“Do I HAVE to tweet?!” Rebecca asked me with a slightly terrified and pleading look in her eye.
“Blogging isn’t mandatory is it?” demanded Colin, “I don’t HAVE to do it – can’t I just run some ads? I don’t have time for all that.”
It’s all too easy to believe that marketing is all about ‘doing stuff’. Taking an ad out here, posting on Facebook, sending an email…
In truth, even if you’re as happy as a clam using social media and don’t get the heebie-jeebies about sending an email to your entire client and prospect list, taking a scattergun or avoidance-based approach to your marketing is exhausting and ultimately ineffective.
So let’s calm things down a bit and take some of the stress out of marketing your business, by introducing some clarity and focused thinking which will form the basis of your marketing strategy.
When Emma and I set up The Marketing Matrix five years ago we thought we’d better, you know, devise a marketing strategy!
But we didn’t jump straight on to LinkedIn or start a Google ad campaign straight away – these activities have their place of course – but first things first.
We took some time to ask ourselves a few key questions and make sure we agreed on the answers (the fact that we did agree boded well for our partnership – this is much easier if it’s just you in the business!). Here are three of the core questions every business owner needs to know the answers to:
- What do we do?
We clearly set out what we would do for our clients and carefully honed this down into a really specific list of services and a clear and well-defined business descriptor:
We deliver practical marketing strategy, support and training for small and medium sized owner-managed businesses in Surrey and London.
The clarity of this statement meant that our prospects immediately understood how we could help them.
- How do we begin working with clients?
We developed a little introductory product that would help us to quickly get to know our prospective clients and provide a consultancy service which would prove how valuable working with us long-term would be. We set it at an affordable, low-risk price point and offer this instead of free-pitching (which is the norm in our industry.)
Our Marketing Review & Reboot was born and has served us and our clients very well over the years. It gives each party the opportunity to test the water and find out whether we would work well together and gives us the chance to prove our value by providing a detailed piece of consultancy work.
- Who do we want to work with?
We clearly described our ideal consultancy clients in great detail, including their character attributes and way of working. This is known as creating your Buyer Persona and from this we developed our products, services, prices and customer care procedures with a very specific kind of person in mind.
One of the attributes we specified was that we wanted our clients to be ‘smiley’ and as unimportant as that may sound, we can honestly say that each and every one of our clients is delightful and fun to work with!
So before you post your next tweet, place your next ad or have a meltdown about how much you dislike marketing, take some time out with your notepad to answer in as much detail as you can these three questions.
Your answers will form the foundation of your marketing strategy and when you infuse all your marketing materials, communications, website and activities with this level of clarity you may well find that the amount of ‘marketing stuff’ you have to do reduces significantly and the clients you attract will be the kind you really enjoy doing business with.