First Comes the Foundation: Where to Start on Marketing
Small companies and startups are keen on growing, but don’t always know where to start. Most business leaders realize they need marketing, but sometimes get stuck on square one. After several years of helping small and midsize companies establish marketing plans to help them expand and become more profitable, we can share a four step plan that will help any marketing-minded business owner get started on the path to success.
First, determine your own business goals. You need to understand what you’re trying to accomplish before you can create campaigns that will help you reach those goals. Do you hope to obtain more brand awareness? Do you want to increase customer loyalty? Are you hoping to ramp up sales? Though some objectives are universal - make more money! - there are more specific goals that will make your company successful. Goals are going to vary by company. Choose your top 3 for the coming year and write them down.
Next, create a marketing plan that is specific to your goal. Include the top 3 tactics that will help you reach each goal. Make sure to elaborate on specific channels, who will be responsible, deadlines, etc. For example, don’t just add “Facebook Advertising” as a tactic - write down who will be responsible for those actions, which audiences you’ll target, the length of the campaign, etc. As a general start, if you have 3 goals and write a minimum of 3 tactics for each, you should have at least 9 campaign plans that you’ll attempt to execute over the course of a year.
Once you have established some concrete plans, you’ll need to ensure you have the proper tools in place. Do you need software for tracking projects? How about a new email provider, social media management tool, or collaboration platform for your team? Go through each of the plans you created in step 2 and figure out what you’ll need to make those items happen seamlessly and efficiently. Then go about finding the resources to get them. Do you need to create a business case for purchasing licenses? Do you need buy-in from other teams on collaboration processes? Starting to execute on the plans without the proper resources in place will get you nowhere.
Finally, document how you plan to measure each tactic. For every element of your campaign plan, you need to know what’s working and what’s not (particularly if you had to create any business cases that will demand an ROI later on). If increasing web presence was one of your goals, you probably want to measure key metrics like web traffic. If you wanted to ramp up SEO, you’ll need to regularly pull numbers on organic traffic from Google Analytics. It’s a good practice to complete a list of reporting that should be done to measure each campaign, and then pull that data quarterly and review. Determine what the data is telling you - where do you need to make changes, and where can you keep doing more of the same?
Marketing can seem daunting if you’re new to it - but don’t suffer from analysis paralysis. Reach out to us for some templates to get you started quickly!