Marketing tasks can become a challenging area in business for most entrepreneurs. It seems so abstract and foreign for many. But the truth is, marketing is not that difficult or mysterious. The small business owner can do great results using these simple suggestions. Every business should use some type of marketing and promotion. Otherwise, how are customers to find you? With the digital age and social media, it is much easier to reach a large audience and promote your business. We’ll take this step by step and breakdown the process.
Decide what you want to do for the month. Be specific. For instance:
- Increase leads on Yelp by 20%
- Increase positive reviews on Yelp by 10 this month
- Increase newsletter sign ups by 200 this month
Your business focus may be Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, or LinkedIn. Whatever the social media channel, be specific about what you want to do.
- Promote a new product or service
- Local awareness campaign
- Grow your email list by 10%
- Capture 10 new paying customers
- Capture 5 new monthly service subscriptions
- Promote a holiday event
- Celebrate an outstanding customer to get referrals and/or new paying clients
Once you have a list, try to focus on 2-3 goals. Narrowing down the goals to a few makes it much easier to manage and promote well. The other goals can work for different month. With the 2-3 goals in mind, create a marketing plan. Here’s how:
Goals: Increase leads on Yelp by 20% within 20 miles of my geographical location.
- Purchase Yelp ads for my business’s geographical area
- Email existing customers with Yelp page information. Encourage customers to spread the word. There’s nothing wrong with asking customers to leave a comment on your Yelp account. So ask but don’t be a bully about it. Merely suggest they visit your Yelp page and leave a comment if so inclined.
- Promote your Yelp page on other social media channels with a Yelp Deal. A Yelp Deal is a discount offer or coupon to viewers who claim it. Yelp then promotes your profile. Yelp does keep a percentage of the deal sales, so keep that in mind.
Track, Measure, Analyze, Adjust
Key to creating and executing a marketing plan is to track and measure the results. The purpose is simple: make sure your marketing plan is working. There is no point in spending money, time and resources on an effort that is not meeting your goal.
For example, the above marketing plan for Yelp may generate leads. That’s great. But are they viable leads? Are they qualified? Are they within your service area? Are they really interested in your services?
Review the marketing plan results to make appropriate adjustments. Results not in line with the goal does not mean abandon the plan. It means, adjust the plan, refine it, and try again.
The first tool, is a marketing calendar or planner. A simple Excel or Google Sheet will work. Include columns for what, where, when, how:
- Method or Channel (direct mail, social media, Yelp, etc.)
- Collateral (postcards, brochures, coupons)
- Dates (mail date, first ad run)
Small Business Marketing Tools offers a few free marketing templates for download.
CoSchedule offers a terrific Marketing Plan Template Kit. I’ve downloaded this for myself until I finish developing my own.
A desktop calendar may work well for you as well.
- Goal – SPECIFIC
- Plan – Where, how, when, what
- Track – Monitor your results. Adjust and do it all again!
Next week, we’ll chat about Social Media Marketing.