When it comes to having a successful business, there are a few things that you need: a quality product or service, excellent employees, a commitment to your customers or clients, and a desire to succeed. What you also need is a healthy marketing strategy to both get your name out there and drive new business into your company. However, while marketing is the cornerstone of any major brand (just ask Coca-Cola), starting your marketing plan is not always that easy. Here are four steps to take to get your business to the next level.
Make a Plan
It may seem redundant to talk about making a plan when you’re developing a marketing strategy, but most small businesses begin a new marketing plan without really hammering out the details. Before you start, you should know the following:
- How long will it last?
- What materials will you need?
- What goal are you trying to reach?
- What is your budget?
Specificity is the key here since you don’t want to deal with vague promises. For example, if your goal is just to “increase sales,” then you first need to know what your sales numbers are like currently, and then create a target for your plan to hit, such as a 5% boost. If you don’t have a target, then how do you know if your strategy was successful?
Start Small, Think Big
While you may want to roll out a massive marketing campaign to put your business on the map, not all campaigns are as successful as others. Even comparing yourself to your competitors can be dangerous. Unless you know all the circumstances that led your competition to have a similar marketing strategy, you don’t want to copy what someone else did. Instead, break up your campaign into smaller chunks, and roll each part out at predetermined intervals. That way, if you don’t see success, you can stop the campaign before you get too invested in it.
Diversify Your Strategy
Before beginning your new marketing plan, ask yourself if it’s the absolute best way to promote your business. Many companies just go with their first thought and see if it works. Unfortunately, many times that idea crashes and burns. Even multi-million dollar companies can have disastrous marketing campaigns. Thus, write a list of all the possible ways you can promote your business, and pick the top five and develop plans for each. That way, not only will you force yourself to think of new ideas, but you’ll have other campaigns already good to go once your first is finished.
If part of your campaign is to invest more in your customers, then make sure that you follow up with them to see their reaction to it. Short surveys can be a perfect way to get feedback on what worked and what didn’t so that you can learn for next time. Even just talking with your customers to see how they are doing and why they came to your company can have a great impact on referrals and repeat business. Even if your campaign fails, you still want to get this valuable information, so you don’t make the same mistake again.