As an entrepreneur, when you’re doing everything yourself (or as a small team), it’s easy to get overwhelmed when planning and implementing your marketing. It takes so much work to build and grow your new business and it never seems to end! Will you ever figure it out and feel on top of it?! Although you’re ambitious and want to do everything you’ve read about, seen your competitors do, or what your trusted colleagues swear you have to do because it works for them. Stop. Take a second to breathe. Please don’t go through the motions of marketing just because you think you’re supposed to do X, Y, and Z!

There isn’t a one size fits all for marketing. Many new business owners want to jump into action, but they often end up wasting valuable time and resources, or outlining a beautiful plan that isn’t realistic or effective. Don’t be a hamster on a wheel running with no destination. Let strategy guide you. As you decide what you will do and where, when, and how, you will need to go back to your business goals (or clarify them if they’re not already well defined) and reevaluate your available resources. You will need to understand your customer journey (conversion funnel) and how to guide them through each stage – from awareness and interest to consideration and conversion. Simply put, you need to know how your potential customers will engage with you, what their experience will look like, and how they will actually make the decision to purchase your product or service. Ideally they have such a great experience that they’ll become advocates for the company and go tell all their friends. And just remember that your marketing will need to be adjusted as things change.

Here are a few tips to develop your marketing plan so you can decide where to put your efforts to best accomplish your business goals.

Social Media Content

Why: Brand Exposure, Interest, Website Traffic

Content creation and curation requires a lot of time, so you definitely want a strategy guiding you to stay focused. Social media is one medium where it’s really easy to post and feel productive since you’re actively engaging with your audience. Check in with yourself to make sure you’re aligned with your goals. The strategy is to reach people where they spend their time and direct them to where they can do business with you – your website.

What platforms will you use for what different purposes? It’s better to focus on a couple platforms and do them well than to spread yourself too thin and not produce thoughtful content or respond in a timely manner to questions and comments. Determine which days and times you will post to reach your target audience. Plan out your content calendar for weeks or a month at a time and use a scheduling tool to handle the posting.

Blogging & Video Content

Why: Brand Awareness, Interest, Website Traffic, Content Creation

Blogging is the #1 way to help the SEO of your website. Your future customers don’t know you by name yet, but they are searching for keywords or answers to questions related to what you offer. When your content ranks in Google or YouTube search results and provides helpful and interesting information on a topic, it’s an opportunity to show your expertise and generate awareness of your brand.

You can repurpose and extend the reach of your content by sharing links through your social posts and newsletters. This is an easy way to help drive more traffic to your website. This original content not only gives you extra material for sharing, but also keeps your information on brand and appropriately self-promotional. Don’t forget to include hashtags to make your content searchable in Instagram and Pinterest!

Email/Newsletter Marketing

Why: Engagement, List Building, Website Traffic

Like social media, email marketing provides direct communication to your fans and customers, AND you own and control the medium (no finicky newsfeed algorithms to worry about!). It also allows you to get personal by addressing individual people and to write as much as you want without being cut off by a character limit.

This is actually your most important marketing channel since it’s permission-based and you’re speaking to people who have already expressed interest in your product or service. It’s important to grow your email list so you can reach more people with your important updates and special offers to drive sales. Create a regular newsletter (weekly, monthly, or whatever frequency you can manage) and develop premium content, like guides and templates, that your audience will be willing to give their email address in exchange for access.

Good Old-Fashioned Networking

Why: Brand Awareness, Lead Generation, Referrals, Partnerships

Digital marketing goes a long way, but don’t neglect the power of human connection. It is still important to have a personal touch in prospecting new customers and clients. (Introverted? Read our networking tips here.) Look for industry-related expos and conferences, community events, and educational opportunities where you can meet new people and share your expertise. The online version of this is participating in discussions on social media or in groups where you can provide value (not just solicitation) as a resource to people.

Through both of these efforts, you’ll gain brand exposure and be top-of-mind when someone (or someone they know) needs your services or product. You can build up your mailing lists or mutually beneficial partnerships that can expose both of you to new audiences.

Paid Advertising

Why: Brand Awareness, Interest, Website Traffic, Lead Generation

Paid advertising allows you to get in front of your target audience and increase leads quickly. If you’re just getting started and aren’t sure what to budget because you don’t know the ROI, start by determining what can you afford to test right now. How many leads or sales would it take for the marketing to pay for itself? Track the performance so you know where to keep investing and where to re-evaluate.

What kinds of ads should you do? There are many helpful options at each stage of the conversion funnel. Banner and social media ads create brand awareness through impressions, and interest through clicks to the website. Search-based ads are more costly but put you in top placements in front of ready-to-act potential customers. Each interaction builds a relationship to your brand and brings them one step closer to conversion.

Measurement

Ideally you want your marketing goals to be S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely). If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it. What exactly do you want to achieve? The more specific your description, the easier it will be to structure your plan, track your progress, and know when you’re successful. S.M.A.R.T. goal setting clarifies the difference between the vague “I want to make more money” and “I want to make an extra $100,000 in revenue in Q4 by launching a new software product.”

If you don’t have any established benchmarks to set a goal, it’s still important to collect data so you can track progress. For example, because all of your marketing will send people to your website, you should have Google Analytics installed so you can see the performance of different sources (looking at metrics like visits, pages viewed, purchases or lead conversions, etc). Over time you’ll have significant data to be able to forecast trends, gauge the effectiveness of your marketing, and ultimately inform decisions on changes to your plan.

Need a helping hand? If you looking for some personalized marketing consulting, sign up for a Compass Call to speak to me (Andrea) or another expert on our team.

author

andrea kalan

Digital Marketing Director

Tampa, Florida USA

Living by the mantra, “Do no harm, but take no shit,” Andrea believes that everyone deserves a fair shot at happiness. She brings her advocacy, desire to connect with clients on a personal level, and 10 years in digital marketing to help women pursue their dreams and define their own success.In building Wildernest, she’s created the lifestyle she needs to be her most full, creative self and has found the power to use her voice to help other women do the same.

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