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A Helping HandMarketing PerformanceMarketing Plan

What does good marketing look like?

By January 13, 2022No Comments

good marketing helps your small business hit the target - an image of a dart to support the articleThe ultimate role of your marketing is to generate new business opportunities for your small business. You know that as well as we do, but how do you ensure your marketing does this? What does good marketing look like? Spend the next couple of minutes with us and we’ll explain exactly what it looks like.

10 factors of good marketing

Consistency of marketing activity

Possibly one of the hardest things for small businesses to do is ensure that there is a consistent level of marketing activity (see our tips on achieving marketing consistency here). If you haven’t got any marketing staff within your team, it is even harder. Delivering for your clients is the most important thing you do, so if you’re busy, getting a consistent flow of marketing happening can be difficult.

But it is important because:

  • Marketing consistency maintains brand awareness.
  • Marketing consistency maximises the chances that your small business will be remembered when someone needs your products or services.

Helps your target audience(s)

If you sell a service, rather than a product, your marketing needs to both show you can help your target audience(s) and help them. A first read of that sentence may seem wrong, so let’s explain.

Most of the people who visit your website, or click on links in your social media posts do so because they are looking for a solution to an issue they have. A large number of them will be looking for advice and guidance. Many of them will be looking for a way to do it themselves, if they can. By providing them with some guidance, they see that you know what you are talking about and, when they run out of ability/expertise/time, they can come to you for more help.

Proves you understand your target audience(s)

Our target audience is owners of small businesses looking to improve their marketing performance. Your target audience is, almost certainly (unless you’re a competitor) different. The content we publish and the language we use is all about the marketing issues faced by small businesses. Is your marketing proving you understand your target audience?

  • Do you use the right terminology?
  • Are the images you use appropriate?
  • Are your case studies from their peers?

If you work across multiple industry sectors, be very careful about, for example, editing content on your landing pages so you make the right first impressions.

Uses the right marketing channels

Too many small businesses try, for example, to maintain activity levels on lots of social media channels – just in case someone sees something that convinces them to buy from them. Unless you have access to Jeff Bezo’s bank account (and are confident he won’t notice you dipping into it), you need to pick the marketing channels that are most likely to get your messages in front of your target audience(s). The marketing channels to reach millennial males are likely to be very different to those used to connect with middle-aged women. If your target audience is Finance Directors at the top 100 legal firms, you won’t use the same marketing activities to someone focusing on independent restaurant owners.

Good marketing will get your messages seen by the same person in multiple places, so you need to choose the right marketing channels. Don’t waste time and money on trying to be everywhere!

Delivers quality leads

Seeing lots of new contact forms from your website when you open your Outlook in the morning is great. But if most of the forms are from people who are highly unlikely to buy from you, you will waste a lot of time chasing them. If your marketing is working, it will be attracting the right leads for your business. Leads that match your ideal client definition, meaning the conversion rate will be much higher.

We did some work in 2019/20 for a company that, in their words “just wants leads”. Their previous marketing agency generated loads of leads they said – mostly from Pay per Click (PPC) advertising. The fact that none of the leads from this channel had ever converted seemed to have escaped his attention, as he wanted us to continue “generating leads”. Needless to say, we didn’t work together for long!

Maintains engagement

When someone first engages with your marketing, they may or may not be in buying mode.  If they are inbound, they are more likely to be, but not always.  If your marketing is good, it will start and then maintain engagement so that when they are ready to buy, your business will be, at least, one of the companies they talk to.

Supports the Sales team

The relationship between Sales and Marketing is often a fractious one (here’s our thoughts on how to get them working together more effectively). Marketing lines them up and Sales knocks them down – if the leads are good. You will know all the ways that the two departments can blame each other, so let’s not go there this time.

Marketing doesn’t stop at the point the lead is generated. It doesn’t stop when the sale is made either. Positive marketing continues engaging the lead/prospect/client until that person unsubscribes.

  • It attracts the lead.
  • It supports the sales process by continuing to provide compelling evidence.
  • After the first sale, it helps Sales/Account Management in the cross-sell/upsell/more-sell process.

Proves you can deliver on your promises

A powerful part of a good marketing plan is the evidence put out. Particularly if there is a high perceived risk attached to your product or service, evidence that you can deliver is critical in both generating the lead and converting the sale. Case studies, testimonials and reviews all play a role in proving to a prospect that you can be trusted to deliver.

Our guide to writing, and using, effective case studies can be seen here.

If you would like a free review of your case studies, click here.

Supports your business plan

If your business plan is to double the size of your business in the next two years, then a valuable marketing plan will show how the leads needed will be developed to generate that growth.

Our marketing spend survey (click here to take the survey) currently shows 83% of respondents don’t have a marketing plan and that their marketing “just happens that way” Nearly half of them are unhappy with their results! That is poor marketing.

Is a living document

A good marketing plan is adapted over time. You may be lucky and every marketing activity delivers a great ROI, but that is unlikely. But you should be monitoring the performance of all your marketing and adjusting as needed. If something isn’t working, reduce or stop it. If it is, put more resource into it, until things change.

Good marketing constantly works to produce better results.