Marketing is hard. There are thousands of mediums and easily-Googled “marketing hacks” to help start you on your journey, and often these quick tips are helpful in the short-term. But the very nature of marketing is fluid – changing with customer trends and feelings, time of year, new and developing technology, for example – and it’s often difficult to grasp exactly what your strategic marketing plan should look like over the course of a month or a year.
Here’s an example: while many businesses benefit greatly from the holiday season, those levels of revenue and activity are difficult to sustain on a consistent basis throughout the year.
However, when you are running your business for the other 10-11 months of the year, you don’t stop working or promoting your business just because you aren’t seeing those huge numbers, right? Of course not! You put in the time every day with the hope that each day you’ll see those numbers increase.
This is where strategic marketing comes in. When you create a strategic marketing plan, you can keep a consistent presence in your potential customers’ lives, and also be ready to take advantage of short-lived trends that will provide smaller, more frequent gains.
Let’s go through some of the big reasons why your small business needs strategic marketing.
Branding and Continuity
Branding is one of the most important parts of owning a business. And small business branding is even more important because big corporate voices often dominate, by volume, your potential customers’ space.
Strategic marketing is a concentrated effort to use every marketing message as an opportunity to amplify your brand. When your offerings back up your products, services, and mission, your potential customers feel they can trust your brand voice because it is consistent across platforms and mediums.
Manage Schedules and Audience Expectations
Humans are creatures of habit. We like routines and repetition. Catching someone’s attention online is a monumental task, and businesses find success in marketing campaigns that follow specific routines.
Just like a brick-and-mortar business needs a sign out front to let potential customers know where to find them, your marketing campaigns must be seen to be effective. Create a schedule for where and when you post different content. This increases visibility and allows your audience base to know where to find you.
Successful examples of this are as big as Black Friday sales and as small as identifying opportunities to celebrate Mexican or Japanese holidays and events to coincide with an ethnic restaurant’s promotions.
Money Well Spent
Every small business is different, and that means your budget will differ from other small businesses. Average small business marketing expenses range from as low as six or seven percent of annual revenue to as high as 11.8%, depending on the industry the small business is part of, as well as the differences between B2B and B2C
Marketing expenses are not easy to determine – many marketing agencies don’t cater to the small business budget, there are lots of free tools that can increase content quality and visibility, and the marketing campaigns that worked last year may not bode so well now.
But giving in to these unknowns by spending money randomly on ads in Facebook, Google, or the local newspaper is like filling your grocery cart with unmarked packages of food and hoping the items you grabbed will be what you need to make lasagna.
While that experience may be exciting and mysterious, you’ll likely never get your desired result. And, unfortunately, the trial-and-error method for making decisions is a luxury most small businesses don’t have. With all this uncertainty, how can you get the most bang for your marketing buck?
By taking a strategic approach to marketing, you’ll find that budgeting for marketing events whether large (specific holidays, certain global events and trends) or small (Taco Tuesday) will be easier and have a more targeted and effective impact on your audience.
If you don’t track the results of your marketing campaigns, you won’t know what’s effective. And it’s hard to know what is effective when there’s nothing to compare your results to. Did last week’s 20% discount offer do well because of the graphics you used? The products you featured? The day or time you published the campaign?
You can address and even anticipate all of this with some insight and planning. If you have a strategic marketing plan, you can more easily measure which campaigns are doing well, and how to increase the impact of those campaigns that are not performing as planned.
customize Your Strategic Marketing Experience
Your marketing plan should not be focused on reacting to opportunities and trends but creating them. How do you do this when you are not a seasoned marketer? What about when your business isn’t large enough to require a full-time in-house marketing team?
SharedTEAMS offers the strategic marketing guidance you need, when you need it. As a member, you will have access to our team of professionals who will work with you to create a strategy that follows industry best practices.
Interested? Here’s how it works.