A marketing plan used to be a standard part of any business. They seem to have gone the way of the dinosaur for many small to mid sized companies. Companies don’t want to spend the extra money on marketing because most don’t know how to tell if it’s working—actually improving the bottom line. And, you seem to have resources that will help you for free. A few of the company board members or executives claim to understand marketing even though their experience may be decades old.
You may think, “marketing is marketing-—it’s just hyping up what we do, so let’s do it the free way”. So you use old tools and concepts to communicate with an entirely different world. Or, the company may decide to throw more bodies at the sales effort instead of money into a marketing plan. There is still no plan or the right tools for the sales team—but boots on the ground at least feels like business growth because you can pin numbers to it.
Deep down though, you know your company should be doing more marketing. With so much more competition and noise in every industry, the way a small businesses grows today is with a well-defined strategy and someone in charge of implementing the plan. Just like traditional marketing, it is still all about consistency, targeting, differentiation, and clearly defining the services your company offers. There is no place anymore for ambiguous customer communications in any format. The clearer your message the more likely your prospect will convert to a buyer.
The new marketing is highly targeted. If you do nothing else, do that. If you find a way to change the perception of how your ideal customer views what you do as a solution, then you render your competition irrelevant, and begin to build a solid relationship. Reputation, impression and trust will bring in new business.
Make a strategic plan.
A strategic plan will help you determine what sales efforts are bringing in the most quality new business. With that information you have a solid starting point to develop further strategy and the tactics to make it work.
Sometimes you need to bring in outside resources.
Sometimes in the “do it all yourself” world of small business it’s difficult to spot the areas that require outside help. You may be able to set up your newsletter, add plugins to WordPress and clumsily create header graphics for your social media profiles but is this work actually robbing you from focus on higher payoff work.
It is not about getting more traffic to your website or event—it’s really about converting what you do get in to sales.
That means focus. Too many business owners focus on traffic or event numbers or email clicks when the highest priority should be on conversion. Don’t worry so much about all the things you need to tell prospects that you do, instead focus on the prospects that you know you can help, right now.