It’s fair to say that a lot of the time small to medium sized businesses fall into three camps in regards to their marketing:
- Camp one: companies that developed marketing plans with an understanding of their budget and knowledge of the tools they’re utilising and how they’re going to manage and administer their plan.
- Camp two: companies that have a legacy marketing plan that ticks on year-by-year with little deviation. They feel that what they do has worked in the past and will continue to do so, but with no real idea of whether this is the case. They may have a budget, but most often it’s a token figure readily changed.
- Camp three – no plan, no budget and generally reacting to the opportunities that may arise around them. They don’t have any pre-planned budget, but will move quickly on opportunities they think are a good deal.
Whichever camp you see yourself within – and if it’s camp three we seriously need to talk before you waste more money – the most important thing you can do is set goals. Sounds simple enough, but it’s the one important task that many fail to do and continue to spend money blindly because of it.
The great thing about setting goals is it forces you to think strategically about how you operate and how you’re going to achieve them before you’ve set any marketing plans in motion. For instance if the overall goals is to increase revenue, you need to understand everything involved in that process and ask yourself the following questions:
- Can we grow the business organically or we going to have to find new business?
- Can we do it with our current product/service offering or do we need to expand?
- Can we simply increase our price, where’s the competition at?
- What’s our conversion rate, how many additional leads do we need?
- Who’s are customers, do we need to focus on a new target market?
- How do we engage with our customers?
- How do potential customers find us?
- How do we support new customers once they find us?
- Can we support and service these new leads?
- Do we have the capacity and man power to meet any growth in demand?
Once you can successfully answer these questions you can start to map out the strategy behind your goal and how it can be achieved. For example if you can grow your business revenue organically your marketing strategy needs to focus on existing clients, so you need to start thinking about the tools needed to engage with them and drive them. This could be a range of options from email marketing, incentive programs, customer award night, networking events etc.
Before rushing ahead with any marketing activities or promotions it’s vital that you first understand what tools are going to be the most effective for your business, set up a framework that can support the plan, understand the costs involved and most importantly how you are going to manage success. The last thing you want is to fail to deliver because those new leads aren’t coming back if you can’t service them.