Welcome to the first of my new columns!
Each edition, I will be on hand to answer your burning questions about business, growth, marketing, sales, and more. Every now and then, I will have an industry expert join the conversation to make sure you get the best advice out there.
This month’s question is particularly relevant, and one that I am hearing crop up in many conversations.
Now That We Have A Roadmap Out Of Lockdown, Should I Be Channeling More Funds Into My Marketing?
The answer isn’t simply yes or no. Like every business, yours is unique, and don’t you forget it!
The question you should be asking is, ‘what does my business plan and marketing strategy say is my next step, and what will it cost?’
Before Boris set out his roadmap out of lockdown, your business should have had its own roadmap for where you want it to go, and how you are going to get there.
Let me break it down for you.
A marketing strategy is a roadmap (yes, I am going to overuse this term thanks to BoJo) for how, who, what, where, when, and why you are going to market to your target audience.
By understanding these 6 questions, you will appreciate the budget requirements and content needed for your future marketing plans.
They are also particularly good questions to ask yourself every time you want to create a new product or service, or for when you want to scale your business.
If you are not sure how to work out the answers to your 6 questions, here is a quick and easy guide.
Who is your target audience?
Building an avatar or a persona of your buyer can help clarify who they are. And when building your buyer persona, it’s important to ask all the following questions:
• Who is my ideal audience? Don’t say everyone! That’s like throwing darts in the dark and hoping to hit a bullseye.
• What do they look like?
• What are their problems?
• How can I solve them?
• What makes me different from
You will also want to identify who will handle all the marketing duties for you. A lot of small businesses try and do everything themselves, on top of all the other tasks they have.
However, I would highly recommend bringing in someone who knows about marketing and can handle things for you. This can be a great investment which generates amazing returns when done right.
You need to know what tools you will use to communicate with your audience.
When you created your buyer persona, you will have learned where these people hang out. This will help you to discover the following:
• What platforms/publications/forums/social media websites etc. do your audience buy from?
• What drives them to the products they want?
• What media do they prefer to engage in?
• What makes your company stand out from the crowd?
Knowing where you need to focus your marketing is key.
When starting out, my advice is always to make yourself the go-to business in your local area for a given service.
Carve out your audience, your products, and what you are offering in your local geographic area, then start expanding outwards as your brand awareness grows.
Think of it like throwing a pebble into a pond.
The pebble makes a big splash at its impact point, then creates ripples going outwards. The ripples are largest nearer the centre but can carry on for miles as their radius grows.
My point is, by starting with your local area, you can hone and improve your marketing strategies and learn more about your audience before expanding further afield.
Another part of the equation for creating your marketing strategy is to ask when. This is unique for each and every audience, so is an important step in the process.
Ask yourself the following questions:
• When is your audience shopping?
• When do they go online and make purchasing decisions?
• When is the best time to post on social media and be seen by your audience?
On social media, I would caution against over-posting. I generally post 3-5 times per week on all my social channels, and only 2 posts per week are sales posts.
The golden rule is to deliver 80% added value content, and 20% sales-focused or promotional content.
Asking why can help you define what you want from your business and your marketing efforts. Consider the following:
• Why are you selling this product/service?
• Why should customers buy from you?
• Why should your audience engage with your content?
And like anything in business, you should always ask how.
• How are you going to sell your product/service?
• How are you going to measure your success?
• How are you going to know if your marketing plans are working?
• How are you going to handle a rise or drop in sales?
Asking the right questions is important to every business; how else do we learn and grow?
Growing a business is one of the mysteries of the universe that everyone will tell you they know the secret to. And I am going to give you my secret to success…
There isn’t one!
Rome was not built in a day, and success does not happen overnight. It takes time, energy, passion, and the ability to know your limits.
There is no shame in admitting you don’t know everything. I don’t claim to know everything, but what I do know, is that I didn’t do it alone.
Hayley Smith is the owner of Myriad Services, which provides consulting, education, and support to start-ups and small businesses in their first 5 years.
Using 10+ years in business to ensure that small businesses continue to not only survive, but thrive! Giving them the tools, knowledge, and support they need to create strong foundations for growth to be built on.
If you would like to submit a question for Hayley Helps, then email firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet with the hashtag #hayleyhelps to the QUAY Media Twitter page.