Great marketing agencies rely on equal parts preparation and improvisation to execute sales-driving initiatives. Without a positioning statement, marketing budget, and clearly identified goals, your marketing doesn’t have a starting point, and therefore really can’t start (at least, not on the best possible footing). On the other hand, without the ability to analyze results, react to trends in your market, generate new ideas, and learn from both mistakes and successes, unattended marketing can become stagnant – and, in the digital age, quickly irrelevant.
This is the first of two articles that you can consider before embarking on your own outbound marketing (or before engaging a creative agency such as Counterintuity). And if you’re having trouble addressing these items? We can help – that’s precisely what our custom Strategy Sessions are designed to do.
What does your business do and why do you exist? What is the literal product or service that you provide and why is it important that you provide it? What is the mission of your business and what makes you unique in your field? (For more about the importance of your business uniqueness, check out our last post.) You may operate an ice cream shop or a manufacturing plant or an attorney’s office – why?
Entrepreneurs: what was the inciting incident that caused you to start this business in the first place?
Small business managers: you have marketable skills, why are you still working at this company right now?
The answers to these questions, distilled into a pithy 3 or 4 sentences, are the heart from which all of your marketing will stem.
This is among the most important yet often elusive figures for small businesses to derive. How much money you want to spend on your business reflects, well, on how much you want your business to succeed. In our experience, small business owners have no problem spending money on anything that will “guarantee” results. If guarantees were possible, that would be great – but they’re not (and anyone who says otherwise is selling something; probably something you don’t need). As a starting point, new companies should expect to spend between 12-20% of gross revenue on marketing. Established companies tend to spend closer to 6-12%. Those are rough, broad numbers – if you’re interested in diving deeper into a custom plan for your business, we can help you navigate those waters.
Setting reasonable goals can be tricky, especially with your business’ first foray into marketing. Without a track record, there is sure to be a learning curve with your activities, whether it be digital advertising, social media, SEO campaigns, or other strategic initiatives. Aside from the obvious “get more sales” or, even better, “generate as many sales as possible,” we’d encourage your first-ever marketing plan to factor in these types of achievements:
Awareness Within Your Industry
Even if you’re not closing deals left and right, the more your peers and colleagues are aware of your work (and your uniqueness!), the better poised you will be for greater success. There are many methods of increasing your supporter base: from a social following to a built-up email list to event attendees, the more your ideal customers know you and what you do, the more likely you are to be hired, referred, and considered.
Solidify Online Positioning
Search engine optimization is real! The more real links, press articles, legit blog posts, and backlinks there are that connect your business to your potential customers, the more likely you are to be found on the World Wide Web.
Of course, you want to sell – and we want to sell for you – but establishing a base in these three critical areas will set you up for future success! Check back in a few weeks for our take on how to Improvise Within Your Marketing Plan.
Need help establishing your baseline?
Drop us a line. We’ll break down our specially-designed small business marketing process.