Make this the year that your business really makes the most of any marketing opportunities. Whatever your budget, follow these simple steps to optimise your marketing strategies…
Regardless of what you spend on budgeting, and whether you have a team responsible for this part of your business, or the job is allocated to just one person, making your marketing spend really work for you is vital.
Take a look at the steps below, which will help you get your ducks in order and ensure that what you do budget for marketing is money well spent!
1. Business plan
This is the basis of any successful business. Your plan should include your business objectives for the year ahead, along with any specific short-term goals. Your marketing operation is going to help you achieve these goals, translating your business objectives into actionable marketing activities, so establishing your goals and operational information such as finances and staffing must be a priority.
2. Marketing strategy
As mentioned above, this is the basis of your marketing activities for the year(s) ahead. Your strategy should cover what your mission statement is, USPs and your goals. You need to define your target market, and ensure you know just what the benefits of your products and services are, so you are able to shout about it!
Remember to consider the four Principles of marketing (often referred to as the 4P’s) of product, price, place and promotion – looking at the suitability and benefits of your products, getting the pricing right for your target market, using the right channels to place it in front of the right target market and promoting it in the correct forums, again for your target audience, such as print, social media, internet, TV and so on. There are many more Principles as the picture demonstrates, but start with these four.
Get started on your planning using our guide here.
Don’t spend, invest. Allocating a marketing budget is an essential step! Without it you’ll be unlikely to make any investment in your marketing activities. Spend unwisely on unplanned or adhoc activities and it’s gone forever. Instead, consider it as an investment in your business. Find out more about working out your marketing budget here.
4. Target audience
Do you know who you are targeting your products/services at? It may sound obvious, but if you don’t know who you are selling to, it will be hard to focus your marketing in the right way and with the correct channels.
To identify your target audience, look at your product/service, and identify what needs and wants it fulfils. This will help you to discover who most needs or wants what you are selling.
Creating customer personas – a hypothetical example of the person you are targeting with their needs or problem that you can solve – is really useful. Find out more here. Discover more about finding your target audience here.
5. Marketing plan
Next you need to come up with a plan. This will identify what activities you are going to include – social media posts, placing adverts, running competitions and so on – when they will take place, who will be responsible for them and what budget is allocated. Setting up a marketing calendar is a good place to start.
6. An integrated plan
It’s tempting when one channel works well for you to concentrate solely on that. But things change – and if we’re talking about digital marketing, they change very quickly. For example, when Google’s Penguin and Panda algorithms came out in 2017, companies who had relied solely on SEO were left high and dry. More recently, the rise of Instagram has caught out those who previously relied solely on Facebook for social media. They will have to start all over again, building up a following.
Think of it as creating a solid foundation for promoting and maintaining your business. There are many ways to get your message across and having an integrated plan across a variety of channels will serve you best. Get some more ideas on this here.
7. Maximise content
You may be thinking how are we going to find the time and resources to produce different content for each different channel? The good news is that you don’t have to. That blog you wrote? You can turn it into a white paper, or a video, or break it down into bite size chunks for social media. That way, you are getting your content to a variety of people, however they like to consume information – YouTube, podcasts, emails and so on. Find more ideas on maximising your content here.
8. Social media strategy
Ensure you have a proper social media strategy. Posting on social media is so simple, that it would be easy to let it get out of control. A proper strategy will ensure that your posts are properly considered and don’t end up as a free-for-all. Make sure that there are proper controls on who is responsible for posts, what you do or don’t want to say in them, and which customers you are targeting. Get more guidance here.
9. Measuring success
Consider how you can measure the success of your marketing strategies, so that you can identify what works or doesn’t work for you. From these measurements you can learn better tactics and work out how to refine your marketing plans to optimise their effectiveness. If something isn’t working, despite adaptations and refinements, don’t be afraid to stop. Use the time to put more effort into something that does work for you. Measure your online success using Google Analytics and use this alongside your other key metrics.
In the process of marketing your business, you are likely to receive personal data. Remember to consider what your responsibilities are with regards to GDPR as maintaining best practice is both a legal requirement and important for your business’ credibility and integrity.
Marketing is a vital part of business success, and for a small business, with limited staff on hand, undertaking everything in-house can be a real stretch. This is when an outsourced marketing consultant can be a cost-effective and flexible solution.
If you would like to have a chat about how you can improve your buyer enablement, or any other marketing requirements, please call Alison Page on tel: 07963 002065 or email: email@example.com. You can of course browse our website to see what our existing clients have to say about our work.