Word of warning - this isn't the be-all and end-all of marketing and this is not a formula for getting rich quick (ain't no spammy, salesy yuk yuk!). But it is a succinct list of 10 things you should be thinking about when it comes to marketing a business of any size, industry or stage.
I was recently asked to present at a networking business breakfast on my top 10 tips for marketing... now, my first thought (apart from freaking out a little about standing up in front of others because I'm normally more comfortable and safe behind my computer screen typing away) I thought "ah yeah that's broad," and then ... "just 10 tips ... I've got thousands!" I read about industry updates, marketing initiatives, and inspiring ideas every day and work with so many different businesses learning new strategies and approaches all the time. Plus after 5 years studying and 6 years working in agencies I've got a wealth of information inside this pretty little head... how to simplify all this into a 20-minute presentation on 10 top tips?
Being a believer in NOT one size fits all, I was able to narrow down my presentation content and by coming back to the basic marketing principles - who is my target audience, what are they looking for and what can I give them that will answer some of their fears, frustrations or desires? I was presenting to a group of small business owners who cover a range of industries, they are time poor, have been in business a while and have dipped their toe in the water with a couple of basic marketing tactics. They are not overly technically-savvy and possibly need a little kick up the butt to get more marketing activities underway. With that in mind, I prepared the following top tips - broad enough to cover a range of business types, avoiding the step-by-step technical details (not that I'm a web developer wiz but I know a thing or two!) but giving enough detail to provide something of value .
I also believe in sharing and making the most of a piece of work you produce... so here's my presentation content shared here with you in my blog (and via Facebook and LInkedin if you follow me there too).
Get your notepads out, set the volume for your 'Focus' music playlist and take note of Lizzie's Top 10 Tips for successful marketing:
1. Know your audience
Beyond the age, gender, business type standard demographics, go deeper so you can connect with your audience in their world and send a message that really resonates. Ask yourself:
- What are their fears, frustrations and desires?
- What are their buying habits?
- What’s going on in their world right now?
- What methods do they use to get information, where do they ‘hang out’ (TV, social media, magazines, radio, do they drive a lot and see billboards?)?
- What language/wording do they use and respond to?
- What key things can you say about your business to connect with your audience and offer a solution they really need?
2. Set a Budget
Include in your budget things like website fees, stationery printing, design work, professional memberships, uniforms, discounts, advertising spend. Every business’ marketing budget will be different depending on goals and target audience but a rough suggestion is 5% of your annual revenue.
3. Plan ahead
Don’t wait until the last moment when sales are down and you’re desperate for a miracle – you’ll end up with something sub-standard and with probably no budget to properly execute it. Plan ahead each year/quarter/month with:
- Strategies to achieve the goals
- Schedules to keep you on track (i.e. a content calendar for your social media posts or email newsletters)
4. Review all your brand touch points
Take a look at all the ways your customers and target audience can interact with your brand and determine if there is anything you can do to improve each area to convert more sales. For example, look at:
- Phone messages
- Email signatures and newsletters
- Website incl. automated forms and emails
- Social media pages
- Business cards and personal presentation
- Storefront or car signage
5. Be consistent
Whatever methods you choose to promote your business, be consistent i.e. post on social media each week, post a regular blog (not just when you launch your site and maybe one 6 months later), always wear your branded shirts, keep your contact details and key messages the same on all pieces of communication. This will make it easier for your audience to remember your details and to learn how to engage with you.
6. Have a clear ‘call to action’ (tell your audience what you want them to do)
Make it super easy for your audience to take the next step – give them just one thing to do and tell them exactly how to do it. I.e. click on this link to enter the competition, call our office to book an appointment, fill in this form and we’ll contact you…
Don’t send any promotional communication piece without a clear call to action… otherwise your audience won’t know what to do and you won’t be able to measure its effectiveness.
7. Look at collaboration opportunities
Align yourselves with other businesses that have the same target audience and match your brand values and goals. See if there’s opportunity for a competition and joint promotion or a value-add offer for your clients. This can double your exposure to the right type of people with limited barriers to entry.
8. Communicate to your existing customers
Do your current customers know everything you have to offer? Have they taken you up on all your service and product offerings? Has it been a while since they’ve been in touch?
Reach out, make sure you stay top of mind with your customers and invite them to come back to you. You can do this through regular email newsletters, social media, phone calls or mail outs – what ever your audience prefers.
9. Check your results
See what’s working and what’s not by checking the results of each of your marketing activities. Look at your website analytics, check your social media insights, ask clients how they heard about you, use unique phone numbers or web addresses or coupon codes for printed pieces. Test and measure each activity…. and ASK YOUR CLIENTS for feedback!
10. Hire someone to do it if you can’t
If you know you won’t get time or you aren’t creatively inclined to get your marketing planned and activated hire someone else to do it. There will be an upfront or ongoing cost but the whole point of it is to generate more sales for your business… what’s the cost to you if you don’t do it?
11. Check your content... word!
I lied... not 10, but 11 tips on this post because I couldn't help myself... good content and proof reading is so important and makes me happy. On the flip-side, bad grammar and stupid spelling errors make me so mad! But it's not all about me, you'll be judged by many on your written content and even the smallest of spelling errors can strip a piece of its authority and charm.
I'd love to hear from you in the comments below if you found this list helpful or if you've got marketing tips you'd like to share with business owners looking for inspiration.
If this post has given you motivation to kick your marketing plan into gear but you need help to actually get organised and get started, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can see where I can best support you.