The thing about marketing successfully is you have to work at it consistently, even when business is slow and you don’t want to spend the money. If you master these five fundamental marketing strategies, your business will prosper.
The key to small business marketing success is mastering the fundamental strategies. In that respect, it’s just like doing anything else well. When I played basketball in junior high school, for instance, we wanted our coach to teach us how to do fun shots and let us run fancy offenses. Instead, we did dribbling drills and practiced our free throws over and over and over. When we protested, he explained that until we mastered the fundamentals we couldn’t do anything more. He was right. Business is no different.
No matter how many different marketing tools or strategies you want to do, if you aren’t paying attention to these marketing fundamentals, you will be wasting your time. Maybe a few dribbling drills wouldn’t hurt…
Allocate Resources Consistently to Marketing
Many small businesses treat their marketing budget like discretionary spending. Investing in marketing when things are going well and there’s a bit of extra money available. And cutting back when things get tight. Instead of playing the feast or famine game with your marketing, resolve to set your marketing resources budget in the beginning of the year and keep it consistent all year.
It’s OK to set a budget that will work in the leaner times so you’re not in over your head. The important part is to determine an amount and commit to investing it in marketing. Not only does this ensure you market all year, it also keeps you from making a rash decision to add on a new marketing campaign simply because a salesperson suggests it to you. It makes it easier to say that your budget for the year is already allocated and you can consider it next year.
Your marketing budget includes more than just the financial part. You need to invest time and people-power as well. Block out time for implementation of your marketing campaigns and figure out who is going to do it.
Related: Marketing Strategies that Work
Choose Your Marketing Tools Smartly
There are hundreds of ways you can market your business. It is important to choose marketing tools that will accomplish what you need from your marketing. First, you need to determine what your business needs: new customers or increased business from current customers. Both are worthwhile goals and you should probably have a marketing strategy designed to help with each of these. The key is to match the marketing tool with what it can accomplish.
If you need new customers, you will want to choose a marketing tactic that reaches out to people who have not previously purchased from your business. Examples include Facebook advertising, print marketing in targeted publications or targeted direct mail.
If you want to increase your revenue from current customers, you need to market to your existing customers through marketing tools like in-store signage,or text messaging. This kind of marketing requires capturing your customers’ contact information so that you can easily reach out to them again with your marketing messages.
Use a Few Key Tools
With the plethora of marketing tools available to you, it may feel like you need to do all or many of them. The reality is that you can build a great business with a few strong marketing tools that work for your business. Focus your energy and resources on these tools and do whatever you can to make them work better and better.
For example, if you find that your text messaging campaign brings in customers whenever you send out a message, then keep doing it. Put your efforts into getting more and more customers on the list and figuring out new ideas to put in front of them. Getting incrementally better results over time on a successful marketing tactic is a wise investment of resources.
It is better to do a few marketing strategies really well and be fully invested than dabbling in several with just your proverbial toe in the water. You don’t have to keep adding on more and more marketing campaigns if what you do is working well for your business.
Track Your Results
Nothing is more frustrating than trying to make a decision without the full information you need to do so. Once you have undertaken a marketing tool, you need to know if it is actually working. Otherwise, how will you know if you should keep doing it or stop and move on to something else?
Ask your customers how they found you and keep track of their responses. Keep paper coupons when they are redeemed so you can count them or use your POS to do it. Then analyze this data after you have it. Calculate the revenue each marketing tactic brings in. You may be surprised to see which of your marketing efforts is working best.
Stick with It
Marketing takes time and repetition. When you do try something new give it enough time to make sure it is or isn’t working. Don’t place one ad in a publication or do a one-day Facebook ad campaign. Invest enough time for it to succeed. Then, once it is working, keep doing it.
Sometimes doing the same marketing over and over gets boring. Sending out a newsletter consistently or working on campaigns that feel like you have done them a million times can feel like a grind. That’s OK. If a marketing tactic is working then your customers are not tired of it. Stick with it.