Your small business strategy is based squarely on the foundation of your marketing system; and if you don’t have a marketing system and you’re not working on developing one, then you have no small business strategy. Full stop.
If you only ever pay atention to one thing I give you, then let this one thing be it.
If prospering in business is important to you, then there is no alternative but to take small business marketing very seriously indeed, and to educate yourself to become excellent at it. Frankly, the level of marketing expertise I see from most small business owners is embarrassing.
The furthest most of them go is to have some fuzzy notion about the need for more business, and then to leave the rest to chance, hoping, wishing and even praying for customers to walk through the door or hit their website and buy something from them. But hope is a dangerous strategy for success.
Yet the inescapable and unquestionable truth is, marketing is the No. 1 activity every business should be focused on, because it’s the only thing that brings in business. And business means sales; sales means profits (if you’re doing things the right way). And profits keep the lights burning and food in your belly.
In this piece I want to debunk the myths about your marketing and provide you with strategies, the 4 Corners of Marketing Success, that serve as a foundation to your marketing plan like the legs of a table and will adjust your thinking and propel your small business.
Investment, Not Cost
Most small businesses operate with a marketing budget. That’s mistake No. 1, and a very dangerous small business strategy. Yes, you read that correctly: I am saying you should be willing (and even eager) to lay out a limitless sum of money in your marketing.
Here’s why: marketing is meant to make money. If it doesn’t, you shouldn’t be doing it. So, if it makes money, then from that it follows for every pound you put in, you get more than a pound back, right?
We call that your ROI Just like the bank paying you interest.
See Your Marketing System as a Money Machine
So, imagine you have a marketing campaign or system you can “crank the handle” of, and discover, to within a few percent, the Return on Investment you’re going to make. Sounds good, yes? (Any business can do this, and every business SHOULD).
Given the above … if for every groat you pump into your marketing system, it churns out a groat and a half, or two groats or ten every time you press the “go” button, then would it be the act of a right-minded person to restrict the number of times you press that button just because of some daft “budget”?
Nope. If you had any sense at all you ‘d keep pressing that button like a rat with a wire in its head applying the shots of “happy juice”
This is precisely what comes about when you have an appropriate small business strategy and a tried, tested, and proven marketing system.
Appears to good to be true, but I swear to you by all that’s good and holy, it is true.
Look Before You Leap
But, be practical about this. Start with small tests and monitor responses like a hawk watching a mouse. And even when you have something that works, don’t risk more than you can stand losing, because the unpredictable happens, and you don’t want to be cleared out by ill luck falling on bad judgement.
The prudent thing to do is determine your evil “budget” as a percentage of profits, so the more you bring in, the more money you can spend on your marketing.
I have had supposedly intelligent business owners tell me they couldn’t manage to re-run a successful marketing campaign that was making them money … because their “budget” was all out.
Crazy. Unquestionably insane and a small business strategy beneath contempt.
How to Make Marketing Pay
Just how do you know when your marketing is working?
When it’s making you money.
How do you know that?
By relentlessly and religiously recording and quantifying everything you do.
Thus lies the problem for the majority of small business marketing: they track and test zip. Instead, they copy the “big boys” and churn out useless “image” and “brand” marketing which can not be measured in terms of outcomes. And small business owners can’t afford the luxury of ineffective marketing.
So the trick is to fashion your small business strategy so you are able to determine where every sale you make originated. By doing this, you know what’s working together with what’s not working.