Sometimes, business owners have a tough time with their marketing. They just don’t know where to start. There are so many people giving them advice—and so many different marketing options—that when they really dive in and try to do it right, it can be a bit overwhelming.
What are the key things you need to know and have to do to be really effective at marketing? Is there a pathway you can follow? What are the key things that should be kept in mind? How do you remove some of the uncertainty? These are some of the things you have to keep in mind to be successful right off the bat in small business marketing.
1. Define your objectives as a company.
First, your overall short-, medium-, and long-term objectives as a company. Your marketing needs to serve your company’s objectives—it doesn’t just exist on its own. One of the biggest areas where business owners fall down is they haven’t really defined their overall vision for the company and made it known, maybe even to themselves.
You can’t achieve anything if you haven’t decided what you’re achieving. Define your goals, including:
- Short-term objectives: a few weeks to up to a year
- Medium-term objectives: a few years
- Long-term objectives: overall arc of the company, where is it going in the big picture?
2. Focus on what achieves your company’s objectives.
Set aside the noise and confusion about marketing. Ignore all the hype, the shiny objects, the trendy ideas, and what other people are doing. Focus on what moves the needle and achieves your long-term objectives. There are so many different types of marketing you can engage in—a ton. An advantage you can have is not getting engaged in them all. Sure, you should understand them all, but just look at what you’re trying to achieve with your company objectives. Then work backwards from that to what type of marketing actually moves the needle and achieves those goals and focus on that.
3. Define your target prospect.
You need to define your target prospect. Is it general, or is it specific? What do I mean by “general”—is it everybody? If you’re a gas station or if you’re a pizza place, anybody is a potential customer. Or are you serving a specific demographic, like a niche, an age group, an income bracket, or people with specific interests?
Define who you’re talking to and focus your marketing to that person. Realize you’re not actually just talking to the world—you’re basically building your marketing from that person. It’s a communication to your target audience. How do you reach that person most effectively? What do you say in order to make them decide to come in and be a customer?
4. Define your primary conversions.
Define your primary conversion or conversions: the things you want people to do or the signups you want to get. What is the one thing or the few things that need to be done in order to actually drive growth in your company? Is it a consult, an exam, an analysis? It’s that first step. Figure out that one thing or few things that you focus on that then move people into receiving service from you.
5. Define your sales process.
After you’ve got your target audience and primary conversion, you now need to define your sales process. How do you get that target audience to move through and then achieve that conversion?
How do you get a person from not knowing about you to being a committed client? If you haven’t figured that out, that’s a really powerful thing that can unlock sales processes and unlock marketing for a company. Working that out for yourself is absolutely crucial.
6. Work out a marketing strategy to fill your sales funnel.
There is where you actually have to know about the different types of marketing available to you so you can utilize them.
How do you reach people and what are the effective ways of doing that today? What are the different types of marketing? You need to know what buttons to push and what levers to pull to get these things rolling simultaneously and get people in and fill in your funnel.
Do you use Google? Do you use Facebook? You’ll need to have a comprehensive strategy on how to reach these people and get them to take their first step, second step and third step. Getting that all rolling together—that’s your marketing strategy.
7. Set metrics that measure your success.
Once you’ve got a marketing strategy, you want to set metrics that measure your success. You have to have a regular interval of monitoring your marketing to know if it’s working or not. You have to define the key metrics which could be:
- Email recipients
At the beginning, you’re asking, “Am I reaching people? Am I talking to people? How many people are finding out about me?” Then, a little bit further down the funnel, you look at things like:
At this point, you’ve gathered some identities. Then, look at how many of these people actually schedule or sign up for the appointment and say, “Okay, I will be there on Thursday,” for the appointment, exam, interview, or whatever service you’re providing.
Finally, of course, you have new clients or new patients and then overall income. Knowing these metrics allows you to start at the beginning and have a person move through the funnel. You can gauge whether or not your marketing’s successful from a scientific approach, not just a guesswork approach. And you can also say, “Hey, what’s wrong here? We’ve got all these people that are reaching out, but they’re not signing up.”
8. Allocate a marketing budget as a fixed percentage of revenue.
Allocate a marketing budget that constantly expands as you grow. This forces expansion because if you’re setting a percentage that stays the same, when you make more money, more money goes toward marketing—it’s a virtuous cycle.
You invest in marketing, which then drives in new business and makes more income. That automatically makes a larger marketing budget, which makes you now have to figure out, “What else should I be doing for marketing? What other ideas can I come up with? How can I spend this?” Then, that expands your marketing efforts, which makes more money come in and more new patients or new customers. So, allocating a fixed marketing budget of your gross income is actually a key point that automatically forces expansion, if you do it right.
9. Split test and review constantly.
Constantly split test and review. Look at your marketing as a continual ongoing experiment. Don’t get comfortable with any one type of marketing, even if you’ve got a proven winner, even if you’ve got marketing you know works. Constantly try different tweaks, measure the results, and see what’s going on. This way, you continually improve the return on investment from your marketing dollars.
I hope this advice is helpful to you. If you have any questions, just drop us a comment, shoot us an email, or fill out a contact form. We’ll do our best to help you get whatever you need figured out. As always, at Uplift Marketing, our goal is to help create marketing strategies that work to achieve your goals.