Marketing is an art form — a careful blend of research, planning, strategy, execution and follow through. Most of us have strengths in some of these aspects, but not in all. It’s important to identify your strengths and weaknesses in your marketing efforts. Where you’re lacking, you’ll want to have a team supporting you.
It’s never too late to improve your marketing. Below are some thoughts and tips on how to get started in the right direction for your business.
1. Make a Plan
No matter where you are in your current marketing, there’s always room for improvement. So, make a plan.
Start by taking inventory. Consider the following:
- List of all your current marketing campaigns, and briefly describe what resources currently go into each — website, email newsletter, and Social Media accounts.
- Take note of your traffic and audience. You can get help with this by making use of analytics tools such as Google Analytics, or those built into your various campaigns.
- Know your product(s). Make a list of your product(s) and any discount programs you’re currently offering.
- Survey your marketing resources. This should include employees (their time and skills) and available marketing budget.
Now that you know where you are, it’s time to make a plan for how you could improve. Some of the basic ingredients that you want to include are:
- Understand your target market. You’ll want to research their buying patterns and where they spend their time on the Internet.
- List potential campaign expansions. Can you make improvements to any existing campaigns? Or are there any new ones you should start based on your target market?
- Identify any unused resources. Do your employees have skills that could be applied to any of your marketing campaigns, but haven’t? Are you making use of your full marketing budget, and in the best ways?
- Research your competitors. Conducting a study of successful companies in your market can help shed some light on what you can do to improve your own efforts.
2. Develop an Execution Strategy
Now that you know what needs to be done, you can look at the how, who, and when, and create your strategy around the answers. Ask yourself:
- How will each aspect of the plan be accomplished? You’ll need to identify deliverables for each goal in your plan.
- Who will be in charge of each role and responsibility? Based on your resources, you can assign roles to current employees or consider hiring employees or a media company to fill in the gaps. (If you think you might need a media company, contact us for more information on how we can help.)
- When to execute? Identify which pieces need to happen in what sequence, and what the maintenance schedule will be.
Don’t skip this step! I am a “Let’s go!” guy so I know from experience that without a solid strategy for executing your plan you run the risk of becoming overwhelmed, missing pieces, and wasting valuable resources along the way.
3. Follow Through
One of the most common things I see with small business owners is a decline in momentum after a period of increased marketing. It’s important to remember that many campaigns take time to affect ROI. You also need to know when to ask for help. Like me, most small business owners wear many hats, and following through on all of your responsibilities can often fall through the cracks.
So, make “Follow Through” your mantra, and be sure that once you get on the right marketing path, you stay on it!
These 3 basic steps can help any small business owner to hone their marketing skills; make a plan, get clear on how to execute it, and don’t forget to follow through. So go on, create your Marketing Masterpiece!
Simple, right? Well, if it still sounds like a daunting task, or if you get stuck on any of the steps, get in touch, we would be happy to help.