While we hate to admit it, it’s a sad fact that most businesses don’t have a fully costed, researched, written, marketing plan. (Just in case you don’t, but it has been on your task list for months, here’s the process that we follow for you to crib!)
However, what the majority of business owners and management teams do have is a marketing strategy – whether it’s stored in a business plan, a random powerpoint presentation, or someone’s head, they do have a marketing strategy that they are following.
The problem with having a strategy, but no plan of how to roll it out, is that not all marketing strategies will work for all businesses. You can’t just copy what someone else is doing and hope for the best, because conditions and situations are unique to each business. And, it’s only during the marketing planning process that you can work out why you need a particular strategy to hit the big time.
Just in case your marketing strategy is written on the back of a beer mat, we have a shortcut you can take. There are three critical qualities that any marketing strategy must have, for it to work. So, whatever strategy you might have for spreading the word about your business and bringing in new clients, give it a health check by evaluating it along these lines.
Here’s how you know if the strategy that you’ve chosen is a good one:
1. A good marketing strategy delivers in the right places.
Whatever marketing activities you are undertaking, they must appear or be delivered in the places where potential customers (people who represent your avatar/dream client description) converge. The kinds of people who could end up being your ideal clients. If your marketing messages are appearing in a different location from wherever your ideal client hangs out, you will not be able to build a prospect pipeline, because they won’t ever encounter your messages.
I know it sounds obvious when you read this. But, in reality, a lack of knowledge means that can easily slip into marketing in the wrong places. For example, while it’s easy to see that a lawn mowing business shouldn’t waste time and money flyering the households contained inside a block of flats (i.e. no gardens), how many times have you been to a networking event, knowing full well that none of your ideal prospects are going to be present? Or, have you ever booked a stand at an exhibition without being 100% confident that the demographics of the visitors matches those of your targets? When it comes to social media, it’s simple: no matter how trendy it is, don’t waste your time setting up a thriving Instagram account if your ideal client is over 50, male and rarely uses social media at all!
2. A good marketing strategy is spread across the entire customer journey.
Any customer has to go through several critical ‘mental’ stages before he or she can commit to buying from you. If your marketing doesn’t appeal to customers at every single one of these stages, to gently usher them from one stage to the next, you won’t be able to build up a successful business.
Invest in lots of advertising, without taking the time to make sure there’s plenty of ‘interest’ or ‘evaluation’ content on your website for the advert to direct interested prospects to, and you won’t be able to convert those prospects to leads or customers when your advertising delivers. Too much detailed information in brand awareness content such as adverts or flyers will turn buyers off before they even get to your website or phone you. Delivering the right level of detail to your customer, at the right stage, is critical to building a healthy pipeline. If you think this might be an issue for you, learn more about the customer journey and how this affects your marketing here.
3. A good marketing strategy has measurements built in.
You need to be able to measure what you are doing, reflect on the results and tweak the strategy as required. If you can’t (or won’t) measure the results of what you are doing, you can have no idea if it’s successful, and if it’s not successful, why.
Make sure that you build, even the most basic measurements into every stage of your marketing strategy. Simple indicators that are easy to track work best, so think carefully about what will give you genuine insight into how well you are doing. For instance, you might measure your sales pipeline by the number of meetings you have in the diary or by the frequency with which you are issuing proposals, online contracts, or even by something as simple as the number of new folders you are buying (if every time you have a new customer you start a new folder). Basic is best and remember to track the numbers on a regular basis. If your indicator drops, something is going wrong and you can quickly take action to rectify a problem.
For help with marketing plans or strategies, book us for a free discovery call and find out how we could help your business get it right. We can support you with developing your own strategy or do it for you. We have created dozens of tailored, researched, marketing strategies for successful businesses such as as Jeremy Cassell Coaching and Amanda Shaw Solicitors.