Don’t waste your time: 4 ways to make your marketing more efficient
Want your marketing to yield tangible results? An effective marketing plan is crucial for small businesses so they don’t waste time and energy on activities that don’t get results.
Unlike bigger companies, small businesses don’t have deep pockets to afford branding campaigns, so an in-depth and detailed approach is necessary to sustain marketing efforts.
By figuring out, not only what works with your marketing but what aspects don’t work, you can save money, time and energy that are better invested elsewhere. A progressive business is one that tries to learn from its past mistakes and what can be salvaged from its marketing exercises if they don’t go as planned.
Do you need to call in an expert?
A key challenge in being able to analyse what went right, and what failed to produce the desired result, is knowing what to look for. It involves either getting new skills to properly assess the situation or calling on experts that can help you figure it out. The challenge is knowing the sort of help to get. An analysis of what’s wrong often depends on who you ask.
As an example, let's say you run an online advertisement in a magazine that you know your target market reads but only get a few clicks from it and not one of those clicks converts into leads. Depending on who you ask you’ll get the following responses:
- A Google Adwords specialist may say that the problem is with your ad.
- A conversion optimisation specialist may say that the problem is with the page that you were sending the clicks to because it failed to capture the interest of those that clicked.
- A branding specialist may argue that the problem is with how your brand is represented and that if fails to ‘speak’ to your target market.
- An online advertising specialist may say that you've picked the wrong platform to advertise on.
- A social media guru may say that you didn’t follow up your ad with a social media campaign to engage your potential customers or that you shouldn't waste your time on anything other than social media advertising.
See why small business owners are confused when it comes to marketing?!
Understanding your customers
When it comes to your business, the reality is that no one is a better expert on it than you. But a key component of an in-depth marketing plan is developing a clear and focused insight into why a customer would use your business.
Here are 4 ways you can grow your knowledge of your customers and identify your target audience:
1. Make sure marketing reports aren’t just about the numbers
Your marketing reports should tell a story that anyone without a marketing degree can follow and digest. For example, if your outsourced provider was testing different ads, what headlines worked and what didn’t to capture attention? What images got the highest clickthrough rates?
2. Have systems in place to capture customer feedback
Not everyone who consumes your products or uses your services will provide feedback on their experience but it is good practice to ask them. This information needs to be reviewed regularly as it can be a gold mine for future innovations and valuable additions to what you’re already doing.
3. Directly connect with your end users
Take the opportunity to speak to customers when you can and encourage them to talk about their experience – what did they like? What didn’t they like? What would have helped?
4. Develop your own internal marketing resources
The best, long-term strategy is to develop your own marketing expertise and approach everything as an opportunity to learn and improve. One of the challenges for growing businesses is developing your own internal marketing engine to drive this customer knowledge.
Following on from this last point, it may seem easier to outsource marketing but in doing so you’ll lose all that information we talked about earlier about what worked and what didn’t. Retaining some market intelligence about your audience keeps you involved in providing exactly what the customer wants and needs from your business.
Once you have a marketing plan outlined and have a clear idea of your target audience then the next step of the process is determining what’s the best platform to reach them. Is it social media? Email? Mobile? Whichever you choose, and you may choose all three, again make sure you have the systems in place to capture the results of your marketing efforts so you have something tangible to work with moving forward.
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About the contributor:
Jill Brennan is a marketing consultant and founder of Harbren Marketing with over 20 years experience working in, with and for small business. Harbren Marketing works with ambitious small businesses that turnover $2+ million and need to create their own marketing engine in order to grow.This is done over a 12 month period by creating a strategy for growth, training staff to implement and ongoing mentoring to make sure the plan becomes a reality. Website: https://harbren.com