When you are running a small business it can be difficult to maintain all the different facets of running a successful company. Owners need to manage the work, the clients, the numbers, the team, and the marketing. It can be both daunting and overwhelming. Many entrepreneurs and business owners simply overlook marketing due to a lack of time, energy or experience. However, business growth is dependent on your marketing strategy.
First, you need to have a plan. The more detailed your plan the easier it will be to set measurable and achievable goals. Your plan should incorporate what you intend to do during the year - the amount of work, the level of profit, staffing, expenses, purpose and messaging. Leave no rock uncovered when you sit down and develop your plan. This will include your marketing strategy for the year.
Branding & Storytelling
What a lot of business owners don’t understand about their brand is that it exists whether you develop it or not. How the public views you, and your company, makes up the elements of your branding. Owners that ignore this fact will find that the public has 100% control over how their work is perceived. Smart companies understand the power of creating a business message - a method of storytelling for work - that projects the image that business owners want their staff, clients, competition and the general public to associate with their work. Understanding your own brand and company story is the first step in developing a marketing strategy.
We no longer live in an age where we market our services to everyone. Traditional advertising is slowly becoming a marketing tool of the past. Why? Because it is ineffective to sell to a wide group of people without narrowing down the demographics. Want an effective marketing strategy? You need to hone down exactly the type of people that make your ideal client. The time and effort involved in sales and marketing should be utilized only in areas where your target audience works, plays and relaxes. If you don’t have a picture of your ideal client, then you need one right away.
Types of Marketing
Now that you know your message and where your clients hang out, you need to determine the types of marketing that will be most effective for what you do. This will be different for every business. The variety of marketing options feels endless. This list alone will have your head swimming.
In 2016, online marketing is the place to be. This means social media marketing and content marketing are huge right now. Building a mailing list (or funnel) is another area that many marketing experts say is essential for your business. Developing content and booking stages is a type of marketing as well, called influencer marketing, and can be quite effective for establishing expertise and presence. Relationship marketing is a great way to build a village of partners that are invested in you and what you do.
This article showcases a study that proves the younger generation does utilize social media when it’s time to make purchasing decisions. Another reason that demonstrates how knowing your audience is vital.
Having an editorial schedule with goals and focus for your content, messaging and social media is practically essential. If you are not certain which direction to take, do some initial experimentation. For instance, you can concentrate on one type of content or platform each month, while maintaining your other marketing channels. If you switch it up and continue focusing on different platforms over a 3-6 month period, you can see which platforms are doing the best for you and get a better understanding of each option.
If you know one choice will work well for your business, focus your energies on developing that area first and then slowly begin incorporating other channels. Often it's better to do one thing well than to do a variety of marketing tactics on a sub-par level.
Networking is another way to grow your circle of connections. You can do this both on- and offline. Recommendations back and forth are extremely beneficial. You can also reach out to your network if you have questions about how to get the most out of your marketing, social media platforms, content and emails. You might have a connection who is masterful in a certain aspect of marketing you are you're interested in. You and your connection might work in the same industry, but have different niches. If you both have blogs, you can refer to each other in your content. This is a great way to develop both referral and power partners for your business, not just new clients!
The best advice is to have fun! Think of your marketing strategy as an adventure. You will learn so much about how you want your business to look, feel and present itself to the world.
Having trouble creating your company’s story? Don’t have a clue how to put together an editorial calendar? Just don’t have time to deal with all the little tasks involved with staying on top of your marketing strategy? Give the team at The Social Media Advisor a call - we specialize in small business marketing strategy development!
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Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor is a “#BeAwesome” Developer, Social Media Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Google+,YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and the tools to manage them.
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