Renata has been helping me with my marketing since I first met her in 2006. She taught me systems that make my marketing easier and more profitable. I attended her marketing workshop last year and it helped me plan out and budget for my marketing activities.
Over to Renata …
Systems and marketing – an obvious combo or an odd couple?
Some people think marketing is a bunch of creative fluff – intangible activities that just add costs to the business. But it’s not! When done properly, marketing can be an easy revenue generator for your business, not a cost centre.
So why, then, are so many people doubtful, frustrated, even cynical about their marketing? Quite simply, it’s because they haven’t systemised it.
But how can you systemise marketing without losing the creative flair, the innovative edge? The steps below will help you be creative in your marketing, while keeping your focussed, on track, and working towards generating more revenue.
Step 1 – Set some objectives
So often I hear business owners say, “We tried some marketing but it didn’t work. And it took up so much of our time, energy and money.”
There are a few things going on here. First of all, when marketing “doesn’t work” it’s usually because clear, specific, measurable objectives weren’t established. With every marketing campaign you should start with objectives. What are you hoping to accomplish?
So start with looking at the big picture. What are your overall business objectives? What are you building? What are you working towards? An example here might be, to build a national operation with stores/offices in each of the main city centres.
Then more specifically, what marketing objectives do you have that will help fulfil these overall business objectives? So examples here might include: to increase brand awareness, to grow sales in each major centre, to create an emailing marketing list, to create or grow a presence on social media, etc.
We can then break this down even further with every marketing activity we do. Every time we send an email newsletter out, or every time we do some advertising, we need to set clear objectives of what we want to achieve. And then structure the campaign around those objectives.
Step 2 – Set some measurements
Going hand-in-hand with this need to set objectives, is the need to have quantifiable measurements. The other reason why people often say that marketing activity “didn’t work” is because there were no real numbers or measurements to use in assessing whether an activity worked. For a marketing activity to work, we must be clear. For example, if you place an ad, what is it that you want it to do? If your answer is something along the lines of increasing brand awareness, then you have to be really specific and include something you can measure. Can you put your social media profile links in the ad and entice people to visit them for a specific reason? If so, then can you define what your brand awareness around social media was before the ad? How many followers did you have? How much engagement did your posts generate? Then compare these measurements after your marketing campaign. Knowing what you’re going to measure – being really clear about how you will determine whether something “worked” or not – will also help you make each marketing activity very targeted. This leads us to the next step in systemising our marketing.
Step 3 – Identify your targets
We cannot say it enough – the key to effective marketing lies in knowing who you’re marketing to. You must have a very specific target audience in mind when you invest – time, money, resources – in marketing. As the saying goes, if you market to everyone, you’ll sell to no one.
While it would be nice to think that everyone will be interested in our products or services, the reality is that targeting everyone is an inefficient way to market.
So when we talk about ‘target audience’, let’s think about targeting as prioritising, not limiting. Who do we want to approach first? Who do we want as a client before others? Once we convert them, others will follow.
Another way to think of it is to ask, if we have limited marketing funds, where do we want to allocate them first? Which client segment do we want to attract first?
Step 4 – Put it all down in writing
In my opinion, the most effective tool or system you can use when you run a business is a Marketing Plan. Having a raft of ideas circulating around in your head is not the most effective way of turning them into profitable marketing activities. Get these ideas down in writing, and before you know it, they become a list. And that list of ideas becomes a task or project list. And we all know what happens when we have projects – especially with timelines. We take on a different mindset and focus, and we work (or delegate or outsource) until they’re complete.
Getting the fundamentals down in writing – things like objectives and target audience – is also a necessity for the business. The more you can get information and intellectual property out of your head and down in writing, the better prepared you are to grow the business. Systems and plans make it much easier to out-source, to delegate, to hire, to build a succession plan, to sell a business.
So systemise as much as you can – even your marketing. Writing a marketing plan is a big task the first year you do it. But in subsequent years it gets easier as you build on the year before. Like many other effective systems in a business, if you put the time in upfront to get it done properly, it will actually save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
For more information on any of these steps, please get in touch with Maple Marketing Ltd on [email protected] . Our Kickstart might be what you need to get started. Or you might be ready for our Marketing Tool Box which just launched!