Marketing Strategy: What every business owner should be doing right now
Twelve months ago, when I met Kat, her business was in a significant phase of transition. She was busy and she was stuck, the word from her accountant was her business was just surviving. Kat has a good core of clients but numbers weren’t growing. Leads and referrals were slowing. So, she knew she had to make some changes immediately. A colleague suggested she revisit her marketing strategy, from there Kat’s real journey began. Here’s what she found out.
Kat had a website but hadn’t updated it for ages. She paid to place ads in Google Search but she didn’t monitor them. She had social media but she rarely signed in and had adopted an attitude of ‘set and forget’. Sound familiar?
It’s not uncommon to jump straight into the tactics, the doing of things. But a better approach is to plan and have a marketing strategy in place. And that includes setting goals, taking stock of what’s working, and then implementing changes. But first, you need a strategy.
Strategy first, then tactics
Having a website, paying for search advertising and being on social media are all good tools. But they are just that – tools. They’re tactics. Before you deploy tactics, you need a plan. You need a roadmap for how you will implement the actions that will achieve your business goals. To do that, you need to stop what you’re doing and pause, reflect and reset.
As a business owner, you’re also a decision-maker. Your team relies on you to provide the vision and the direction for the business. Remember, every decision you make must bring you closer to your goals.
But how can you make that happen when a break in your hectic pace was something you couldn’t afford to take? You need to press pause. Don’t worry. The world will not end, and your clients will not abandon you. Pausing will bring about the clarity you need to make better decisions based on your goals.
So, what ARE your business goals? Why are you marketing? Let’s start with these questions:
- Do you want to improve brand awareness?
- Do you want a larger social media presence?
- Is it a part of your customer service?
- Do you want to upsell new and additional services?
- Do you want to appeal to a new audience?
By intentionally pausing, you’ll be able to make better business decisions and be proactive with your marketing goals.
Following your pause, it’s time to reflect on your past activities and determine what you need to do, what to keep doing, and what activities need to stop.
Reflecting will allow you to focus on several critical areas of your business’ marketing:
- What’s working?
- What’s not working?
- Where can you improve?
- Are your goals still relevant?
- How are you tracking with your goals for the next 12 to 24 months?
- What will you be doing to keep you (and your team) accountable to achieve your goals?
Once you’ve revisited your goals and reflected on where you can improve, it’s time to reset.
The pandemic has caused all of us to re-assess and re-evaluate our lives and businesses. A reset is a time to implement change. This can be in the way you market your business, the way you deliver your services, the kind of clients you wish to serve or the way you attract new clients. Your answers in the reflection stage can help form a foundation for what you want your marketing to achieve.
Take a good look in the mirror to see what will happen if your business remains unchanged or if there are aspects that the pandemic has forced change on.
Some questions you need to ask yourself are:
- Have you identified the levels of profitability of your current clients?
- Is a simplified service a better business model?
- As your business grows, would you have the resources to service additional clients?
- Do you have a repeatable system in place to streamline the way you deliver your services?
Slow down to speed up
The process of slowing down will not only give you breathing space but also clarity in the way you manage your business. Pausing to reflect will allow you to reset and implement change.
Once you’ve written out your goals, think about what actions you need to take to make your goals a reality. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different ideas.
Remember, an idea is just an idea until you write it down and it becomes a goal, then get implementing.
In the meantime, Kat has been working to put her digital marketing plan and marketing strategy in place. Her goals are in writing, she has a quarterly action plan (which we review together). She is focusing on one digital marketing channel at a time, outsourcing some of the areas that her team can’t cope with and each member of the team has bought into the marketing program and is actively contributing.
Want a roadmap to more effective marketing? Start with marketing strategy. Now go forth and take a break from your hectic pace and don’t let the busyness of life take over.
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