When it comes to marketing, a good system can be the difference between make or break for your business. I see way too many businesses bouncing from one shiny new marketing idea to the next without ever really finding out what works, or defining a true marketing strategy.
Marketing used to be a lot simpler, and we all know the game has changed rapidly over the last decade or so. The Internet seems to have created so much confusion for businesses when it comes to marketing. Yet at the same time it has created incredible game-changing opportunities that many businesses are missing out on.
The key is to keep it simple.
The first, most critical thing to understand is that every business now needs to consider having a combined ‘online’ and ‘offline’ strategy. This is the new marketing paradigm. It’s not about ‘either or’ anymore, it’s about how we balance both appropriately for our business.
The days of ‘my customers aren’t online’ are gone. Even my 96 year old grandma is ‘online’.
However, before you contemplate where to focus your marketing it’s critical to get crystal clear about your messages. Until you know what you’re trying to say it doesn’t matter where you’re saying it.
So the first key is to define very clearly what you’re offering, who you’re offering it to and what makes you the right choice. Putting it simply what problem are we solving, who are we solving it for, and how do we solve it for them better than anyone else does.
Once you have crystal clarity about your messages then it’s time to think about the best ways to get those messages out to your target audience.
Again, let’s keep it simple. Forget about the hundreds of options and opinions you’re being bombarded with and just focus on this question: Where are your target audience ‘hanging out’?
Then, based on the answer to that question, list the 3-5 marketing channels (ie television, newspapers, radio, twitter, YouTube, trade magazines, website etc) most likely to reach them and that you feel the most comfortable sticking with for the long term.
Your ‘marketing channels’ are simply individual strategies that work together to generate new business opportunities.
Every business should have 3-5 lead generation channels in place. Online might be a combination of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Pay Per Click and Banner Advertising. Offline could be leaflet drops, Local Newspaper Advertising and Radio. Six is fine, so long as they’re all working and you can manage them all.
Which leads to the final step. Monitor, Measure and Review. The best marketing is marketing you can measure, this is one reason why I love marketing online, you can track just about anything. Offline can be a little more challenging to measure, but one simple solution for monitoring your offline marketing effectiveness is to keep an enquiry book or spread-sheet to record where your offline enquiries are actually coming from. Special promotional codes can also be helpful to identify what’s working and what isn’t.
So when it all comes down to it, if you focus on these three steps you can build your ideal ‘marketing machine’.
- Step 1 | Defining your key messages.
- Step 2 | Pick 3-5 channels that make sense to you and your target audience.
- Step 3 | Monitor, measure and review your results.
Get these steps right and you’ll find yourself in a much stronger position to capitalise on the continuous stream of opportunities that present themselves to all proactive business managers.
Aaron Day is a Strategy and Management Systems Consultant, and the Managing Director of The3rdgear Business Consultants.
He is the author of Management Trinity - How to Manage Any Business Without Having an MBA, the inventor of The3rdgears patented small business management software system, a graduate of the AGSM specialising in Change Management, and has been working with businesses in the Hunter Region for more than 18 years helping them to strategize, systemise, expand and increase their profitability.