Are you throwing your marketing budget away by paying through the roof for all the 'easy' stuff? Don't worry, you're not alone. Here are three top tips to help you give your marketing a real shot in the arm.
Your focus can't be on direct mail or PR or any other marketing tool. These tools are used to reiterate your message constantly. But it's no good if your messages are confused and unfocussed. Your marketing efforts must be directed towards targeting your market and reaching your marketing objectives. And, you must be focused on how your business is different from everyone else.
So we're giving you 3 steps to truly make your marketing easier. That doesn't mean there's not going to be a bit of hard work involved, but it does mean you'll stop wasting those precious dollars!
Step One: Setting Objectives
How can you know if you've been successful if you don't have any objectives? Marketing objectives and strategy are your way forward in business; they give you direction, focus and structure. Getting this part of your planning right is crucial and you need to take time to think carefully about the decisions you are making.
You need to have objectives:
- To know the results of your activities
- To give you focus for allocating your precious resources, including time and money! Also staff, capital, etc
- So that, as time moves on, you can determine whether you are heading in the right direction
- To identify when things are starting to go wrong before it is too late
- So you can make adjustments elsewhere to compensate for errors
And to get started on writing your objectives, think SMART. There's a reason this acronym is so popular it's almost a cliché. And that's because it's a great way to evaluate the validity of your goals. Make them:
- Specific - about a particular aspect
- Measurable - in units
- Achievable - not over committing you or so difficult that they become de-motivating
- Realistic - have you go the resources to achieve them?
- Timely - within which timeframe?
Our 3 Top Tips for Writing Objectives:
- Think further than SMART objectives. Your objectives need to be a balance of qualitative and quantitative AND personal and business.
- Don't write your objectives sitting alone at the computer- get the team together, keep note of the ones that come to you in a flash of inspiration and ask your customers.
- Review your objectives regularly (long term and short term) because they aren't written to be stuffed back in a bottom drawer somewhere!
Step Two- Working Out Who Your Ideal Customer Is
If you are trying to be all things to all people, you will end up being nothing to no-one.
Everybody has different motivators, different drivers, different quality expectations, different needs and different ways of measuring success and satisfaction. The focus of marketing is to deliver what the customer wants in a way that enables you to make a profit. How can you decide what they want when you haven't defined who they are? The first thing you need to do is to determine the "who"!
To find your target markets think of groups and types of customers who you can add value to. Customers who have a core need that you can meet and who can afford your product or service. Focus all your marketing activity at these people. If you have selected real targets and profiled your customers accurately then you will be able to decide which advertising media to use, how to reach them, and what key messages you should use to gain a positive response from them.
So, how do you know who to target?
- People who have a need that your product or service meets
- People that the competition are not serving well
- People who can afford your services to a level where you can provide the service at a profit
- People you can add value to
- Those you can serve easily and cost effectively
Our 3 Top Tips for Working Out Who Your Ideal Customer Is:
- Research your ideal customer. Start with questionnaires, Internet research and free trials
- Define your NOT target market. Ever seen a product or service that everyone buys? No? Thought so, which means writing a description of those people or markets you won't target is just as important. Put it in your business plan so you will ask serious questions before spending time and money on them
- Use a Loyalty Ladder: focus your energies at the top and maximise lifetime value!
And finally, Step Three: Standing Out From the Crowd
Determining what makes your business different is one of the most fundamental marketing decisions you need to make. If you are unable to decide what it is that makes your business different, then you cannot expect your customers to know either! You will be leaving their purchase decision up to whatever takes their fancy at the time and you will be helping your competitors appear more attractive.
You must bank on the right differences:
- Those you can deliver profitably
- Are not easily replicated by your competitors
- Are sustainable in the long term
- Are of value to your customers
- That your competitors are not doing and can not do
- Are defendable and quantifiable
- Are easy for you to consistently deliver on
Our 3 Top Tips for Standing Out From the Crowd:
- Do some research! Ask your staff, customers and suppliers to find out what makes you different or better to deal with, and ask them why they aren't using your competitors so you know what not to do.
- Make sure you're actually being different: Great coffee is not going to make you stand out from the crowd, a selection of 20 coffees from around the world is!
- Pay attention to the things that make other businesses stand out and work out how to change them up and make them work for your business.
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