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Marketing_Strategies_body.jpgBy Cathie Ericson.

Almost every small business owner knows the feeling of too many items on the to-do list and not enough time.

But finding new clients is essential for any business and can’t be neglected, no matter how busy you are.

So, how do you make time for marketing activities when there is no time, or when you’re not even sure what tactics might be most effective? We went straight to the source—other busy small business owners—to get their best strategies.

1. Scout LinkedIn.

Sabrina Atienza, CEO and founder of San Francisco-based Qurious, searched for LinkedIn posts related to “meeting frustrations” and contacted the commenters to share how her product helps create better meetings. ”LinkedIn lets you freely browse through “Likes” and “Comments” to find posts related to your customers’ interests or pains so you can reach out with solutions,” she says.

2. Be active in your industry trade organization.

Tim Nguyen, CEO and co-founder of BeSmartee, an online mortgage company based in Huntington Beach, Calif., finds that even meeting competitors can help you grow your business. “You may serve different size businesses or different geographic locales, and you can refer one another,” he says. Nhuyen also underscores the value of increasing your own industry knowledge to share with customers.

Marketing_Strategies_PQ.jpg3. Reach out with email.

Nearly all (98 percent) of consumers have been influenced at one time or another by a marketing email to make a purchase, says research from BlueHornet. Matt Behnke, founder and CEO of Orthotic Shop in Shelby Township, Mich., has found regular email campaigns to be a low-cost way to quickly reach thousands of potential customers.

4. Arrange student assistance.

Daryl Cioffi, co-owner of Polaris Counseling & Consulting in Pawtucket, R.I., is so busy consulting with clients that it’s hard to handle marketing services. He enlists interns from local colleges to assist with webpage design, social media presence, and event planning. “The experience earns them school credits while providing a resume boost, and it has helped us tremendously by easing our workload and letting us bounce new ideas off a younger generation.”

5. Find your voice.

Speaking to chambers of commerce, networking groups, and other organizations helped Nanette Miner, consultant with Training Doctor in Mount Pleasant, S.C., find leads by allowing her to describe her services in a non-sales way. “I can directly link close to $200,000 in business over the course of three years to one 90-minute presentation,” she says.

6. Carve out the time.

“Create sacred selling time,” says Mike Schultz, president of RAIN Group, which provides sales consulting and training. “Pick two hours in your calendar in two weeks that aren't booked, and book them for selling,” he says. “Do it again a few days later and a few days after that.”


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