It’s pretty much a given that when you run a small to medium-sized business you are expected to fulfil a number of roles. From sales director, to HR manager, IT support, to cleaner. It can be one of the most challenging aspects, and usually a steep and quick learning curve.
Marketing is another intrinsic part of the mix – after all, how else will you drive sales and grow your business?
Make a plan
Never underestimate the importance of a marketing plan. These marketing ‘bibles’ should be developed when you’re planning your budget and setting the objectives for your business for the year ahead. According to industry standards, the amount you spend on marketing per year ranges from 1 per cent to 10 per cent of sales, or possibly more, depending on several factors, including:
• How established your business is. If no one has heard of your business yet, you should probably spend more.
• What industry you are in and how much are your competitors spending?
• How much can you really afford? Don’t overcommit, and remember there are many inexpensive, highly-effective options to help promote your business.
• Regardless of your budget, planning and forethought enables clear and cost-effective decision making and allows you to integrate long-term planning and short-term implementation. If you’re unsure about what marketing activity you should be working on and where the priorities lie, then you can simply refer to your marketing plan.
Whilst there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach, there are some fundamentals that you need to know before embarking on any kind of marketing.
Here’s our checklist:
Before undertaking any kind of marketing, advertising or PR activity, set some goals. Do you want to increase in-store traffic? If so, what is your footfall now and what would you like it to be? Do you want to increase your average transaction value? Do you want to increase inbound calls? If you set parameters, it’s easier to see what you have achieved at the end of the activity.
Ring-fence a marketing budget
Just as you know how much your annual building lease is, so you should know how much you would like to spend on marketing for your business.
Know your target market
The most important people involved in your business are not your employees but in fact the people that pay for your products and services. Who are they, what are they interested in, what do they do, why do they give you money? The more you know about your customers, the easier it is to put the right marketing information in front of them.
How do you reach your target market?
Where will you find your customers and how should you talk to them? Not everybody can afford a television ad, so you might have to be clever. The good news is that there are many ways of talking to potential and existing customers, and some of them don’t cost a thing. Never forget the power of ‘word of mouth’
Measure, evaluate, refine
Always measure how successful your marketing activity has been. Revisit your original objectives and see if you have achieved your goals. It’s important to identify what worked and what didn’t, for future activity. You should also look at return on investment. If you can show a direct relationship from your marketing investment to customer inquiry and sales, it is easier to justify the spend, and plan for your future investment.
Seize the day!
We’ve just hit a fresh, new financial year, so now’s the perfect time to put together your marketing plan and prepare a budget, if you haven’t already. If you’d like a planning template to get you up and started, please feel free to call us on (09) 379 2880, or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll get one that’s right for your business out to you.