Contracting your marketing out to a specialised agency is always a step in the right direction for an SME. It’s an investment in the future of your business – and will undoubtedly help build your brand and drive growth.
In order to get the best value from your marketing and really maximise your ROI, SME owners need to work in partnership with their marketing agency. You have the business expertise, we’ve got the marketing nous. Working together, we can create high-impact marketing that will get results.
You know what a dashboard’s for, right? You get in the car and start driving: at a glance, the dashboard tells you everything you need to know about your journey: how fast you’re going, how much fuel you’ve got, if there’s anything wrong with the engine. It’s a real-time progress snapshot that allows you to quickly make key decisions, such as adjusting your speed or refuelling.
A marketing dashboard is essentially the same thing: it’s a quick, visual overview of how your marketing is tracking – showing what is working and what is not – presented as a simple, easy-to-read graphic. Like the dashboard on your car, your marketing dashboard gives you the information you need to make key strategic decisions to optimise performance and drive ROI as your campaign moves forward.
The ultimate aim of all marketing is to attract quality leads and drive sales for your business. To do this, you need a strategy that cuts through all the other marketing ‘noise’, makes you stand out from your competitors, and ensures that your target market think of you first when making purchasing decisions.
While a single, brilliant campaign may get the phone ringing for a short while, as soon as the campaign ends, you’ll be forgotten and sales will fall again. When it comes to marketing, there’s no quick ‘magic bullet’. There is, however, a way to ‘bulletproof’ your strategy for great results: create a campaign that builds and maintains momentum. Over time, this provides more stability in your marketing funnel with less ups and downs, generating consistent results and keeping that phone ringing.
Would you try to drive a car with only half an engine? It wouldn’t get you very far. So why drive your marketing until the engine’s fully built?
Every marketing activity needs an engine: a solid framework of planning, researching and testing. Without this it simply won’t take your business where it needs to go.
Many SME owners are tempted to cut corners when it comes to marketing. There’s no time, there’s no spare cash, they’re simply impatient, or they don’t understand the value of optimising a campaign through quality researching and testing. But consider this: President Obama raised an additional $60 million using A/B Testing (source: event360). So imagine what it could do for you.
As a start-up SME, you’ve got a lot to think about: from financing and insurance to sourcing equipment and finding a premises. But you also need to prioritise marketing, because without it, you’ll be missing the key ingredient: customers.
At this early stage of the game, when your cash flow is likely to be limited, it’s important to first focus on knowing your target market (Target Persona) and building brand awareness with them. Invest what you can in developing a strong brand and getting a bulletproof strategic marketing plan in place. Then leverage as much ‘free’ marketing as you can – online and with some good old-fashioned networking.
So if you’re starting up a new business, here’s a checklist of marketing essentials to add to your to-do list: