Don’t let marketing slide to the bottom of the priority list – Resolution Design
Small business owners are wearing many hats. As if being the CEO or MD is not enough, owners often need to tap into finance, HR, IT, sales and of course marketing, to ensure their business operates effectively.
But with an increased workload, owners can spread themselves too thinly and important ingredients of how to run the marketing can be overlooked, says Richard Jaggs of Resolution Design.
Read on below for Richard’s advice on how to prioritise your marketing strategy when you are also performing multiple roles within your company.
1. Have a plan
The saying, ‘fail to plan, plan to fail’ is certainly true for marketing. It is essential to create a marketing plan, including identifying your target audience, the channels you plan to use and the regular activities you need to perform.
In addition to regular activities, you need to plan for key events that are important to your region, industry or sector. Are there exhibitions or events you should attend? Can you organise sales promotions at particular times? How should you use social media content to highlight your services throughout the year?
Having a plan and sticking to it will keep you on track with overall business objectives, and it should include information about what you want to achieve. For example, do you want to increase traffic to your website or generate sales leads?
2. Allocate plenty of time
Marketing is not something you can do at the last minute, especially if you have a launch date in mind or want to capitalise on a particular time of year. Review your marketing plan, create timelines for key activity and ensure that all stakeholders are managed and briefed.
For instance, if you need a leaflet or a brochure detailing your services you need to have a designer create the artwork, and speak to printers about their lead times for producing the content. Do not underestimate how much time the design process can take, and you do not want it to look rushed.
3. Assign a budget
Marketing budgets are often the first ones to be restricted when things are tight, but this is where financial investment is most needed to ensure your business keeps at the forefront of your customer’s minds. Good marketing ideas do not need to cost the earth, and with social media platforms at your fingertips, plenty of high-quality content will help to get you noticed. However, if you want to grow, then spending where necessary is crucial. Remember though, quality not quantity, it’s better to do a few projects well rather than overloading yourselves.
Not quite sure how much to allocate to your marketing budget? As a general rule business-to-business companies should invest between two per cent and five per cent of their revenue in marketing. For business-to-consumer companies, the proportion is often higher—between five per cent and 10 per cent. Ambitious businesses will continually invest at a higher rate still, between 10 per cent and 20 per cent of their revenue.
4. Get a good website first
For most businesses a good website is vital, all marketing roads will quickly lead there, so make sure it looks the part before you make any significant investment in your marketing.
You will need to establish your ‘drumbeat’ marketing, the essential marketing to support your website and gain credibility, for example, up-to-date blogs, regular e-newsletters and regular activity on your social media accounts. Once these activities are established, you can begin to layer other marketing activities such as PR, sponsorship, events, pay-per-click, SEO and advertising.
Richard Jaggs is managing director of Resolution Design, a design & marketing agency based in Devizes, Wiltshire, providing integrated marketing for small businesses and SMEs.