Consulting guru Peter Drucker once said that business is only two things: innovation and marketing. All the rest are support systems and business expenses.
There is a lot of truth in this. Without marketing, your target audience will not know about you, you will not make any money, and you will go out of business. Simple as that.
You’re marketing now, but are you marketing smart?
1. Know Your Market
Too many businesses market to their “general area”, or “local homeowners”, or “nearby small businesses” and just hope there will be enough prospects within these groups to justify the expense. This is a recipe for disaster.
Examine the nature of your customers. What do they all have in common? Sometimes this is obvious (e.g. affluent men over the age of 50, or recently divorced women living in urban areas), other times it is not. But it is worth taking the time and effort to figure out what your best customers have in common, then “clone” them.
Once you know who they are, you know what type of messages they respond to, what kind of media they consume, and where they frequent. You now have the framework for your next marketing campaign.
2. Have An Offer!
It sounds simple, but too many small and mid-size businesses try to mimic the marketing tactics of large corporations. Don’t do this unless you have a money tree. Their goals are different than yours. Your goal is to make sales and get more customers. All of your marketing should therefore have an offer.
Don’t try to associate your offering with the nostalgic memories of baby-boomers. Leave that to Coca-Cola. Your marketing should have something like the following offers:
50% off on Tuesdays
Buy one suit, get one free
Full-service premium auto detailing package only $1995
People are bombarded with hundreds of advertisements every day, demanding their attention. We’ve learned to filter out most of this and simply consider it noise, even if it’s something that interests us.
What makes people pay attention is an irresistible offer that needs to be acted upon now, because it won’t be there tomorrow.
If you don’t give your prospects a reason to respond now, they’ll forget about it 30 seconds after they hear your message.
Too many people will advertise once, then claim it was a waste of money when they don’t get 20 new clients. This is the wrong approach. The more persistent you are with targeted marketing, the more ‘top of mind awareness’ you create for your prospects.
Not everyone in your market may be ready to buy your product or service right now. But if you’re persistent and strategic, you’re going to be the first in their mind when they are ready.
5. Tracking, Measurement, and Accountability
This is crucial. Every dollar you spend on marketing should be tracked and measured. If you buy a radio-spot but don’t give a trigger in the ad for the prospect to relay when they contact your business, you’re not tracking how effective that ad is.
Every prospect that walks in your door, gives you a call, or sends you an email should be asked, “how did you hear about us?” If you don’t do this, you’re wasting money. Put simply:
You Can’t Manage What You Can’t Measure!
The more data you can gather about how prospects and customers learn about your business, what they buy, when they buy it, etc. provides enormous value that will allow you to increase your flow of prospects, nurture leads more effectively, and increase conversion rate.
All of this will result in you getting more money out of each dollar spent on marketing.
Whatever product or service you offer, there are other businesses out there that offer something complimentary. Find them and strike a deal. Upsell their service on the back end of yours and take a share of the revenue. Make an agreement to send your offer to their list of customers and share in the profits.
Partners can provide enormous leverage. The right partners can take your business to the next level very quickly.
7. Stop Thinking – Start Doing
Everyone is susceptible to ‘paralysis by analysis.’ Due diligence is important, but don’t get hung up on every minute detail. Get something workable, test it, refine, then test again.
Follow the framework I’ve provided and you will outsmart your competitors and lay the foundation for sustainable future business growth.