What Is Good Marketing?
In my last two posts I mentioned that if you want to be successful in your business, it’s not enough just being good at your core trade or profession: it is vital to have a good understanding of marketing, know how to deal with employees and have a grasp of the financial aspects of your business.
On the marketing front, most new business owners (and even many long established ones) find it very difficult to understand the true nature of marketing. They get their business cards and leaflet done, put an entry in Yellow Pages and then start advertising in the local press. After a while, they start complaining that the adverts aren’t working but continue with them because the advertisers and friends tell them they’re getting their names around and building their brands and eventually it will pay off. Meanwhile, their bills keep coming in and their losses keep mounting to the point where eventually their cash reserves have dwindled away to nothing.
So what should you do before setting up in business? For one, do loads of research, gain experience working for others in the same line of business and most of all learn about marketing. There are loads of good books, CD’s or DVD’s on marketing as well as websites, courses, and newsletters all brimming with good ideas which are not expensive. Read up on what made successful businesses. Was it their quality hamburgers or the way they sold it?
Number two, build your whole business ethos, and maybe even your business name, around your point of difference. The latter, if it’s what customers want and is powerful enough, will propel you to marketing success. Alternatively, you might choose a business name that’s going to get you to the top of the Google search rankings e.g. Plumbers Hawkes Bay.
Then, and only then, work on your marketing material and make sure they all reflect your point of difference as well as containing a powerful, meaningful guarantee, case studies, success stories, story-style testimonials and are packed with the benefits of using you, not just features e.g. listing out your service lines.
In addition, the most important section of your business plan is that on marketing. I always recommend a particular format, starting off with your marketing objectives, then setting out your strategies, and critically and nearly always overlooked, think about the things you must get right to accomplish your plan (these are called your Critical Success Factors) and how you are going to monitor your performance. It’s essential to measure which strategies are working and those which are not, as well as knowing whether you’re going to reach your objectives within the allocated period of time.
Going back to your actual marketing strategies, the key to success here is to understand that there is rarely just one marketing strategy which will provide you with the answer. In practice, you will have to try a large variety of techniques and ideas and see which work, which need tweaking to work better, and which flopped. If you approach these with enthusiasm and energy, you will then get a client or customer here, two from there and one from somewhere else.
Also critical is testing and measuring. There’s no point in spending time and good money on marketing which is not working. Test everything on a small scale before launching your full strategy and then measure the strategies to see which work best. Where are your leads coming from? What is your prospect conversion rate? What is the cost of lead per marketing strategy?
There’s much more to say on the subject, so if you need help with your marketing call our free no-obligations and no-questions-asked Business Advice Line on 0800 ASK NICK or send us an email.