t’s easy to get bogged down by all the marketing and advertising options out there. So based on my experience testing and crafting marketing plans for companies big and small, the best course is to zero in on the ways to see the biggest impact for the lowest initial investment (to first prove results). This means sorting through which tactics to take on, and which to leave for another day.
Let’s take a peek at some of them first.
- There are hundreds of social media channels including the big four, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube… with Google+ rapidly playing catch-up
- The ever popular but difficult route of traditional search pay per click ads for Google and Bing and the newer pay per call solution platforms that reach local services search networks
- Blogging, micro blogging and guest blogging on another popular blog are powerful ways to grow your influence and reach your audience
- SEO strategies range far and wide but all come back to a solid content marketing strategy which may encompass articles, white papers, etc… education-based marketing at its finest
- Traditional advertising is still an option and includes print advertising, TV, radio, infomercials, news segment bumper ads and more
- YouTube videos are still making a splash and drive great brand awareness and backlink traffic, video content in general is huge but can come with a big price tag to produce original content
- Direct Marketing (email and mail)
- PR is still an important focus which may include press releases/article placements/feature stories/pitching to bloggers, etc.
- Webinars help you provide free education to your engaged audience and these can be executed a variety of ways with an offer at the end or not
- … and the list goes on and on.
Honing in on the right channels for your audience, message and product/service can be very overwhelming. To stay within budget and get it all done in a timely manner—you have to have a plan.
When we crafted our marketing plan for this year there were at least 15 different marketing methods or channels in the strategy. But many of them align together in groupings, for example for us to create, market and complete a webinar we utilize: email marketing, banner ads, a newsletter, social media, a press release, blogs, landing pages (post-event), post-event sales touch strategy workflow, surveys, key metrics, etc. That’s ten different channels all focused on the same effort and the same end goal; get people into an awesome webinar, share our knowledge so they can bring something powerful back to their business. And sometimes webinar attendees realize that from all that was presented they may feel they can’t do it all on their own and CHI is here to help deepen their sales and marketing skills, provide perspective through master coaches and build strategies and tactics that will double their business.
So for your business it may only make sense to set your sights on the initiative level and then drill down into the marketing channels it’s going to take to get the best exposure and cross-promotional mix needed to meet your specific goals. Otherwise you could be swimming in channels, ideas and disparate strategies without a real direction or goal for the end result of all the expense, time and energy these marketing tactics will take to pull off.
“Focusing is about saying No.” ― Steve Jobs
Steve had it 100% correct. You cannot and will not succeed in your marketing efforts if you say yes to every new strategy, tactic or ad channel that comes along. Before taking the leap and saying yes to a new marketing option, evaluate it with this easy checklist.
6 Questions to Ask Before Starting Any New Marketing Strategy
- What is the goal of doing this marketing strategy?
- What metrics will I use to know if I hit that goal?
- Do we have adequate time/energy/budget to justify the activity and what is the ROI?
- Will this reach my ideal target audience and engage them to take a specific action? (At CHI we call your ‘idea’ target your ‘best buyers’, these are the folks with upsell, cross sell and referral potential because you are the perfect fit for them.)
- How does this fit within my current marketing mix? (Making various channels work together, i.e. creating a marketing mix, is where you will find your greatest success.)
- Will it optimize, leverage or cannibalize those other efforts in play?
- Is this a brand awareness method or an inbound lead-generating method? Or a combo punch?
- And which do I really need to focus on at this time to meet my goals?
- Does my team have the skills, time, and expertise to fully execute on this method?
If you answered NO to two or more questions this probably isn’t the right new tactic or the right timing to take on this particular thing. Deciding on a new tactic is one thing, but executing on it is a whole other issue so makes sure you’ve evaluated from all sides, consulted your team for their knowledge and input and then make a final decision that fits your brand strategy and goals for lead generation, revenue generation or brand awareness. Because keep in mind, not all tactics or channels drive results to all three of those goals. Often a channel will only drive to one or possibly two things and ancillary tactics will help to fill out the third if it’s on your plan.
Your Key Takeaways
- Create your plan and stay focused on its end goals as you roll through new tactics.
- Don’t get overwhelmed, go back to the six questions and stay true to your mission.
- Remember it’s OK to say No.
“A clear vision, backed by definite plans, gives you a tremendous feeling of confidence and personal power.” — Brian Tracy