Are You Running Your Marketing or Just Taking It Out For A Stroll?
It seems to me that there is a very good reason we use the word “running” and apply it to so many of our day to day activities. Whether it’s running the kids around, running a business or running on empty – we all seem to be doing a lot of running these days – but where are we heading?
When it comes to running your marketing – you definitely want to be heading towards increased sales and brand recognition. To be clear, your marketing does require “running” and it is a long distance race. After all, in today’s competitive landscape, there are a lot of other “runners” out there. I’ve seen too many small businesses look at their marketing as one of those things, like exercise, that we mistakenly put at the bottom of the list. Not because we think it’s not important, but rather, we are so caught up in the day to day of managing a business, that, just like exercise, marketing often gets bumped to the end of our list of priorities.
We want to believe, if we’ve spent money on advertising in the past, surely people will still remember who we are and where we’re located, what we do and what it costs. If we had a special or an event this time last year, surely people will put 2 and 2 together and realize we are going to have another event this year or run the same special again.
But, the reality is, that type of passive marketing just doesn’t work. Sure, we’d all like to think the occasional stroll is enough to stay in shape – but deep down we understand that it takes more effort. Though we’d like to think that passive attempts will add up to the desired marketing impressions we need, we also know, that we must do more. Just like with exercise, consistency is the key. We’ve got to keep our marketing in shape, we’ve got to run our marketing and not just take it out for a stroll.
Here are my top 3 ways you can get your marketing back in shape:
- Start with your SEO (search engine optimization). This is one of the most important steps you can take. Today’s algorithms for rankings are increasingly more complex. If you have an online presence, (which I’m sure you do), then you simply cannot ignore the changes that are happening in SEO. If this is not your forte or if your web master does not have a good handle on the most current SEO strategies, then you need to consider investing in some SEO consultation. Have an expert take a look at your site, your online presence, your rankings and your marketing plans and then give you some guidance.
- Take a look at your niche. How do you identify your tribe? Where are your most ardent fans? What is the reason your clients return again and again? Stop trying to compete in every area and focus on the things you are really outstanding at. If you haven’t figured that out yet – start asking for feedback. From everyone. If you don’t get a clear enough answer, then decide for yourself what your business will be most known for and build on that. By focusing on the narrow niche where you are doing really well, therein lies the opportunity to become exceptional and build your customer base on that.
- Talk to the people who will listen. Now that you’ve spent some time polishing your SEO and understanding your strengths, it’s time to start promoting what it is you do to the right audience. This means, leave those generic large scale approaches behind and get really focused in one or two areas where you know you will be heard. Maybe it’s a blog post, articles, video series, or podcasts – but use the forum that your audience most responds to. If your customers are listening to public radio during their after work commute – then by all means, get on the radio. If you’re a service most people research on the internet first, then perhaps a series of articles educating and promoting will be better serve you. But be choosey – it’s okay to be selective. It’s better on your budget, allows you to be flexible in your approach and you can change course if needed without throwing out a costly campaign.
That’s it. Think of your marketing like your exercise regime – it may be a pain in the neck at times, but the pay-off is worth it in the end.