Does your marketing ever feel out of control? Many small business leaders throw money at advertising, local sponsorships, website maintenance, social media and more, but they find it hard to really know what’s working and what isn’t.
If you’re a small business leader, you DON’T need to micromanage. But you DO need to ensure the time and money your company invests in marketing gets results.
Here are five areas you can rein in without getting bogged down in the details. If you can sign off on these five areas, you can delegate the details of your marketing to others, knowing that it’s pointed in the right direction.
If you’re going to spend any time or money on marketing, you need a plan. Something in writing that guides your activity and helps you stay on track.
A good marketing plan should:
Don’t let a vendor’s proposal for the thing they are selling — social media, inbound marketing, radio, digital ads — be a substitute for a holistic marketing plan. Their proposals can be helpful, but remember that they are giving you tactics, not a complete marketing plan.
At the end of this article, I’ll share a worksheet and video — our “30-minute Marketing Planner” which will help you draft an effective marketing plan.
Mass marketing no longer works. If you’re running ads that everybody sees, you are probably wasting money. Attention is more expensive than ever, so you need to be really clear about 1-3 targeted groups of people who your product or service is for and what problems you can solve for each group. Your marketing plan should spell out a profile of each targeted group and a plan for how you’ll get their attention.
Okay, so now you know WHO you’re trying to reach. What are you going to ask those folks to DO? Many marketing efforts fail because there is no clear call-to-action. Other efforts fail because they are asking the prospect to take too big of a step, or to take a step that’s not aligned with the customer’s buying journey. Effective marketing happens in very carefully aligned “baby steps” that establish trust while helping prospects feel good about moving forward with you.
What does it cost to acquire a single customer? What percentage of your leads turn into sales? How much does each customer spend with you on average? Which marketing campaigns are working and which should you eliminate? These are important questions that someone needs to measure so that you can make informed choices about your marketing.
Don’t get caught up in vanity metrics like hits, impressions or likes. Make sure your marketing plan spells out the goals that make a difference in your business and that you have a way to tie everything you do back to results that matter.
I’ve seen small businesses generate solid engagement, but they don’t get results because there’s no follow-up. Without effective follow-up in your sales, marketing, and customer service you will be leaving a lot of money on the table. As you generate more leads and engagement, follow-up gets harder. That’s why we help small businesses improve their follow-up with software and automation that simplifies everything. To keep your marketing in control, make sure you have a plan to effectively follow-up.
If you want to get your marketing under control without micromanaging everything, it starts with a marketing plan. The marketing plan helps you regain perspective and a sense of control with all the people who want to sell you advertising and services and keeps you from getting in the weeds on the day-to-day details.
You can download our “30-Minute Marketing Planner” which is the framework we use to help hundreds of small businesses plan results-driven marketing. The worksheet includes a straightforward video where I walk you through how we do it. Or if you don’t want to mess around with writing your own, we can do it for you.