All businesses at some point in time undertake marketing to help grow their business. While most people think automatically of advertising when they think of marketing, it can take on a wide number of forms from online activity to networking to producing brochures to market research and ensuring customer satisfaction. No matter what the marketing activity you are about to undertake there are some basic principles you should adopt to ensure any marketing activity is successful.
What are you trying to achieve?
The first place to start is to know what you are trying to achieve in your business. Are you wanting to create brand awareness, are you looking to increase your sales leads, drive traffic to a store or increase a particular arm of your business. Whatever it is, it is important to set clear goals and the number one rule they need to be SMART (specific, measureable, attainable, relevant and time bound).
Once you know this than you can put a marketing plan in place that will help you achieve your business goals. It is important to remember that no one marketing plan looks the same. It needs to be tailored to your business and depends on a range of factors from your goals, your customers, your market, your product to name but a few.
Who are you targeting?
When putting your marketing plan together you need to think carefully about who your marketing activity is aimed at. Is it existing customers or are you trying to attract new customers? What do they look like? Male / female? How old are they? What is important to them? Why do they want or need your product or service? Maybe your customers are other businesses, if so which type of businesses typically require your products or services?
Start to build a profile on these people. Once you know this information it is much easier to get the right message to the right people at the right time.
How can you get to them?
Once you have built a profile of your customers you need to think about how you can get to them. What are their typical habits, what do they like to read, what websites do they go to, what are their interests, where do they meet similar people.
If your customer is another business – what trade publications exist that they may read, what associations would they belong to and what networking groups and trade fairs would they attend.
For example, there is no point targeting 15-20 year olds through newspaper advertising when they spend the majority of their time online, on social media or on their mobiles. Or alternatively targeting a campaign at busy mothers by contacting them on the telephone at the witching hour of 5pm when they are busy and distracted.
It sounds simple but you would be surprised how many businesses can get the basic’s wrong.
How do I know my marketing is working?
The last and most important aspect to consider is measurement. If you don’t measure your performance how do you know if you’ve been effective? All marketing activity can and should be measured.
It is important to understand which marketing tactics work, how well they work and adjusting your approach where necessary to achieve the greatest overall ROI on the marketing budget.
The point to remember is that the cost of marketing activity that is not measured represents wasteful expenditure. The trick in measuring marketing activity is to understand what it is that each task is intended to achieve, and to know what the results will be measured against.
All fairly straight-forward: have a plan, know what you want to achieve, know who you want to talk to and how to get to them. If you take the time to think about each of these carefully then you are on the right road to creating effective marketing.
But if you’d like some help – there’s always plenty on hand: just make sure you choose an affordable option for your business.