Many business owners view marketing as an opaque, more mysterious version of sales. They assume that you can hire a good marketer, put them to work, and wait for the leads to start rolling in. Unfortunately it’s not that simple, because marketing and lead generation is, in many ways, about developing good rapport between your business and your market as a whole, rather than persuading individual leads. Building a marketing strategy that does this well takes time, research, and experimentation.
Organising an effective marketing campaign is tricky, and “effective” can’t always be defined simply as generating leads. Before you launch a marketing campaign for your business, it’s important to understand the different ways you can benefit from that campaign, and what to do to get the most out of your efforts and your investment.
Design a strategy and stick to it
Marketing strategies can be as simple or as complex as you can imagine. Some small businesses get by with nothing but clever social media marketing, while others operate complex self-reinforcing strategies that integrate online tools like email marketing, social media, SEO, webinars, and PPC ads with traditional offline efforts like paper ads, industry conferences, and public events.
Different businesses operate in vastly different environments, and every individual business needs to determine exactly what works for them. What doesn’t work, and what businesses often tend to do, is to try to determine that by adopting a constantly changing amorphous non-strategy. This is a big mistake. Marketing rarely translates directly to immediate increases in revenue, and changing your strategy on a weekly or monthly basis can make it very difficult to definitively determine what actually had an effect and what didn’t.
Instead, it’s a good idea to work with a professional to design a campaign that targets specific metrics such as web traffic, callbacks, clicks, and conversions in a controlled manner. That way you can generate a relatively readable data set that you can analyse later to find patterns that relate to your marketing efforts.
Don’t rely on partial financing
Whether you’re paying a marketing firm, internal marketing staff, or a contractor, it’s important to budget funds for the entire campaign from the start. It’s a common mistake for business owners to take out only a small loan or to invest a small amount of available capital into launching their marketing efforts, without planning for the future. They simply assume that the campaign will quickly raise revenues enough to become self-sustaining. While that’s technically possible, it’s very unlikely, and can cause serious cash flow issues that can interfere with an otherwise well-designed campaign’s long-term success.
Success in terms of lead generation is difficult to guarantee in any campaign, because so many different factors play a role in determining what will work for any given business. It’s often not going to be clear what social media platforms, which keywords, what kind of content, and what kinds of ads are going to be effective until you engage in some empirical research. In many ways, a regular marketing campaign doubles as market research, and needs to be funded on the assumption that it’ll take time to develop an effective customised approach.
Before launching your campaign, talk with your financial representative about what your options are and determine the best way to move forward, whether that’s with a business loan to cover the entire project, or a financial contingency plan in the form of a business line of credit or a standby finance facility.
Track results over time to gain insights
Developing a productive long-term marketing strategy takes time, and often means analysing prior campaigns and making improvements. A few questions to ask might be:
● What kind of content gets the most shares on social media?
● Which social media platforms are referring the most traffic?
● When did web traffic spike significantly, and was it related to any marketing efforts?
● Are any keyword rankings improving?
● Are those improved rankings resulting in increased traffic?
● What kinds of emails are most effective, and which result in people requesting to be removed from your email list?
Answering these and other related questions can help you isolate which specific efforts are most effective, and which aren’t worth continuing. Additionally, it can help you gain insights about your target market that can make it easier to develop new approaches that are more likely to be successful. After going through this process a few times, you’ll be able to generate the kind of return on investment that you need to grow your business in the long term.
Getting your marketing campaign organised properly from the start ensures that you’ll be able to execute it properly as planned. Doing that, in turn, ensures that you’ll be able to receive a valuable return on your investment, whether that’s in satisfying the end goal of generating leads, or in providing critical insights that can be applied to improving future efforts.