We’ve been in business for awhile now and have learned what to do and not do by trial and error. We’d like to spare you some of the error and help you bypass a lot of the trial.
So, here are our top 5 basic tips to help you with your small business marketing efforts, regardless of your product or service. We wish someone had given them to us when we first started out!
1. Make sure you’re marketing for the right reasons
This may sound like Marketing 101 and we don’t want to insult you smart marketing pros out there but....don’t just market for the sake of marketing. Better to first define your business goals and what is most important to you and your company.
Once you’ve defined your business goals the next step is to connect them directly to your marketing goals.
2. Put marketing first
Marketing first enables you to attract your ideal target market and the means, via multiple platforms, to get to know them and their needs. When you do launch your product or service you have a ready-made and active audience base to move your sales.
Investing heavily in your product and service without planning your marketing activities and budget ahead of time will seriously affect the growth speed of your business.
3. Take direct aim at your target
Get really clear on who your target market is and focus, focus, focus. This will save you a lot of time and energy in the long run. To implement a successful marketing strategy marketing managers and CMOs need to figure out first who they are marketing to and why. Having crystal clear knowledge of your ideal audience ensures your marketing plan will be more effective and your efforts more efficient.
Don’t waste your precious time and money trying to be all things to everyone in your promotional/advertising campaigns. It’s more effective to concentrate on one topic, product or service at a time, aimed at one specific target market at a time.
4. Measure and track your ROI
In today’s uber competitive marketplace even the most brilliant marketing strategy can fail if you don’t track your return on investment. Measuring the effectiveness of your trade show, email marketing, SEO or PPC efforts is entirely doable once you implement the right marketing tools to track the right data. Digital marketing aprovides that critical data available to you at your fingertips at all times in real time.
Your tracking tools should:
- give you a way to measure the effectiveness of every promotional activity
- help you determine the long term value of your typical customer so you’ll know roughly how many dollars to spend on acquiring a new customer
- help you determine how much a lead is worth, how many leads you get week to week, and how to compare the number of leads month to month, quarter to quarter, year to year
5. Spend your marketing budget!
Don’t be afraid to mandate your marketing budget - it’s that important. And especially plan to spend it all! Remember that in our current business environment marketing is a requirement, not just an option.
Many small business marketing managers and CMOs mistakenly think that a marketing budget should be capped at some arbitrary amount. A common misperception is thinking 3-5% will do the job. It’s critical to start with an understanding of what the expected results should be. Next: fully understand your marketing threshold. Finally: commit to a plan that utilizes the marketing spend effectively and completely.
Coming in under budget may be useful in some areas of your business operations but your marketing expense should not be one of them! If you want your company to grow and thrive, make sure you commit good dollars to a marketing plan that truly works for you and stick to it.