How to make marketing work for your business

Dan Campling 14th January, 2020

Marketing can be baffling and confusing to some small businesses and it can be hard to know where to start and what you should be doing.

Whilst there are lots of marketing options available, it’s essential to take time to understand what works for growing your business. It doesn’t need to be expensive to be targeted, but any business should have a marketing blueprint to work to.

Marketing is a way of creating material and messaging to drive your business goals forward. You’ve just set up a business but no-one knows it exists, how do you get the word out there? Or you’ve got an event coming up that you need to sell tickets for, or you need to grow your business sales by 10% in the year ahead, how are you going to do it? A marketing strategy/plan will identify your business goals, your audience, the pain point that you answer and provide a way of reaching that audience with that message.

You need to understand your product or service’s positioning.

How do you compare to others in your space – are you cheaper, more authoritative, pitching at commercial contracts rather than domestic? And what exactly do you offer? Get a statement together, just one or two sentences, that sums up what you do and who you do it for.

Spend time thinking about your tone of voice, are you friendly, serious, technical? All of these will help bring your message to life and give you a creative look and feel for your marketing outputs moving forwards.

Think about your audience – who are they, where are they, what do they like doing.

I’ve mentioned “pain point” already – what are they struggling with that they need your help with? For consumer products, it may be the feeling that you give them. For example, buying luxury necklaces may not seem a “pain point”, but the customer will buy into the lifestyle that you suggest comes with buying that necklace – they want to feel special when having a night out, they enjoy spending time out with their loved ones.

Once you know who your audience is and where they are, then it’s easier to know how to target them and you can be selective with this.

Work out what capacity you have, or need, to drive the plan forward. If you want to manage it in-house, who is going to drive it and make sure that they have time in their calendar to create and measure the campaigns? There’s no point in designing a mega plan with one person in the office to manage it themselves. If people or teams need training or support to manage, then investigate what’s required and get this in place before you start.

Set yourself realistic objectives

Always have KPIs to track the response and results, and the plans for moving ahead. It’s important to know that you don’t need to do everything. Put your efforts into key areas.

Once you’ve worked out your budget, your resource, where you need to be and what you need to say, then you’ll need to think about how you bring this to life creatively. Do your audience need product stats, will imagery bring your message to life, should you do a video of your product? Work out what’s the most important and do these things first. Build a content plan that builds over time.

And once you’ve got a plan in place, set out phased goals and KPI measurements. Monitoring regularly will make sure that everything is on track and also pick up areas that need attention, allowing you to adjust and adapt. Write a marketing calendar where you can see what you’ll be doing across a 6-12 month period.

And finally, a marketing plan is never complete!

Always review, adapt and start again. Work out what’s working and what isn’t, do more of what is working and less of what isn’t!

So to get going, start simply. Choose one or two areas to focus on and go for these. If you need external help to manage it, then get it! At the end of the day, you’ve chosen to build your own business because you love what you do, not necessarily to do the marketing for it. Choose companies that believe in your business in the same way that you do, and they’ll be there to help you grow along the way.

Photo by Garrhet Sampson on Unsplash