One of my first mentors, my former boss, used to say “Marketing is not a silver bullet.” And over the years, I’ve come to learn that’s true. I almost always have to explain to people that really great marketing probably won’t happen overnight or in the first month of execution. It takes time to test, refine and truly find the right marketing strategy for you and your business. Marketing is an ongoing process. When you do it correctly, you will see a steady growth in followers, leads and clients. But the trick is managing your marketing and staying consistent with it, even when it’s not directly turning into leads.
For a small business owner or entrepreneur, this is not always easy. After all, there are about a million things we need to be doing every day. When cashflow is tight, it’s hard to focus on writing a blog every week. I get that but like it or not, if you want cash flow to stop getting tight and start getting consistent, you need to be marketing every single day.
If you have no clue what the heck you’re supposed to be doing marketing-wise, I’m breaking down the basic marketing activities you should be doing. This is not a complete list by any means. Every businesses marketing strategy is different so I can’t cover everything but if you are not executing on any of these things, then your leaving money on the table.
1. Review your goals. I suggest setting monthly marketing goals. You should be working towards something and it doesn’t necessarily have to be clients. It might be website traffic, email subscribers, booked consultations, social media followers, etc. You want something measurable. Look at your goals for the last month. Did you hit them? If yes, great! Look at what worked. If not, ask yourself why not? You can’t be afraid to look at your results. Great marketers know that most of marketing is all an experiment. It’s all about testing and tweaking until you get it right. You have to be able to look at what right and what didn’t and learn from it. See it as an opportunity.
2. Review your numbers. If you have a website or any digital platform, you should be monitoring your traffic and growth. After all, why else would you have these tools if you have no idea if they are working for you? The key is to look for trends in these numbers. Look at your biggest referrers to your website. What content was best performing this month? What days were best for your social media posts?
3. Do a quick audit to ensure everything is still funneling and flowing. This is something I hear pushback on but honestly, it takes a couple of minutes and will give you major peace of mind. Audit your funnels. Are your emails still delivering correctly? What happens when someone signs up for a free consultation? Is everything still working right? Nine times out of ten, everything will be running smoothly. But glitches happen all of the time and your potential clients are not going to hang around to let you know that they’re clicking on a bad link. It’s up to you to check up on your funnels.
4. Set your goals. Now that you’re wrapped up on the previous month, it’s time to look forward. What are you going to tackle this month? And how are you going to tackle it? I’m a big fan of process-driven goals and breaking down what we want to accomplish into how we’re going to accomplish it. Identify what you are going to achieve this month and build out the plan around it. You want four clients? That’s fantastic so you are going to want to ensure your marketing is set around getting 4-12 consultations, depending on your close rate. So if you want 12 consultations, how many offers do you have to make, how many people need to sign up for your email list, how many people need to visit your website. This is why you need to check your numbers, know what works and understand why things do and do not work for your brand and your audience. Because you don’t want to be shooting into the dark. You wan to be building your plan based on data.
Check your numbers. This is one you might need to do, depending on the size of your business but I also suggest looking at your website analytics, email subscribers, social media followers just as a check in. Again, the more data you have and the more clear you are about what works and what doesn’t, the better your marketing will be.
Scan for mentions of your business or brand. This is another thing that not everyone sees as helpful but I love doing it. Who engaged you this week? Who linked to your website? Who retweeted you? How are people engaging with your business and are you engaging back? If you don’t have time to connect with people every day, then you should definitely be trying to connect once a week. It’s all about getting in touch with your audience.
- Look for trends. With this activity, it’s important to not go overboard and end up in comparison-itis hell. But looking around at what’s going on in your industry or your world can help you create relevant content and keep you on the cutting edge. What are people talking about? What is your competition talking about?
- Write content. Content is king online and you need to post regularly, whether you like it or not. Since no one really likes writing content, except content writers, I’ve found that for myself and most of my clients, its easier to write all your content in one big block. Batch your blogs, emails, articles, videos, etc. Write something to your audience every week.
- Schedule your social media posts. This only applies if you choose to use social media for your marketing efforts. I love social but I’ve found it’s so much easier to schedule things out in advance. You can use a social media scheduling tool like Hootsuite, Buffer, SproutSocial or any of the other hundreds of tools out there.
- Check your accounts. Did anyone email you, message you or comment? This will take you 10 minutes every day, maximum. Do you have any leads or people asking for information? CHECK!
That’s it. If you’re checking in throughout the month and the week, marketing doesn’t have to take up a ton of time in your day to day.
Now, what’s not written in your post is the execution of the tactics you identified when you set your goals every month. Obviously whatever you identified you need to do, you need to fit into your schedule for the month so there will always be a few more marketing-related activitiesIf you are running things like PPC ads or Facebook ads, then you will need to have more maintenance on those types of things as well. Again, everyone’s marketing activities will differ slightly but if you have a business and you want to attract customer’s online, you need to be doing these activities!
Hopefully this post doesn’t overwhelm you because it really shouldn’t. Marketing is not as complicated as so many people think it is. It’s really just about understanding your audience, knowing your data, measuring and - most importantly - executing.
If you are reading this article and feeling like you have no idea how to even start with your marketing, I’ve got you! Schedule a free mini marketing planning session. In 30 minutes, you and I can talk through your marketing, what you need and how you can get started!