Even for Apple, historically known for dramatic launches of new products, it’s about the day-to-day delivery of superior products and services. If you’ve been to an Apple store, you’ve seen the gold standard for customer service; likely product too.
We say, unless you offer quality in both, then spending marketing dollars is like “eating soup with a fork”—your money just slips through without any ‘satisfaction.’ It’s a waste of effort and dollars. That said, what are the day-to-day, not dramatic, activities of solid marketing?
Here are a few suggestions for prepping for the day-to-day, week-to-week marketing ballgame. It’s the first in a two part series.
Make sure you know your target customer(s)
There really is no substitute for this. As one example, we’ve witnessed a team of investors in new, independent, organic food store differ widely on who they thought their customer was. The answers ranged from everyone (who eats!) to soccer moms to athletes to health food fanatics. Partially because of this, in our opinion, the store folded pretty quickly. Of course you can imagine the big competition too!
Who are the people/audiences you’re trying to reach with your message and how do you best reach them? Be as precise as possible. Pinpointing this will save you money and bring better success. This can change over time; keep in mind you may need have different messages or offerings for different market niches.
Look professional & current online. Really.
Among other reasons, people vet businesses everyday online. Who uses the print Yellow Pages any more? In most cases, don’t even consider launching a business without being online. That’s so pre-world-changing Internet. Searching, shopping, comparing, etc., all happen millions and millions of times a day online.
And there’s the old adage “You only get one chance to make a first impression.” Today, the first impression is just the beginning. There are so many new ways of reaching out to and interacting with potential and loyal customers that bring success every day. Consider social media and/or an enewsletter.
And your online marketing shouldn’t be static. It’s got to be dynamic. The web and search engines love dynamic content.
Gather intelligence. Then get rid of the fat.
It starts with the simple question: How did you hear about us? Do you know what marketing efforts are working and worthy of your hard earned money? Get rid of the fat. If you’re not gathering data about results, then you’re short changing your marketing, especially in today’s ever more digital marketplace. If your business is about gathering leads, it’s really about the quality of the leads—people who are your potential customers—not the quantity.
Informed marketing decisions are based on facts, not hopes. Dynamic marketing is a mix of intuition, trial and error, analysis, regrouping, making informed decisions, modifying the mix over time, and more. And we recommend a multi-channel approach to marketing. Take a look at our marketing toolkit to see what we mean.
Spy on your competition.
Create free Google Alerts on your competition, for example on the business name (and perhaps one for the owner, too), with either in quotes like “PizzaRama.” Likewise, create one for your type of product or service. For example “donuts + Pittsburgh” or “Italian restaurants + Pittsburgh.” The “+” tells Google to find only answers that meet both criteria.
Finally, sign up for the competition’s social media feeds and newsletters.
Spy on yourself too.
First, put out Google Alerts on your business name and your name (or chef’s or investors’ etc.). This will feed you most of what’s on the Internet about you as often as often as you want.
And there’s the age old ‘secret shopper’ technique. Send someone into your business who no one there knows. Let the shopper pretend to shop (even if you’re a service provider), and then get a report on the experience. And customer surveys are always a good idea.
Here are some topics coming up in Part 2 of Marketing is 5% big drama, 95% prepping for the game every day.
Try something new. See if it works.
Use a variety of marketing channels
Tweak your marketing message(s)
Improve your product
Improve your service
Perform a brand audit
Finally, here’s a bonus for you. Marketing 101: Ten Smart Marketing Basics
Can we empower you to take charge of at least some of your small business marketing efforts?