Tag Archives: tips

Adverts – Just Say No….or at least think about it first!

Just Say No.....Ever had an email or a call from someone with the opportunity of placing an advert in a brochure or magazine with a large circulation? It's a real bargain at only £200 but the deadline for artwork is in a week's time. However if you can get the copy and images to them asap then they are more than happy to create the advert for you. At first glance this may seem appealing but I would urge you to reconsider for 3 reasons:

  1. Who are these hundreds and thousands of people in the circulation list? How many of them fit the criteria of your ideal customer? How many of them actually read this publication before placing it in the bin?
  2. If they create your advert, will it match with your brand and look professional? Remember this is someone you have only had a brief conversation with on the phone or via email.
  3. Take a minute to consider what you could do with that £200 if you spent time thinking about where your customers are, how to reach them and how to engage them. This is guaranteed to be a more effective use of your time, effort and money!

For more reasons why spending time on creating a Marketing Strategy is a good idea, take a look at my "Why Bother?" post.

Marketing Strategy – Why Bother?

Marketing Strategy – What Is It?

I find that the easiest way to understand marketing strategy is to think of it like a map. You can explore various options and decide where you would like to go, then mark your destination on it and plot the route you would like to take to get there. It is completely up to you what time you decide to leave or aim to arrive, whether you take a scenic or the shortest route, which method of transport you choose or even who you take with you. The map, just like a marketing strategy is purely there to help you identify where you would like to go and enable you to plot your journey.

 Plan how to get there

Why Don't People Do It?

  • They are much too concerned with getting on and doing things.
  • They don't have enough time or never seem to get around to it.
  • They don't understand what it is.
  • They don't know the benefits.
  • They think it's not for them.
  • They think they can't change the plan once they've made it.
  • They think it isn't worth the time it takes!

Why Is It Important?

I think there are 6 key benefits to spending time creating a marketing strategy:

  1. Structure – It provides you with some structure to your marketing activities. Rather than flitting from one thing to the next you can put a plan in place of where you want to go, what you are going to do and when, and how each of the activities fit together or benefit one another. Please remember that once you have created a marketing strategy it is not fixed in stone and neither does your plan need to be highly detailed e.g. day by day or hour by hour. Find what works best for you.
  2. Prioritise – It forces you to prioritise your marketing ideas upfront. It enables you to work out which order to do things in or even whether it is worth doing them at all.
  3. Reminder – Your marketing strategy acts as a reminder about where you are trying to get to and how you thought you would achieve this. It helps to prevent your marketing activities from falling to the bottom of your to do list.
  4. Budget – Having a clear direction as well as a plan or at least spending the time to put together a plan means that you can work out what you actually have the time and money to do. It can help you to make decisions about activities and forces you to be creative if time and / or money are limited.
  5. Confidence – If you know who you are trying to target, why and how and you have an action plan it is a lot easier to feel confident about putting your best foot forward. It can also be more efficient because it removes the time you would usually spend wondering what to do next!
  6. Measure – Once you have a strategy you can create a plan of marketing activities along with their objectives. You can then track your progress to see what was achievable and what wasn't. Enabling you to do more of what is working and less of what isn't. Maximise your time, energy and budget!

How do I create a Marketing Strategy?

  1. Make sure you understand and can articulate the purpose of your business and what success looks like for you.
  2. Identify who your ideal customer(s) is and why they would benefit from your product or service (it is important to spend time really thinking about what is actually in it for them).
  3. Work out how and where to find the ideal customer(s) you have identified.
  4. Explore what powerful message you can create that will inspire them to buy from you (and on an ongoing basis).
  5. Test the above by creating a plan of marketing activities with SMART objectives to help you measure your progress.
  6. Adjust your approach based on your findings!

Have you created your own Marketing Strategy? Did you find it helpful? Did you encounter any obstacles? As always if you would like to find out how I can help you with this feel free to contact me.

What would my target customers like to hear from me and how?

writeNow that you have identified your target customers, what should you say to them and through what medium, is the next question. To determine this it is best to look back at what you recorded as their problem or need you were able to solve. Are you restoring health, wealth, happiness? Think about it in terms of benefits and not in terms of physical product e.g. doing their tax returns. Next how will they know they need your advice or product, what is their trigger point? How can you use the words in your marketing material to encourage them to realise they are at the stage where they need your help?

What format is best?
Based on what you already know about them, what would they like to receive? Information that is engaging? Useful? Valuable? Highly technical or quick and easy to read? How much time do they and you have? How much are you willing to share? Who could you collaborate with or get support from to produce even better content? What is your budget and how many customers do you require? How much are you willing to spend to get them? The amount you charge for your product or service will definitely have a bearing on this.

Follow a tailored approach
OK, so finally we move onto the how. How do you communicate with them? Based on all of the information you have collected or noted down about your target customers so far; what makes the most sense? How often would they like to receive material from you? How much have you got to say? Don’t send out a daily email if you are going to run out of interesting content by the end of the first week and you don’t actually have the time to create or write the material! What channels do they like to use; social media, face to face, blog, direct mail? What formats would they like or would help to make your content even more interesting? What would most effectively explain your subject matter and what do you have the budget to create e.g. video, ebook, workshop, article or tweet?

It’s all about balance
It is extremely tempting to feel that you must use everything but even if your target customer uses everything, if you don’t have the time or can’t make the time then don’t. Instead from the vast array of appealing options pick a few that you feel comfortable trying and then do the same with formats. Put these into a plan and away you go. When will you create the content? When will you send it out? When will you spend the time measuring its impact? Through surveys, google analytics, email statistics, number of phone calls, likes, favourites and ultimately enquiries and actual customers. Adjust your efforts accordingly, if something obviously isn’t working, stop doing it. If you’re not sure and have the time to keep doing it then give it a little longer. Or stop doing it to see if this has any impact. At the end of the day, Marketing, is all about trial and error. You can try to treat it as a science but ultimately it is an art because it involves human behaviour!

Key Takeaways: 

  1. It is OK to have more than one target customer but try to keep it to a maximum of 5.
  2. Customers are your life blood so getting the right ones is essential!
  3. Your time is precious so don’t try to do it all!
  4. Remember to keep in mind how many customers you need to make your business a success.

Interested in getting some support or further advice on the identifying and communicating effectively with the customers that best suit you, just get in touch as I’d love to hear from you.

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How Can I Help Your Business?

 

Hello I'm Sarah Crowther and I'm a Strategic Marketing Adviser. I believe in the art of the possible! I help sole traders and businesses with their marketing strategy.

 

  • Are you a business owner and in need of some marketing advice?
  • Need a marketing plan but unsure where to start?
  • Think that you need to spend a fortune in order to make sure your marketing is effective?

 

You spend your time focused on what you love and so do I. My approach is flexible and so whether you're after a one hour session on an adhoc basis or would like something ongoing I am happy to help. 

 

I also offer (optional) regular review sessions to help keep you on track as well as offering tips and advice along the way. For more ideas on the types of things I can help you with please take a look at my blog.

 

If this sounds good to you and you would like a free 30 minute initial consultation please feel free to give me a call on 07880 735613 or complete the contact form. You can find out a bit more about me here.

 

I look forward to working with you!

 

Lovely photo taken by nikreations

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