Infographic: Elements of a Marketing Strategy

Infographic: Elements of a Marketing Strategy

Earlier this week, I dropped some hard truths about your marketing strategy and why it’s failing. Today, I wanted to share some other essential elements your strategy needs to be a fully developed, comprehensive plan of action.

Keep in mind the elements listed below are not the only things you’ll need to incorporate into your marketing strategy, but they’re the key pieces you’ll need to include to run a successful campaign. Need help developing your annual strategy for 2021? Shoot me an email today to learn about my strategic services.

Don’t Focus On Your Goals. Focus On This Instead.

Don’t Focus On Your Goals. Focus On This Instead.

“You don’t rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems.”

– James Clear, Atomic Habits

Nothing makes me happier than achieving a goal for my clients.

As a marketer achieving client goals is arguably the most important part of my job, but what many people fail to realize is most goals will fail without proper systems in place to help execute the strategy to accomplish those goals. In his book, How to Fail at Almost Everything and still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life, Scott Adams says that “Goals are for losers.

He goes on to explain, “Goal-oriented people exist in a state of continuous pre-success failure at best, and permanent failure at worst if things never work out.  Systems people succeed every time they apply their systems, in the sense that they did what they intended to do.

Seeing the quote above resonated with me as a new business owner, and as a marketer. Systems give us something to focus on immediately, while goals are often established for the future (typically quarterly, or annually). Because goals do not provide immediate information and gratification, it makes sense that when you focus more on your goals than the systems you have in place to help achieve your goals, you are living in a constant state of failure until your goal is met.

In my business I get around this state of failure by establishing micro goals monthly that allow me to provide almost immediate value to clients. These micro goals also allow me to predict whether or not we are on track to hit our quarterly and annual goals. Guess what! The act of establishing micro goals is actually an example of a system. It’s just one of many systems I have in place in my business to propel my clients forward.

Here are some of the ways I ensure the systems in place streamline and grow my business, and my client’s businesses as well.

Automation

At its core, a system should be something automatic that solves a problem in your business. One of the things that I struggled with when launching my own business was prioritizing my digital content. Between managing client work and working a second job, my own digital presence was taking a backseat. Using scheduling software like Later, I have been able to schedule content for my social platforms in batches – rather than having to find time every day to post content. Automated systems help you use your time effectively and improve your productivity and should be implemented by your business as often as possible.

Evaluation

Once your systems are in place you MUST make sure they are actually working for your business. When I started working in the marketing industry, on-boarding clients was chaotic. It took several phone calls, emails, and hours of planning before services even started being executed – and most importantly, it disrupted workflow for existing clients. After finding that process ineffective, I was able to implement new (and automated) systems to streamline the process. I traded in an initial discovery call for a quick, 10 question survey for prospective clients to fill out prior to our first meeting. The survey included a link to a calendar to schedule our first phone call/in-person meeting. This survey allowed me to collect data on their perceived marketing needs prior to our meeting, rendering initial discussions irrelevant, and allowing me to tailer the content I brought to our meeting specifically to their needs.

Revision

If your system isn’t working – fix it, but also be sure you’ve given the system time to work. Don’t change your system just because you forget to follow a week after you implement it or because the first few weeks you find yourself needing a checklist to ensure you are completing all steps as needed. While a system can work immediately, you will likely need some time to adjust to a new way of doing things. I prefer giving myself 60-90 days to evaluate a new system to determine what is working and what isn’t. From there, I try tweaking small parts of my systems in places I think it may be flawed rather than changing my entire system completely. This ensures systems ultimately have longevity so I am not constantly changing systems for my business (creating more hassle than it’s worth).

Setting up your systems will take time in the beginning but in the long run, your systems will save you hundreds of hours of frustration and stress. Do you have any systems in place?

Setting Better Business Goals in 2020

Setting Better Business Goals in 2020

January, 2020. A time to start fresh, plan your year, and set resolutions to get healthy, spend time with family, etc etc. Personal resolutions are all the rage in the New Year, but what about resolutions for your business? Well, if you’re doing it right, you set resolutions for your business every year. These resolutions are your business goals.

Ideally, these are a collection of thoughtfully developed micro goals that result in successfully achieving a large macro goal. But more often than not when I ask clients what their goals are, their responses go like this:

“I want to increase sales.”

“I want to make more money.”

“I want to grow my audience.”

These are NOT good goals for your business. This year, I am challenging you to change your mindset around your business goals so that you can think in terms of simple steps that you can take throughout the year so that you can meet your defined, achievable macro goal by 2021. To do that, let’s take a look at how you can define a clear goal for your business TODAY.

Know The Ins and Outs of Your Business

First thing’s first. Take some time today to reacquaint yourself with the inner workings of your business. Determine what worked last year, what didn’t, and where your main opportunities for growth are.

  • Conduct a SWOT Analysis. If you aren’t already familiar, your SWOT analysis is an analysis of your businesses Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. If you have a leadership team, or trusted individuals that are familiar with the ins and outs of your business, ask them to do the same. As the owner of your business, your opinions may differ from team members. Asking someone on your team to conduct a SWOT analysis may shed some light on things you may not be aware of yet.
  • Run an internal audit. After you’ve run a SWOT analysis and evaluated it, run an internal audit and crunch some numbers. This step will help you determine what tools lent a hand to your strengths, and what tools contributed to your weaknesses. If you didn’t have a system for analytics or goals in place for 2019, take a look at social tools like Facebook Insights (assuming you have a social presence) to get some insight in regards to your social performance as a starting point and shoot me an email to discuss different options for tracking your goals in 2020.
  • Analyze individual performance in 2019. What did you do, personally, to help grow your business in 2019? What worked, and what didn’t? How can you utilize your time in 2020 more effectively to scale your business? These are all questions you need to ask yourself to determine how you can play an effective, and efficient role in growing your company in the New Year. Also consider how much you WANT to do in your business in 2020. As a small business owner, my guess is you currently play a huge role in everything relating to your business. Maybe you’d like to scale back to spend more time with your family, or maybe your passion lies in the client/customer facing side of your business and not the internal side of your company. If that’s the case, it may be time to consider if you have the capacity to hire a team member to delegate some of the business items you don’t enjoy as much.

Do a Market Analysis

This is one step I’m sure you’ve done before, even if you don’t realize it. Business owners are always keeping one eye on their competitors and what tactics they utilize in their marketing and business efforts. Look at the list below, and take some time to identify these key points to determine the state of your market/industry currently.

  • Who are your current competitors?
  • What is their price point?
  • Where are they selling?
  • What content are they sharing?
  • How is their content performing?

Brainstorm your new goals

This is the fun part! Brainstorming is a mental technique that allows you to develop ideas without judgement. It can be tricky for some people, especially if it’s not something you do often. One way to brainstorm that I’ve found to be challenging, but effective is to write one idea for a goal on a piece of paper every minute, for as many minutes as you set aside for the exercise. (Keep in mind, this is essentially a brain dump, and not every goal you jot on paper is going to work for you and your business.) After that time is up, look at all the ideas you wrote down and build them out. Here’s an example:

Say that you wrote “Increase sales” on a piece of paper during the exercise. Now look at internal audit you conducted in step two to see what your business did in sales during 2019 – say you did $100k in sales. Maybe you decide your goal for 2020 is $200k in sales. Now, ask yourself these three things:

  • Is that goal realistic? Based on your internal audit, SWOT analysis, and personal audit, is doubling your sales in 2020 a realistic goal to set? If you answer yes, proceed to the next question.
  • Is your goal too broad? Your goal will likely be broad if you are thinking of goals in terms of one year – so break your goals down to quarterly, and then break them into monthly goals. These will be your micro goals that will allow you to determine how close you are to achieving that $200k sales goal throughout the year.
  • Is this a measurable goal? Once you’ve determined what micro goals you are going to track to gauge whether you’re on track to meet your macro or annual goal, you will need to determine if your goal is measurable, and what tools you are going to use to track your success. This is typically where marketing comes in for business owners. A marketing strategy and built out tactics will provide you with measurable ways to monitor your goals on a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis.

If you’ve worked through those three questions and found a refined, measurable goal for your business that excites you, then congratulations, you’ve established a goal for your business in 2020. Now you have a clear direction for the year when determining what actions your business takes in the New Year and whether those actions make sense in terms of meeting your Macro goal at the end of 2020.

Now what?

Now that you’ve established your goal for the year it’s time to determine what tools you need to help you achieve your macro (and micro) goals. Build out your business plan for the year and start taking action! Click here to get started.

Ask Yourself These Things Before Hiring a Marketer

Ask Yourself These Things Before Hiring a Marketer

You’ve made the decision to contract a marketer for your business. That’s great! Before you meet with your candidates, there are a few things to consider to ensure your interviews go off without a hitch and you find the perfect professional to help you grow your business and your brand. Often times, business owners establish a need for marketing before they determine why they need it. Don’t make that mistake. Read on to find out why, and learn some questions you should consider prior to meeting with marketing professionals.

Think of your business in terms of health. Say you have had knee pain for the past few months and you go to your doctor for an exam. Your doctor will likely ask you if you’ve taken any medications to help your pain, if your pain is chronic, and what your activity levels are like. You likely know the answers to those questions because you’ve thought about them prior to your appointment.

The same applies to your marketing needs. In order for someone to successfully help you develop your marketing plans, they need to know as much information as possible first. Below I’ve outlined 4 things that you absolutely need to consider before meeting with any marketing professional to discuss your needs.

Have you identified your business’s biggest problem? Have you tried solving it internally?

It’s important to know your company’s pain points prior to interviewing someone to help guide your marketing efforts. Be as detailed as possible when identifying your issues, so that when the time comes, your marketer has all the information necessary to establish a strategy that addresses your problem directly. It’s also helpful for potential marketers to know what you’ve tried before in an effort to fix your problem by yourself.

If you have many problems outlined or are unsure of how to identify your issue, you may benefit more from a consultation than a full time marketer to begin. Get the ball rolling today with your free 60 minute consultation.

Do you have a clear goal for your business in mind?

Let’s just get this out of the way – “make as much money as possible” is not a clear goal. Everyone wants to grow (aka make more money). When establishing a goal ask yourself how much you want to grow, and how quickly you want to get there.

Setting up a successful campaign that yields more money can be a total disaster if that growth happens too quickly and your business doesn’t have a capacity to fulfill those sales. While a marketer can certainly help you establish whether or not your goal is realistic (after a thorough analysis of your current marketing/business presence), it’s up to you to voice your expectations up front so that everyone enters the partnership with clear guidelines.

An example of a good goal is: “Last year we did X amount in sales, this year our goal is to do Y.” This goal will give your potential marketer an idea of where you’re going, and when you want to get there, and you provide real numbers that your marketer can use to break into micro (quarterly or monthly) sales goals to establish whether or not a campaign is working well and you are on track to meet your goal.

Do you have set expectations for a marketing role?

This seems like a given, but often times isn’t discussed. Please consider what expectations you have for a marketing professional prior to contracting an expert to help you, especially in terms of communication. Do you want someone who can join weekly team meetings to provide updates? Are you looking for a weekly report, or monthly? What do you want the approval process to look like?

Those are all things to consider so that when the time comes, you can address those expectations immediately and establish whether or not the person you are meeting with will mesh well with your current business practices.

Have you established a marketing budget?

Every single marketer you meet with will ask you this question because it keeps them a jumping point to start a proposal and begin planning a strategy.

It is 100% okay if you don’t have a solid budget established at the time of your interview. Having a price range in mind is often enough for a marketer to get the ball rolling. However, you should consider your marketing budget, and your ad budget and whether or not you will establish an ad budget, or run an organic (unpaid) campaign.

Ad budgets are often charged in addition to your marketing budget, both should be considered prior to your interview. Keep in mind: the marketer you hire will be able to determine whether or not your ad budget is reasonable during the analysis phase of strategy development and may change month to month.

Have you considered these questions and are ready to take the next step in growing your business? Let’s chat today and get the ball rolling!

Not Seeing Results From Your Marketing Efforts? This Could Be Why!

Not Seeing Results From Your Marketing Efforts? This Could Be Why!

It can be frustrating when you invest a lot of time and money into your marketing strategy, only to yield minimal results. In my years working at an agency, I met with countless prospective clients who turned to our company after several marketing strategies failed. They were frustrated and skeptical about how beneficial good marketing could be for their business.

After these prospective clients made the decision to work with us, I dug deep into market research and their current business analytics. More often than not, their promotional tactics were not directly responsible for their lack of results. Their audience was.

Read that again. Their audience was the reason a lot of their marketing efforts were failing. That’s because a lot of businesses today fail to understand the difference between their target market and their perceived audience.

Now, whether or not everyone in your market is a 25 year old female is not going to make a huge difference in the success of your campaign, but marketing to the correct generation, or what stage of life they are in, certainly can.

Here’s an example from a past client: Say you are a housing development trying to sell houses 20 minutes from the city, at $350k for a 2 bedroom home. Are you going to sell those homes to first time homebuyers that currently live in the city? Not likely. And investing your marketing dollars into messaging geared towards that market could be deadly for your business.

Your target market is a defined group of people that are likely to benefit or be interested in the product or service you offer. This group is established after conducting market research and can actually be very different from your perceived audience.

The reason a lot of marketing strategies ultimately fail is because a perceived audience (often identified by the owner as their ideal audience) does not match the true target market (maybe not the audience you want, but that audience you have). Fortunately, identifying your target market can be a relatively simple fix that is incredibly effective when considering your next marketing strategy.

Do you want to learn more about correctly identifying your target market? Set up your FREE 60 minute consultation with me today!