As a small business owner you may think that designing a comprehensive marketing strategy isn’t necessary for your business. But every company, even the smallest, should have a marketing plan. It helps you bring focus to your activities and the promotion of your business.
In this day and age it’s too easy to think that online marketing is enough. Don’t believe it. For most businesses offline tools are as important as ever. To achieve the best results you need to combine online with offline marketing.
Printed materials are core to your offline marketing portfolio. And you can use the power of the web to get the best deals from an online printing company in the UK, including the essential business cards. Some companies offer integrated online design tools, or for straight-forward jobs you can use an easy online design kit like Canva.
So, how do you know when to use online marketing and when, and what type of, offline tools? What do you need consider to get the balance right?
Know your customers
How well do you know your customers? Who are they and, critically, where do they find out about businesses like yours? Do some market research and find out. Do a review of current customers, elicit feedback, do a survey. Or just ask customers as you chat to them.
It’s worth creating customer personas for your key customer groups. Put together a picture, including their key demographics – age, gender, location, socio-economic group – and psychographics – their loves, hates and emotional connections. What makes them tick? Where do they get information? Give your personas names. Put a picture of them on the wall or on your desktop and keep them top of mind every time you create a new marketing campaign or materials.
Take an integrated approach
Even when customers don’t buy from you online, or don’t even have the option to buy from you online, over 85% will want to check you out before confirming a purchase. They may see your exhibition stand and pick up your brochure, but if it is a significant purchase in any way, they will want to do a bit more research. Make sure that when they do that research they find content that is managed by you and presented wonderfully.
If you have a great website and a number of social media outlets, chances are that your content will dominate the first page of search results. 90% of people browsing online don’t look beyond page one.
Set goals, measure and keep improving
Set some goals or ‘key performance indicators’ (KPI‘s) to track the success of your marketing plan. It should include inputs and outputs.
Inputs are the number of online and offline marketing tactics you plan to use. Offline tactics might include the number of business cards, leaflets and brochures you hand out, the number of exhibitions you demonstrate at etc. Online tactics may include website visits, social media followers and views.
Outputs are goals for how those inputs translate into sales.
Review your KPIs regularly and have a clear eye on what works and what doesn’t. Tools like Google analytics and social media insights will automatically be able to put together data reports for you. You’ll need to set up your own system for offline tactics.
Marketing is an ongoing learning process. It’s both art and science. Keep listening to customers and paying attention to their feedback. And manage and review the cold, hard data you get from online marketing and your offline system. Invest more in marketing tactics that are successfully driving sales and reduce your budget where there is a more limited return. Before you know it you will have a marketing machine that drives better sales and business results.