential clients a place to get in touch with you and get all the answers they need without having to organise meetings or have a long phone call, if you have Q&A on your website, information on similar projects your company has done on your profile or template sales collateral like benefits or pricing, that could already eliminate much of you time spent on answering the basics.
Automate your social media marketing by scheduling tweets or Facebook posts in advance on programs like Hootsuite or Buffer. Have your Twitter and blog feed integrated with your company’s LinkedIn account. Having these ongoing structures in place, ensure that your company can spend the minimum time on marketing and focus on the projects at hand.
This brings me to the point that companies should work smarter, not necessarily harder. How much nicer would it have been for the bear, if he was able to take a basket of salmon with him to last the winter? By filling your basket with a well organised, continues and automated marketing strategy, you should survive the winter just fine.
Lorraine Coetzee is a Digital Media Project Manager at Sound Idea Digital | Email: Lorraine@soundidea.co.za | Twitter: @SoundIdea
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