Creating an effective marketing plan can be a conundrum for many small business owners, particularly when the budget is on a real shoestring. As a business owner, you’ll need to work out which activities will draw the most amount of leads for the least amount of your precious pounds.
They key to marketing success will generally be down to understanding your audience and customers. Without knowing your audience, you will struggle to market to them and to get your sales messages across. It’s also vital you don’t throw money down the drain and throw good money after bad.
Although there are endless ways to measure the results of your campaigns and decipher whether your marketing is working (or not), in its simplest form it’s wise to stick to marketing methods that work for you.
If you are consistently spending money on marketing that isn’t yielding results, then stop it immediately and review if there’s something you could change to improve your return on investment. Just because something should be ‘tried and tested’, if it’s broken and expensive, there’s little point in continuing. Nevertheless, don’t discard it forever. It might be that with a little tweak to your campaign, you’ll start winning those all-important leads.
Utilise low cost options
Channels such as social media may seem like they wouldn’t produce direct results, but if they are utilised correctly, they can be extremely cost effective.
There are so many advertising options with excellent segmentation tools available on platforms such as Facebook, that you can reach your most likely customers with relative ease. You can set yourself a daily budget and target a set number of people depending on their likes and demographic; a tool which is almost unbeatable in certain industries.
With careful monitoring, you can listen to your audience and understand what they say about a particular product or service, helping you to revise and improve your strategy and maybe even your business model.
Traditional marketing isn’t dead
Of course, whilst social is cheap when compared to Pay Per Click and advertising, there’s a reason that businesses are still spending millions every day using more traditional channels. Don’t ignore things like weekly emails and direct mail, just because they are viewed as ‘old hat’. Anything you can do to make yourself more visible is likely to breed success.
You are your business
If you are sitting in your office waiting for the next customer to walk in or ring up, you may be waiting a long time. Your marketing plan needs to revolve around your skills and expertise.
Showcasing your talents becomes a lot easier when you are also active outside of your place of work. Joining networking groups such as BNI and your local Chamber of Commerce will do wonders to help you generate interest in your business. Your customers are far more likely to be engaged when they speak to you directly about what you do and why you do it, rather than reading your emails or watching your ads.