To put it simply, you have to have a way to gauge the effectiveness of your marketing tactics, and you have to know what you’re wanting to accomplish to make sure you’re using the right marketing strategies and using them in the right way.
I’ve seen a LOT of entrepreneurs undertaking in various marketing strategies, but when you ask them why they’re choosing that strategy they have no idea. Or they have a general feeling of “I think it works so I’ll keep doing it” but maybe not much beyond that. It’s a great place to start!
Believe me, I get it! If you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur, you should pat yourself on the back for the fact that you’re doing ANY kind of marketing of your business!
Consistency in marketing, even if you aren’t using the most effective marketing strategies, is much better than no marketing at all
Most of my clients have similar problems:
- they don’t have enough hours in the day
- they don’t have enough dollars in the bank
- they have no idea where to start
Most of my marketing clients are dealing with at least one of those, if not all three, barriers to having a small business marketing strategy that is as effective and efficient as they want.
If you’re like my clients, you could benefit from a free marketing strategy call to help you clarify your goals and provide some marketing suggestions.
And searching for business marketing information online can be a headache:
- The great thing about the internet is that there is so much information about marketing your business that you can find almost any information you want
- The bad thing about the internet is that there is so much information about marketing your business is that you don’t know which information you need
Let’s look at spaghetti
You know, for a website with marketing tips for small businesses, I sure do talk about food a lot – I must be hungry!
Actually that in itself is a valuable marketing tip – relate the information you share to things that people understand.
And most people understand food. And spaghetti.
How does spaghetti have anything to do with marketing?
I want you to quickly go grab some spaghetti, and throw it at the wall.
Did it work?
How do you know it worked?
- What if I told you that the goal was to have raw spaghetti break into tiny pieces?
- Or what if I told you the goal was to have cooked spaghetti stick to the wall? (By the way, I’m not convinced that works)
- How about if I told you the goal was to get thrown out of a restaurant?
As you can see, depending upon what the goal is, how you go about throwing the spaghetti at the wall would vary. In the examples above, the location is different – in two you would likely be at home, and in the third at a restaurant.
Unless you’re the type of person who regularly throws things in restaurants. I don’t judge.
In one of the examples, it would be important to know that we’re wanting raw spaghetti to break, so if you used cooked spaghetti there is no way you could get the result needed. In another the spaghetti had to be cooked, so using raw spaghetti likewise would not get the desired result. In the third example, I’m pretty sure throwing either raw or cooked spaghetti would get you thrown out of a restaurant, so either method would work – but you’d still need to be in a restaurant rather than at home.
This is how spaghetti is similar to your marketing
You have to know your end goal to know which marketing strategy will be most effective
If your business goal is to get some kind of social interaction happening, you probably won’t be choosing a billboard or an ad in a magazine to achieve that goal. Or if you do, you would need to be directing the people who saw those billboards or ads to the place where you wanted the social interaction to happen – but you would only be paying for these secondary marketing vehicles after you’ve put your marketing budget towards those things that can more directly achieve your goal.
Unless you have such a HUGE business marketing budget that you can afford to put money in lots of different places. In which case, we definitely want to talk to you 😉 We can help you spend that excess! Give us a call!
Location can be important too – you don’t want to be advertising in an area far away where you never get any business. It’s more effective to target your advertising dollars first in an area where you are already getting business.
Most small businesses need marketing dollars to be highly effective, so knowing what your end goal is becomes even more critical. You don’t have a lot of time or money to invest in things that don’t work, or secondary strategies that aren’t directly driving your primary goal, so you have to do smart marketing.
Part of making sure that your marketing is effective is knowing what to measure
And measuring your marketing is directly tied to what you’re trying to accomplish; your end goal.
If I want to measure if my spaghetti is cooked, I can’t throw dry spaghetti against a wall and expect to achieve my goal. Well, I guess in a way I can – I could tell that my spaghetti isn’t cooked. But it would be more effective and efficient if I wait until after I have boiled my spaghetti for a bit.
Similarly, if I want to measure how effective my marketing goal of getting more social interaction is, I can’t do that by gathering data on how many people drive past a billboard on the highway.
Why you don’t need to start with ‘SMART’ marketing goals if you’re a small business
You’ve heard of SMART goals – strategic, measurable, attainable, reasonable, timely. These types of goals are important to use in your business.
As you get further into your marketing strategies, and especially as you start spending more money on your marketing or determining how much money to spend on your marketing budget, you will need to begin setting and tracking those type of SMART marketing goals.
But when you’re doing your marketing yourself, or you’re just starting out, or you don’t know where to start your marketing (in which case you should join our free 3×3 Marketing Matrix training), at the very basic level you want to make sure that you understand WHY you are using the strategy you have chosen.
If I ask you why you’re posting on your Facebook business page once a week, or sending an email to your prospects once a month, as part of your business marketing strategy, hopefully your answer can be something more comprehensive than “because everyone is doing it” or “someone told me that I should”.
At the very least, you need to understand the overall benefit of the marketing strategy you have chosen, which will help you understand what to expect from it, as well as how to use your chosen strategy as a marketing vehicle.
You should have at least a loose goal, such as for Facebook “to interact with my potential customers” or email “to send useful information to my customers”. You should know if your basic goal should be getting people to visit your website, or perhaps getting them to read the information you’re posting or emailing, or even getting them to call you; and if that’s your only goal, ask yourself why that will help your business.
If you can’t answer how a marketing strategy will help your business, then you either need to choose a different strategy, or determine how you can make the strategy help your business. Or you need to call us for a free marketing strategy consultation session where we can help you clarify and provide suggestions.
Once you understand that you should have some type of specific goal, you can quickly realize how best to use whatever marketing strategy you have chosen to make a positive impact on your business bottom line.