Marketing success is unpredictable: there are too many variables to be certain about results. However there are some points to consider that will put you on the right track and prevent you from wasting time with the wrong activities.
Start looking at marketing as an investment in the future of your business rather than an expense. When times get tough, marketing is frequently one of the first things to be cut back, because it's looked upon as an expense. When you continue spreading the word about your business, you are laying foundations and stepping stones that, if they're the right ones and done properly, WILL result in more clients and revenue and will bring a return on your investment.
Consider your ideal clients. Who are they and where are they? Then figure out what is the best method to reach them, given the nature of YOUR business. Make a list of all the ways you could possibly get your message in front of people you want to work with.
Refine your marketing message so it's clear to your ideal clients why they would want to work with you. It's worth taking time to do this first, so that your core message is consistent across all your marketing methods. Whether it's your webiste, how you speak about your business at networking meetings or your social media posts, the message will be the same and people will recognize you and know how you can help them.
Don't let the perfectionism dragon take up residence in your head and stop you from forging ahead. It's easy to want everything to be perfect but usually it's not necessary.
Don't copy everyone else. It's tempting to copy what everyone else is doing, just because they're doing it. This creates the copycat effect: copycats who are copying copycats who are copying copycats but what if it's not working that well for anyone and everyone's doing it because it's the next big thing? It's easy to latch onto the latest fad because it's there. But before you jump in, take a good look at whether it's appropriate for your business and target market, and whether it's a good use of your time and resources. Have the courage to NOT follow the crowd if it doesn't fit for you.
Use more than one marketing tactic. Renowned marketing expert Jay Abraham recommends building your business on several pillars of marketing. That means using several different methods to promote it. Choose the methods that are most likely to bring results given the nature of YOUR business and YOUR market. Pick a small number of things to do.
Be consistent and persistent. Once you've decided how you're going to market your business, stick with it. Rather than jumping around, be patient.