Goals. They aren’t just for sport.
The most common mistake business owners make when engaging in their marketing efforts is putting the cart before the horse. They know they want a website, but often times they skip an important step before building that site.
They think they need a website because their competitors have one.
They think they need a video because, “aren’t TV commercials the best way to advertise?”
They think they need to be on Facebook because “everyone is on it”.
They know they need to follow the trends in order to keep up. The problem is, they never ask themselves, “Why?”
We’re not saying you don’t need a website.
You do! Everyone does. If you want to be found, that is. A recent study showed that nearly 100% of consumers do online research before choosing a product or service. That’s literally almost everyone.
So, you do need to represent yourself on the internet. Your first instinct might be a series of “what” questions:
What colors should I use?
What type of layout should I use?
What kind of font should I use?
While these are all important questions, you should be asking yourself:
Why does my business need a website? What is its purpose?
A salesman came to us with a simple request.
“I want a website.”
Our first response was, “Why do you want website?”
He replied, “Well, because everyone else has one.”
While it is important to keep up with the competition, it is equally, and probably more important to have a strategy and a set of goals to make sure you are maximizing the full potential of your marketing tools.
Before we could offer a solution, we first had to identify the problem.
So we dug in. The salesman traveled from customer to customer selling his product. He had regular customers and a loosely defined routine for his sales schedule.
In addition to his regular customers, he would also try to obtain new customers in the particular region he was travelling in.
After briefly talking it out, we discovered the goal: more leads! He wanted to minimize the down-time, maximize the reach.
We now have the problem (leads & time management) and the solution (website). The only thing left to do was map out the route to get there!
We set him up with a web calendar, allowing clients to come to him and cut out drive time. We also added the ability to do video and phone conferences so he could take more meetings and spend even less time in the car.
In the end, the salesman was able to use his time more efficiently, by making his website work for him. By removing unnecessary drive time and with the ability to schedule his weeks with the click of a button, sales rose dramatically.
It was easy for the salesman to measure his success. He only had to compare monthly sales with and without his new plan, and the results were obvious.
Without discovering the true purpose of the website, the salesman might have never realized he needed to change his sales approach. He might’ve gotten a few more leads from the website, but he might not have taken that step back to assess his process as a whole.
Just by simply setting those goals for the website, he realized, and solved, a problem he didn’t even know he had.
Take a step back. Examine your marketing approach and ask yourself:
“Why is this (ie. video, website, social media) needed? What is the purpose? What should it accomplish?”
Answering this will help you define your goals and move your marketing strategy forward.
You’ve been working with a marketing firm for six months and though they’ve produced some creative items, you aren’t sure if it’s really working.
There are a lot of factors to consider if you feel your marketing efforts aren’t successful. One, is to examine the relationship you have with your marketing firm.
Here are signs your marketing firm isn’t working for your business’s best interest.
They don’t understand your business/brand
Have you ever been in a meeting and felt like they were giving you the cookie cutter answer they give every business?
Realize, if your best interests aren’t addressed at the beginning, don’t think that will ever change.
Top priority for your marketing firm should be understanding your business and developing a plan to reach your ideal customers.
Ideas aren’t based on Data
A great marketing firm isn’t just made up of creative ideas. It’s a mix between creativity and research.
Each decision surrounding your marketing plan should be based on data: social media statistics, testimonials, complaints, website traffic etc.
There are so many factors to look at and examine to culminate the full picture of your business. Your marketing firm should be looking at all of these facets, and more. This way, they’re able to build a creative plan that makes sense for your audience.
Lack of Communication
Examine the feedback you’re getting. Communication should be a key component in your relationship.
They should communicate realistic timelines for your marketing plan. Knowing approximately when content will be ready helps you plan the way sales can work with the current marketing campaign.
They are the marketing experts and should be leading the charge, but you should still be involved in the process.
Stay in the loop. Your knowledge of the industry’s trends and changes are invaluable to the marketing direction.
They say “Yes!” to everything
When your marketing team says yes to every idea, they aren’t looking out for your best interests. They are worried more about pleasing you, than enhancing your success.
Some can find this concept rude or backwards from how most businesses operate.
But, let me ask you a question.
Would you listen to your contractor if, while remodeling, he says taking out a wall isn’t a good idea? Or will you ignore that it’s a supporting wall for the home and tell him to take it out anyway?
It’s the same with your marketing firm. They may say, “no” to an idea, but they should also present to you why it’s not right for your target audience. It may be a great idea…but just for a different audience, in a different market.
Is your current marketing firm working for your business’s best interest? Are they branching out and trying new things because of something they discovered in the research process?
Working with the wrong marketing firm can be detrimental to your goals. But, working with the one that fits your business can be a great experience..
You perform marketing tactics, such as buying a newspaper ad or tv commercial. But, how are these tactics working? Are they successful?
You may feel like you are doing marketing “just because,” without any real direction or focus.
Businesses every day address strategic planning and tactile everyday operations. Planning and purpose are ingrained into every other part of the business…but many make the mistake of not approaching their marketing in the same way.
A strategic plan can give your guesswork-style marketing a framework. Here are the basic principles on how to develop a marketing strategy.
Develop an ideal list of people you want to hit with your message.
Break this list up into fictional characters that represent your target. You may want to reach millennials who love to exercise. So we’ll call them, Exercise Eric.
This allows you to focus in and learn all you can about that specific target. Then, every marketing message you create is directed straight to Exercise Eric.
Craft Your Message
Your message should include things that separate you from your competitors. Remember it should talk straight to your target markets. You want your message to be creative and focused on reaching your ideal customers.
Determine how you will measure the success of your marketing tactics.
Marketing isn’t always easily measurable. But, as technology improves, real time data is becoming more readily available. As you build your plan, ask yourself, “How will this marketing activity be tracked?”
When you work with the right tools, tracking your tactics is possible. You can track how many leads the tactic creates, and then dig deeper to determine how many of those leads became paying customers.
There are many more steps in developing an effective marketing strategy. But, this will give you a jumpstart in building a strategy to help you keep the big picture in mind and increase your odds of hitting your growth goals.