Here’s a conversation I’ve had numerous times over the years with a variety of business owners and the answer is always the same.

‘How’s your business doing?’

‘Not so good. Things are really slow and nobody’s calling me.’

‘Bummer. So what are you doing to market yourself?’

‘Oh, you know I tried a few things like an email blast or a direct mail piece, but it just didn’t work. I don’t really know what to do, but if something doesn’t happen soon I’m going to be in trouble.’

Does this sound familiar? Here are a few ideas about how to remedy being slow and getting more business.

Do you have unrealistic expectations about marketing your business?
A lot of small business owners believe that marketing should be easy and all they have to do is put some information out there and folks will come running.

Think about this. If large well known companies like Coca Cola, Nike and Apple are spending billions of dollars reminding us about themselves then how much more do small unknown business owners need to keep reminding potential clients about themselves?

We have to continually remind clients that we exist and that we have something to offer them that will make their life better or solve one of their problems. Sporadic marketing just doesn’t work. Consistent and timed reminders will help keep your business in the minds of your clients.

Most small businesses don’t have large budgets for marketing so an email campaign is an inexpensive way to stay in touch with potential clients. There are a

Have you forgotten that marketing is about creating and maintaining relationships?
Here’s the simple truth – marketing is about building relationships.

I’ve seen business owners implement this one idea and transform the success of their business. Customers know when you’re really interested in them and not just out to make a buck. Not only will they keep coming back for more, but they’ll refer you to their friends and other potential customers.

Think about the companies and businesses you deal with. Are there any of them you really like and automatically talk about with your friends? Why do you feel that way about them? Can you give your customers the same experience?

When was the last time you asked for a referral?
If you aren’t asking for referrals you’re missing out on the very best source for new business that exists. Referrals are hidden gold and many businesses fail to take advantage of referrals for a couple of reasons.

Here are two great articles on getting more referrals