Marketing can be a complicated world but it can also be one of the most impactful methods to growing your business. Don’t believe me? Ask any of the executives who were having a down year and decided to cut their marketing budget to save money, sending them into a deeper tailspin. See, for me, running a business without a strategy for your marketing efforts is like winking at someone in the dark. You know what you are doing but no one else does. So, what can you do? How can you successfully harness the power of a targeted marketing campaign to grow your business? To give you the full picture would be a lot longer read than this one but lets take a look at the starting points that can get you on the path to growth.
First, don’t go it alone. That doesn’t mean you need to run out and hire a bunch of people to handle your marketing but it does mean that, especially if marketing isn’t your strong suit, you need to enlist the help of someone who knows how to navigate the landscape and can at least be someone with whom you can bounce ideas off of.
Then you need to start building a strategy and a list of who your marketing should reach. Having a defined strategy helps you evaluate all the options that exist and all the solicitations that you undoubtedly face. It gives you a foundation to know what the first steps are and a place to evaluate new opportunities. If they fit your strategy then they are probably worth further consideration. If they aren’t going to help you progress on your strategy, then don’t waste any more time evaluating them.
Once you have an advisor and you have your strategy then it is time to start executing. This step is where budgeting becomes extremely important. You’ve heard the saying “it takes money to make money” and marketing is certainly no different, it takes money to market your business, however, it doesn’t have to be expensive. And the great news, if you have the right strategy in place you can start with a few fundamental pieces as continue to add more pieces as the sales increase.
We started this process with the idea of “don’t go it alone” and I want to circle back there for a minute. There are a lot of companies out there who will help you execute your ideas and there is certainly a place in the market for businesses like that. The more valuable to you, and consequently more rare, is a company that truly acts as a partner and can lead you through this process with your best interest in mind. The last part of that sentence is extremely important, with YOUR best interest in mind. Too often marketing companies are only considering things from their side of the desk, “what project can I recommend that will get me something else on the books?”. Or, “How can I maximize my interaction with this company?”. That’s all great, businesses have to make money to survive and I am not trying to deny any business that opportunity, however, I believe that if I act as a true partner and with YOUR best interest in mind, working to help your business succeed, then our relationship will not only last longer but be fruitful for both of us. When you find a business that lives by that philosophy they can be an asset in all of the phases we discussed. They can be your advisor helping you evaluate the opportunities, they can work with you to develop the right strategy, and they most certainly can help you execute the right things at the right time. Lots of businesses will talk that game, very few will actually deliver on it. We have actually built a unique structure to do exactly that and I’d be happy to share that with you if you are interested.
No matter what direction you go, or who you choose to be your guide, just remember to keep winking, just be sure you have the lights turned on.