I was recently honored to sit on a discussion panel for the National Trusted Advisors Conference where I fielded questions about my favorite topic: smart and effective marketing. Even though I was amongst a roomful of savvy, seasoned entrepreneurs and successful small to mid-size business owners, more than a few people still had a palpable uncertainty when it came to marketing strategies and execution.
My favorite question regarded how many marketing strategies a business should leverage in its race for world domination. Okay, I embellished that a little bit. But really, even small businesses have lofty goals and big dreams. They just aren’t sure how to support those goals via targeted marketing. Are you?
It boils down to having one single clearly defined strategy.
Defining Your Strategy
Surprisingly, even for many business owners with a strong sense of purpose, honing in on a single marketing strategy can be daunting. Or at the very least, a little tricky. You probably already have a clearly defined purpose for and vision of your company. But what about your big Why?
Why, why, why? Answering questions like these will give you clarity about your message and direction regarding how to connect with your target audience. This becomes the foundation for your strategy and will help you focus that message within your chosen marketing channels.
In order to determine your marketing channels, it is vitally important to know both who you are and who your audience is. In today’s technology-rich space there are many marketing channels, and too often, business owners are so motivated to hit their marketing out of the park that they take a swing at literally every marketing platform available. Ultimately, this spreads your time, marketing dollars and brain equity way too thin.
A good rule of thumb is to choose three marketing channels you think will carry your message to your audience most effectively and run with them. Maybe it’s LinkedIn, pay-per-click and radio ads. Perhaps it is ad space in an industry publication, Facebook and a monthly blog. The right channels are simply the ones that hit your target audience where they consume information.
Once you determine your marketing channels, make a commitment to them; six months to a year at the least. If after that time, one of them doesn’t seem to be working or you are not seeing the ROI you want, then pivot to something new.
How Do I Decide
Fresh out of the gate, once you choose the channels that reach your target audience, make sure you can be consistent about your outreach in those channels for the next six months. This is key. In order to test and challenge your assumptions about your channels, you’ll need a good six months’ worth of data to determine what worked and what might need to change. In order to define your best marketing channel bets, here are a few questions to answer for your business:
Who are you talking to? Clearly define your target market.
What do you want your message to be? What are your target market’s pain points and how does your company solve them?
Where does your target market consume their information? If you don’t know, do your research.
Whether you do it on your own or engage a marketing firm, knowing the answers to questions like these is imperative in developing a smart, effective and streamlined marketing strategy and execution. Start with your strategy, choose three marketing channels, and be consistent in your outreach within those channels. If you need some help thinking it through, don’t hesitate to give us a call.