How to Keep Momentum Going

When you’ve invested a lot of time, effort and money into a good marketing plan, it’s not only important that you get it going in the first place – but you need to keep it going. So once you’ve implemented it and you’ve got it off to a good start, you can’t just sit back now and forget all about it and hope it works on its own. You need keep the momentum going.

This is where I often see a lot of my clients are getting stuck. All of a sudden it seems as though they’ve hit a brick wall – whether it’s life that takes over; or business (or a mix of both) and they just can’t get to the next level of marketing. This is when your marketing plan generally gets thrown to the side, you put it in the “too hard” basket, or you just don’t think about it. Life gets busy. I know. I’m a mum with three kids (including a newborn!)… but whatever life throws at you, you need to keep the momentum going. And that is particularly true in business.

When the initial excitement of your marketing plan fizzles and life seems to get in the way, it’s time to take things up a step and get your marketing back on track. Here’s how.

  1. Allocate your resources

You need to be realistic about the resources you have at hand so you can choose the right people and the budget to get the job done. You want to allow for the right amount of time dedicated to the work for yourself, and others involved; and you should allocate resources for at least three to six months (the longer the better). The key to success here is to have a good team backing you, that way you can ensure you have the right systems in place and your processes up and running. Then, you can focus on the strategic elements and leave the rest in capable hands.

  1. Have systems in place

Whenever I see results from a campaign I’m working on, I light up. I love knowing that what I’m doing works. Seeing positive results is a great motivator so it’s important you have the right systems in place to monitor the results of your marketing. If you can see that your marketing has created sales, both directly and indirectly, you’re more likely to stick to the plan.

  1. Schedule ‘review and refinement’ sessions

Set up regular sessions where you and your team can go through your marketing activity, check the results and ensure it’s all in working order. If something isn’t working, adjust your activity accordingly. There’s nothing more dampening than busting your gut to get the job done right, only to find out it’s not working as you want it to. Don’t waste time on things that are obviously not working. And if things are going great, celebrate!

  1. Demonstrate leadership

If only marketing was a one-off fee that you could pay and you’re guaranteed success forever… unfortunately it doesn’t work like that and with any marketing plan, the results aren’t going to be immediate. Make sure you tell your team members that, but also encourage them along the way. Praise them if they’re doing the right thing, guide them if you think they could do something different (or better). Demonstrate ‘buy in’ and engagement as the business leader, to both your employees and suppliers. Patience will be rewarded.

  1. Empower your team

Let the members of your team take control. Give them the power to make decisions so that they aren’t waiting for you before they make a change. Allow them to show initiative because when your team are not afraid to make mistakes, great things will happen.

To sum it up, you can’t invest all of your energy into a strong marketing plan only to allow it to fizzle out. If you get your strategy sorted at the start, put it in place and have a strong team working beside you to guarantee success – you’re onto a winner. The results will be well worth the effort.

If you need more ideas, or want some help achieving your marketing goals, give us a shout. We’d love to help you out.

Do you buy into the hype?

Sometimes it feels as though a new marketing channel is being launched every day. You’ve just got a handle on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram and along comes Snapchat, guest blogs and now paid social ads – what’s that all about!?

Each channel loudly vies for business owners’ attention. Pick me! Pick me! Look what I can do for you! It can feel an impossible task to keep up and select the right mix. What’s more, it’s all too easy to get sucked into the hype and waste precious time exploring the possibilities of the ‘next big thing’ in marketing when it’s not really a viable option for you and your brand.

As a marketing consultant I hear this statement, or a variation of it, all too often:

I’m not getting leads because I’m not on [insert new shiny channel here].

Despite the hype, it may not be suitable for your business at all. The problem can often be that these businesses are simply not using their current channels in the most effective way. Or they are concentrating their time and resources on a channel that isn’t the most effective for their business.

So let’s just stop right here for a second and ask one simple question:

Where are my ideal customers and what channels do they use?

You shouldn’t get attached to any single channel before you’ve done your research. In fact, you shouldn’t get attached to one channel anyway – things change, and often all too quickly, in the digital marketing space.

So how do you go about choosing your channel mix?

Take baby steps before you leap into the ‘next big thing’. Here are six tips to guide you through the process:

1. Ask your customers which channels they use.

This sounds all too obvious (have you done it ?) but of course if you have a business where you don’t have direct contact with your customers to ask them in person you will have to be inventive in the way you approach them. Maybe an online questionnaire on your site or in an eNewsletter with a prize dangled as a carrot could get you the responses you need. Remember, people are short on time and you need to appeal to their WIIFM radar (‘what’s in it for me?’ – a great acronym to remember for all of your marketing content too).

2. Research new online channels you’re considering

Find out the prime demographics the channel is targeting. If the channel is aimed at teenagers and your customers are high net worth mature professionals then that channel is clearly not for you (no matter how much you want to use it!). Do an online search for comments and feedback on the channel and case studies of other businesses similar to yours who gave the channel a try. What successes did they have? What didn’t work out for them and why?

3. What different options does the channel have for you to engage with prospects?

Can you post articles or images targeted at attracting the attention of your ideal customer? Can you engage with them via comments? Can you advertise and indirectly build your email list? You need to ask yourself all these questions (and more) and then look at the answers in relation to your marketing objectives. Do they correlate?

4. Consider your marketing goals.

What are you using the channel for? Are you looking for lead generation, building awareness or educating people? Are you aiming to sell more of your product or looking to build trust in your service? Your marketing goals will influence your choice of channels to concentrate on.

5. Consider your budget.

What resources – both time and money – are you prepared to invest in setting up and maintaining a presence on each of your chosen channels? Especially with new ‘free’ digital channels, there is a big perception that because the initial platform has no financial cost that it’s a free option and businesses can therefore ‘afford’ to participate on multiple channels.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The strategy, time and patience it takes to develop a lead generating presence on a new digital channel, far out ways the cost (in people hours) that it takes to develop and place a series of print adverts (for example). However, because the physical cost isn’t as immediately obvious, this often gets forgotten.

6. Consider what resources/skills you have for implementation.

Do you have the time and skills to maintain a presence on each channel yourself? If not, what budget do you have to engage other people to assist you (see point 5). You may benefit from hiring a social media manager, graphic designer and/or copywriter to streamline your processes and ensure that your brand is consistently producing great, on brand content.

So don’t be taken in by the hype and jump right into the ‘next big thing’. Follow the above steps and make a considered choice about whether it’s right for you and your brand and aligns with your marketing goals before you dive right in.

And if you’re still unsure about where to start, give us a shout. We’re happy to help you navigate the marketing channel maze.

How to Determine Market Knowledge

Most businesses don’t have a clear market profile for where their business sits.

Don’t let this be you.

Without a clear market profile from the start, you’re building your marketing strategy on shaky foundations, rather than the rock solid base it needs.

Start by being honest with yourself and developing a clear picture of your business, its uniqueness, its competitors and the market you’re in. It’s vital that you take time over this and do it properly in order to keep your marketing activity customer-focused. Yes, it’s painstaking, and at times frustrating, however, it’s something even big businesses fail to do – and it shows.

Developing a clear situation analysis will provide a solid and strong foundation for all your marketing activity. Nothing beats it. So invest the time and get it done. I know you’ll be glad you did.

Not sure where to begin?

1. SWOT analysis

You may or may not have seen a SWOT analysis before. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Strengths and weaknesses are internal factors you have some control over, opportunities and threats are external factors beyond your control.

A SWOT analysis will set a foundation for your strategy and force you to be honest and realistic with yourself. It enables you to improve the efficiency of your business, discover growth opportunities and deal with risk proactively. Many times when I sit down with clients to do a SWOT analysis of their business we uncover areas they were blissfully unaware of previously. There’s almost always an ‘aha’ moment.

How you go about this is up to you. Personally, I do it by myself at first then seek outside input. If you have a senior team member or business coach, you may want to do it with them. Whatever works for you.

2. Develop a market profile

Carefully assess the market you are operating in. Define your target market according to age, gender, location, industry, job title, company size etc. Be as detailed as possible.
Next, estimate how many of these people there are in the area you want to serve. A good place to start are resources such as ABS and IBIS.

Once you have the numbers, decide what percentage of them you are aiming to convert to customers.

3. Who are your competitors?

Who are your five closest competitors based on your location (if appropriate), industry and target market? Complete an analysis of them using the following headings:

Value Proposition
Target Audience
Staff
Products/Services
Pricing
Marketing
Strengths
Weaknesses

4. Develop your customer profile/persona

Use all existing customer information you have to form a picture of your current customer – their demographics, their location, their market segments and their pain points.

Knowing your customers and their segments is especially important for small business. As a smaller business, you can’t go after everyone so you need to plan your activity carefully.

Next, write down a list of all the existing customers/prospects you know of and compare their similarities.
If you or your team have personal contact with existing customers then interview them via phone or in person to obtain some first-hand information about your audience.

Survey your prospects by coming up with an incentive and posting to social channels and Quora to see how they rate you in comparison to competitors.

And don’t forget to have fun creating your customer persona for each segment. Give him or her a name, draw a portrait and stick it up in your workspace and refer to them by name whenever you make a marketing decision. Will Ms. Smith respond to this? Or would this appeal to Mr. Jones?

Follow this process and you will be streaks ahead of your competitors who haven’t taken the same time and trouble.