The one thing that most small business owners have in common is the dream about what their business has the potential to grow into. They want it to be a success and know they can do it if they work hard.
However, sometimes it’s hard to focus on what is important and you sometimes lose the focus on the future and how to keep moving forward. How many times do you find yourself wondering if it’s all worthwhile? How often do you feel like just jacking it all in and doing something else?
You know that in this digital age, especially since Covid raised its ugly head and everyone had to find more innovative ways to reach their customers, that having quality content online that engages your audience is crucial. But that really is only half the picture. You also need to ensure your audience is exposed to this content, and that means building a successful content strategy beyond social media posts.
This week’s blog looks at how you can work ON your business, NOT IN your business, and take it from mediocre to marvellous.
Resolve your mediocre marketing
Mediocre is quite a depressing place to be in marketing. Lots of businesses pay more attention to how they look than what they’re saying, or how they’re saying it. I’m not saying everyone does this, of course, but instead of focusing on what makes us unique, we are all guilty at some time or other of saying what people expect us to say or do.
So, what can you do to resolve your mediocre marketing?
All small businesses have lots of balls in the air. Not only do lots of you have a family to look after, but you also have everyday things to keep on top of too. Some of you are running your small business as a side hustle, as well as holding down a full-time job, and you can find yourself being pulled in all directions. This can lead to a mindset of ‘hoping for the best,’ which in turn can lead to you being unproductive – and it’s exhausting!
One of the answers is to work smarter instead of harder. Here are some things to think about:
Have a plan
If you read my blog regularly, you will know what I’m going to say; you need a marketing plan.
At this point, you might just switch off. Is it because you find the thought of having to plan a bit overwhelming? It’s probably the last thing you want to hear…again!
But not having a marketing plan makes your job harder and juggling all the harder to handle.
If you have a marketing plan, you can focus on the things that are necessary. In ‘The Trend Report: Marketing Strategy 2022, reported by CoSchedule, it was found that people who have a plan to market their business are 313% more likely to report success than those who don’t.
And, although it may seem very overwhelming, it really isn’t.
What should a marketing plan contain?
For starters, it doesn’t have to be 100 pages long – that won’t help you at all. It needs to be clear and short, realistic, and repeatable, as well as easy to understand so you can tweak it as you see fit in future months.
It needs to show:
- Your Vision/Mission statement
- The four Ps – products, pricing, place (where you’re going to sell what you do), and promotion (how you’re going to sell your products or services).
- Market analysis – look at your competitors
- Target market – who you are aiming your products/services at
- Your goals or objectives
- Your promotion strategies
- What budget you have if any
- How you’re going to measure the success of your plan
If you would like a simple to follow marketing plan, sign up to my email and receive your free ‘Marketing your small business workbook.’ This will help you get on the right track.
Don’t try to do too much
Trying to do too much can also cause you to do less. For example, I know businesses that are on five or six social media channels. It’s good if you have the time to manage them all, but my experience is that you’re likely to lose your motivation and abandon them one by one.
Trying to be seen everywhere is not easy to maintain long term, especially if your business is just you. So, I would always advise to focus on just a couple of social media, or online channels and do them well.
Be consistent, add plenty of value to your customers and have a goal – what you expect to achieve from your social media activity.
One of those online channels doesn’t have to be social media – it could be email marketing. To build a lucrative email list, it’s advised to have a lead magnet that entices people into subscribing to your email. I realise that email isn’t for everyone, but if your business is steadily growing, you engage with your audience regularly online, (and may be finding this is taking up too much of your time), the next option is to create an email subscription, where you can talk directly to your customers every week or month.
Not everyone is your audience
I know I’ve posted about this recently on my social media pages, but one mistake that lots of small businesses make is to try to sell to everyone. Not everyone is your target audience, and by trying to target everyone, you risk selling to no one.
You need to know your audience, build a couple of buyer personas and tailor everything to them.
Don’t spend too much money
The word ‘budget’ is something guaranteed to send fear into most small businesses hearts. It’s not one of our favourite words, but it is important. Having a budget, no matter how small, can help your business.
There are so many digital marketing apps it is all too easy to keep subscribing to new apps. But while they might be individually cheap, they add up.
Look very carefully at what you spend your money on. Do you spend a lot on app or analytics tools? I do subscribe to Canva, and it’s worth every penny as I use it every day, but I have recently stopped subscribing to a few, as they were just a waste of money.
It is worth spending money on things you will use and will help you make your business more successful.
Here are a few ideas on what you can spend your marketing budget on:
- A website (some people prefer to spend on things like Etsy or Shopify rather than a website as lots of the marketing can be done for you, but I feel it’s better to have your own website with built-in e-commerce, as you own it yourself
- A registered domain
- Training – so you learn more about things associated with your business
- Paid ads – this needs very careful consideration to get the right kind of ad
- If you are service based, you might want to invest in scheduling and measurement tools
- Hire some professional help, such as a marketing coach, someone to help you with your business/marketing/social media strategy, or someone who can build your website, write blog posts, or set up your email marketing.
Don’t forget about your existing customers
Did you know that your existing customers are your biggest sales opportunity? Happy customers are loyal customers and are five times more likely to buy from again, and four times more likely to act as referrals.
Looking after your existing customers is worth the effort as losing customers who are no longer engaged or hear from you, are more costly. It’s harder to find new customers than it is to keep existing ones.
Keep your customers engaged with your business by offering them gifts, or discounts, listen to their feedback and act on it, or maybe think about creating some sort of loyalty programme.
Stay up to date with technology
This is a hard one, but most of what you do as a small business will be routine. There will be some daily tasks that need to be done to keep your business running smoothly. The more effective you become in completing these tasks, the more time you must work more on your business. For example, instead of physically posting on social media every day, batch make your content for the week and schedule it. You then only have to do this once a week.
Keeping up with the latest tools you can use to help you can ultimately save you time and money.
Mix up your marketing activity
Check out your insights on social media to find out what kind of posts work best for you and what doesn’t. Change the type of posts you do, try, and include things like reels and video, as well as short and long posts. Post your blog articles, and remember to use posts that entertain, educate, engage, and inspire your target audience, as well as selling posts.
Take a step back
In this article, I’m not telling you what to do, but what I am trying to encourage is to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. It gives you time to assess what works and what doesn’t work for you.
It’s very easy to fall into the trap of doing the same things, just because that’s the way you’ve always done it, or because that’s what everyone else does. But in business, time is precious and it’s good to remember to:
- Create a clear marketing plan so you can focus on essential activities
- Only concentrate on the social media platform that you love and that you enjoy
- Sell to a targeted audience rather than trying to sell to everyone
- Make your budget work for you in the most efficient way
- Make your existing customers your priority. They will be the ones to buy more, give reviews, and are more likely to refer you to their friends and family
This is basically what a marketing strategy is all about and will help your business go from mediocre to marvellous! If you need help in pulling together your strategy, please feel free to take advantage of my free 30-minute discovery call, where I can give you some tips to help your business
Clear, concise, informative and well written article. Good level of detail and easy to understand, even if you are not a marketing expert. Thank you Cindy for your invaluable advice.
Enjoyed reading this, really useful, thank you.
Thank you so much and so glad to hear that you find it useful.
So glad to hear you liked it.