Every day I have the privilege of working with some amazing business owners and operators who are passionate and dedicated to succeeding. While they operate in a range of industries and offer varying products and services, the issues they face in relation to marketing are often the same.
The most common challenge by far is finding the right balance of marketing to provide a steady (and growing) income. When quiet, many businesses often panic and spend a lot of money on the first opportunity that comes to hand or the marketing they like to do. When busy, marketing often slips by the way-side as they are “too busy”.
To be effective and balanced when marketing, planning and an understanding of your target market is crucial. Here are our top five tips for keeping your marketing activities in balance.
- Seasonality and purchase lead-time: Every business I have worked with has operated within a seasonal chart. It might not be evident at first, but on closer inspection, customers buy certain products and services at certain times of the year/month/week or day. Furthermore, they have a certain period of time that they will research their products prior to making the purchase.
- Plan it! If you have a plan, you are more likely to make it happen. Proactive marketing enables you to look at the whole picture – your business objectives; products and services you offer; who your customer is and where they like to make their purchases. If you can put a plan together that considers all of these things you will always get a better result than if you throw money into something that is really just a knee jerk reaction to a quiet day/week or month!
- Make Time: I sometimes wish there was a BAS statement equivalent required by government to review your marketing.. Why? Because then it would not be left to last on the to do list. Marketing is an important part of the business operations mix. If you find you do not have time, then call in the marketing support team. Just make it happen!
- Be consistent! It is very easy when we work with something day in day out to become tired or bored and want to change things up… Don’t! Being clear with customers about who you are and what you offer is imperative to business success. It is fine to introduce new products and services to meet your clients’ demands, but ensure that they are communicated in a way that maintains your brand integrity and personality.
- Measure It! We are constantly amazed at how many businesses are not measuring their marketing activities. Not only will measuring each activity give you insights into the success of your marketing, but you can also gain a greater level of understanding on your clients purchasing behaviour preferences including method of communication, purchase lead times, preferred products and more!
If you are struggling to balance your marketing with the other demands of your business, give us a call today.
“Data is King and Content is Queen” Trudi Hollis
When running mentoring sessions, I often use the above expression above to emphasise the importance and need to interconnect the two areas of marketing I believe reap the best return on investment for small business.
In the first instance is the King. The King is all powerful. He holds all the cards – and the treasure. He is the master of the people, the owner of the database. He has all the lists, knows everyone and everything about everyone. The only problem is, knowing all the people in the land is no use if you don’t have something to share with them. This is where the Queen is of great use to her husband – in fact without her, the people of the land would think him a boring old sod who had nothing of interest to share.
(Stay with me)
So, when the Queen realises that farmers need new clothes and that the tailors are running out of food, she plants an idea. “Oh husband, why don’t you suggest to the farmers that they exchange some of their milk and barley for some clothes from the tailor”, the King can really come into his own, and seem like the knowledgeable leader he is supposed to be!
In my experience with both big and small business, there are two things that when combined, consistently deliver results. The first is the database. This is the list of clients that have transacted or shown a strong desire to transact with your business in the past. They know you, they trust you and are more likely to return and purchase once more. The second is the clear offer that brings them back. Be it value proposition or a specific product offer, this is the message that you send to this loyal following to encourage them to spend more.
So my royal decree for you
- If you have not already start collecting your current clients data (NAME: EMAIL: PHONE: PRODUCT/SERVICE PURCHASED OR ENQUIRED ON as a minimum)
- Start using this data to it’s ensure a return on investment with regular offer and reinforcement of the value you can provide them
According to the Greek philosopher Heraclitus
“The only thing that is constant is change”
Given the pace of our lives today you would think we all know this BUT when we have to live through it we often panic and stumble. Sometimes we pick ourselves up but other times we fall quite magnificently.
Marketing Directions recently undertook a very big change, we relocated from Geelong, Victoria to Brisbane, Queensland. Being planners, we had meticulous lists to tick off to ensure a smooth transition. Clients and suppliers have kindly awarded us a gold star and we believe it was because we had a solid communication strategy.
Whether you are relocating your business; changing your product or service offering or changing the look and feel of your business, it is important to communicate effectively to clients, staff and suppliers.
Here is our three step plan…
- Give plenty of notice – at least 1 month for all of the above scenarios. By keeping others informed you show how much you value you them and want to involve then in the process
- Explain how your change will impact and hopefully improve their experience
- Open the door for comments and feedback. Whether it be face to face, a phone call, a formal letter, follow up survey or all of these communications tools
Now, if this process does not deliver you the desired smooth transition, take comfort in these words from Deepak Chopra
“All great changes are preceded by chaos”