When the sun’s out and the kids are off school, there’s always something that feels far more important than my marketing. As hard as I try, my usual marketing rhythm and motivations seem to go out of the window over the summer holidays.
For all of us, there are periods when our usual marketing rhythm has to change, perhaps due to a seasonally busy period or because you’re away. So, here are my tips to make sure your marketing is working hard even if you’re not…
I get asked this question a lot. And whether it’s a new website, Facebook ads, email campaign, leaflet, brochure, or event, I always come back with the same four questions. So here’s they are:
1. Why are you doing it?
What do you want to achieve with this marketing activity? And be specific! “To get more sales” is too vague.
You need to know what is the end result you are hoping for. What do you want people to feel, think and do as a result of coming into contact with your marketing? Do you want them to go to your website; book onto an event; call you? Why would they want to do that? How will your marketing get people to do this?
Make sure you have a strong call to action that prompts people to do what you want them to do. Make it as obvious as possible what action you want people to take and you have a much higher chance of your marketing activity being successful.
I don't think I’ve ever had a 90-day marketing plan go exactly as planned.
Even now, after nearly 18 years in marketing, something always crops up and throws a spanner in the works.
This quarter for example, we pursued an exciting new opportunity which led the business in a new direction. This meant we had to completely revise our 90-day marketing plan in week 6. We identified a new ideal customer and created a new product at around week 8. And then at week 10 Katie was off ill with covid for a week which meant lots of tasks had to be rolled over to the following week.
Despite all of this, this quarter has been our best in a long time!
It’s always important to be reminded that, just because things haven’t gone to plan, doesn't mean you’ve failed.
So when things aren’t going to plan, how do you get things back on track again? Well, when spanners pop up, you have 3 options…
This is a question that not enough business owners are asking themselves before diving head first into their marketing…
A lot of business owners know they need help and assume they need a consultant. But do they really? Or do they need a coach?
So what’s the difference between the two?
Strategic marketing planning takes time.
And, if like me, you’re running a business, time is probably in short supply...
It’s easy to think that it’s better to just get on and do some marketing, even if it’s not as effective as it could be, and work on improving it incrementally using an agile or ‘test and learn’ methodology. Taking time out of your business to plan can feel excruciatingly wasteful. After all, once you’ve spent all that time planning, you’ve then got a long list of marketing activities to do and even less time to do them than you had before.
So can’t all this planning be skipped? Can’t I just work out my marketing strategy as I go along?
Well… let’s explore that with an analogy.
Without buy-in from everyone involved in executing your marketing plan, you'll never be fully successful in implementing it. And I don’t just mean your marketing team here either.
Marketing should never operate in a silo. Their activities impact sales, customer service, product development, product/service delivery and operations and more. Your marketing strategy needs to fit within the context of your business growth strategy and work in collaboration with each departmental strategy.
But how do you get buy-in from all these different people? Especially when you have people who are not at all familiar with how marketing actually works.
Here are my top 5 tips…
I disagree with a lot of marketers on this question. I don't believe a business necessarily needs to spend weeks (or even months) creating a strategy.
Don't get me wrong, if you're running a huge corporation with a marketing budget of millions then it'll take time. You'll definitely need to spend a while getting your strategy right before you start implementing it.
But I work with small businesses who want to see results as quickly as possible. Do they need to take weeks out of their business before they can start taking action?
I say 'no'.
In my last two blogs I’ve been taking you through the buyer’s journey, looking at how excellent marketing needs to support our buyers at every step.
If you missed part 1 and part 2, read them here:
Encouraging the first purchase
To reduce the perceived risk at this point in the buyer journey, your customer needs to feel what it’s like to be a customer before they buy.
A product ladder is a series of offers and products that lead from one to the next so people can build a relationship with you and get a sense for what it’d be like to be a customer before they commit to something big. It’s all about reducing perceived risk.
In my previous blog I explained how we all go through a number of stages when we make a buying decision.
Excellent marketing supports our buyers at every stage of their decision-making process so they can move forward.
To do this, you need to have mapped out your customer’s buying journey because it’ll be different for different markets and products. Once you’ve mapped out your customer’s buying journey, you can then look at how you can reduce the perceived risk at every stage and build trust throughout the journey. By reducing risk and building trust at every stage, it becomes easy for customers to decide to choose you. And if it’s easy for people to buy from you then sales will inevitably increase.
If you haven’t read part 1 yet, where we covered the first stages of the buying journey, click here: Part 1
Building buyer’s interest
Once your buyer is aware of you, you need to let them get to know you in their own time. Build trust by providing regular, quality, short-form content such as;
The aim of marketing and sales is to take people on a journey from never having heard of you to being raving fans who buy loyally and tell all their friends. So if you want to understand what marketing excellence looks like then you need to understand how your customers make that journey. And the journey will be different depending on your business, your product and your market.
Some buying journeys are quite short and buyers make their decision quite quickly. Others are longer, involve more stages, and require more support from marketing and sales.
Marketing excellence supports buyers at every stage of their buying decision, all the while building trust and reducing the perceived risk of moving forward.
Get strategic advice, tips and ideas straight into your inbox every fortnight.