Too many businesses look at their marketing budgets as an unnecessary and potentially costly exercise that will not be worth the effort or money spent on it.
This in fact could not be further from the truth and should actually be seen as a company investment, the outcome of which ultimately comes down to how well you are able to plan your marketing strategy and how quickly you can learn from results as you undertake it.
” Good marketing makes the company look smart. Great marketing makes the customer feel smart. “
We have all witnessed ill thought out or knee-jerk reaction marketing campaigns that have cost a lot yet yielded little. Its almost certain that these campaigns fell short ultimately due to the lack of planning, if in fact, there was any…
With any cost-effective marketing activity that a business is looking to invest money into, it is always good practice to truly understand the following three corner stones of a sound marketing strategy before you even start any sort of spend:
What are you actually marketing? I know this sounds almost too obvious a question to overlook, but you would be surprised. When we ask the question, you should not only be sure exactly what it is you are marketing, but whether it is the right thing to be marketing. When a business has some expendable budget, the initial instinct is to just get a campaign going and get it going quick!
But seriously, just take a while to understand what area of your business, service or product would work best for you at this moment in time? For example, the corona situation has changed the world as we know it, so it may mean you need to adapt what and how you are marketing not only to suit the current environment, but also to appeal to people that may need your assistance in a ‘re-badged’ way.
When it comes to who you are targeting with your marketing, this can sometimes be a flippant after thought or even an assumption not based on any evidence or experience whatsoever, so make sure that you understand exactly who it is you are targeting.
If you have the time or resource to do so, it is a great idea to create some personas of customers or clients that you believe would be the ideal candidate for your services. From their hobbies, where they would work right down to where they hang out and what would entice them to purchase your product or service. This will start to give you a much better thought process when it comes to your ideal target audience as well as a ‘straw-man’ persona to refer back to. Then you can start to do some research on where these sorts of people actually do hang out and how it is best to reach them directly.
This article is to guide you on how to get the most from your marketing by approaching it in a structured and logical way which will in turn ultimately allow any campaign to become more cost-effective. You do still however need to think about budget, this is where you can set some boundaries. Let’s assume the marketing campaign was time-bound to one month, what is the maximum you could afford to spend on a marketing campaign if you never saw a penny back.
This should now be your bottom-line spend figure, as a marketing campaign that works very well and gives you return could potentially allow you to increase that budget exponentially. We will go into ways you can make this money work harder for you in the next section.
This is the part where you should have two goals in your mind. The first is your perfect outcome, which may be a number of leads, or increase in revenue, or number of downloads, it really can be anything, but it has to be your best-case scenario.
Now the second goal is your what do you need to do to break-even figure or scenario. If a campaign is not going to plan or is not performing for whatever reason, what is the point at which you need to cover in order to make it worthwhile carrying on. Your campaign now needs to remain within the remit of these two outcomes, but aspire to hit the best-case scenario, by learning and improving along the way (see corner stone 3).
Now that you have a robust marketing plan in place, you should have a very clear idea what you are marketing, to whom, where to find them, how much you are willing to spend and what your expectations are on the campaign. Now what? Well now you need to find the most cost-efficient channels to reach your expectation goals!
There are a multitude of channels on and offline that can be utilised to reach your target market, but there are some easy pickings to begin with that may be right under your nose and save you a lot of money in the process, here are some of those ideas:
In an effort to reach out and try and appeal to new customers, why not start closer to home with your existing customer base. It’s an obvious thing to say, but in a desperate attempt to get a marketing campaign off the ground, many businesses overlook this idea. Why not start a marketing campaign that just looks to appeal to your existing customer base.
This could include existing customer only offers, follow-on services or products, up-sold products or upgrades, seasonal or relevant campaigns that you know your existing customers would want or need, remarketing campaigns, the list goes on. But the idea is, that it is far easier to sell to someone that has already bought from you, than try and entice a new customer in.
Rather than assuming that you have to plough your money straight into marketing, why not try some ideas that are free to you financially. Ideas such as writing and distributing great content, utilising your social media channels to their true potential, running networking and useful video conferencing courses.
By brainstorming and coming up with some inventive ways to reach out to people, you’ll find some fantastically simple, yet cost-effective ways to promote yourself and your services to people willing to listen.
Why not harness your existing business relationships properly to build stronger bonds with people that you know well. From customers to suppliers, from work colleagues to providers, why not look at these relationships as potential partnerships.
Look at these people as people that would be willing to fly your company flag for you, as people that would join forces with you for the good of the bigger picture and as people that would want to be part of a mutually beneficial partnership to promote each other’s businesses. This is a fantastic free way to generate more business and to get people right behind promoting and marketing your business for you.
Do not be afraid to give help, advice, trial services and products and more importantly your time (within reason), in order to either help someone that requires it, or to give guidance where its needed. You will be guaranteed that a little bit of good goes a long way in business.
The third and probably most important part of the three corner stones of a sound marketing strategy is to track what is going on from the second you decide to start a marketing campaign to the end. This will ensure that you have full visibility of how successful or not the campaign was and where it either went right or where it started to go wrong.
The key to tracking a marketing campaign is not to wait until the end either, it is to monitor the campaign, on or offline every second that you receive results or at the end of every day/week that your campaign is alive and kicking.
The idea is to then fold these results, good or bad, back into the campaign as quickly as possible in order to either capitalise on the wins and steer clear of the loses.
If you have any questions about your own business marketing strategy, would just like us to chat you through any of the points above or would like one of our creative team to give you a free brand audit, then please do get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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