Business owners and leaders have a mammoth task to spin many plates, wear many hats, and be many people. This article will help you get to grips with your marketing efforts. Streamlining and improving your marketing means you can spend less time drafting marketing plans, campaigns and assets, and more time executing activity, sharing your message, running your own business and getting more customers.
Time management is a struggle of business owners across the world. There are simply not enough hours in the day. A survey from Endurance.com showed 34% of the small business owners working from home who were surveyed noted their biggest challenge to be attracting new customers. A further 41% said time management was the biggest challenge they faced. 75% of business owners surveyed could hugely relieve their number 1 stress by improving and streamlining their marketing.
In today’s climate especially, business owners are burdened with even more than before. Nettl is a global network of local web, print and sign studios. Nettl teams help their clients get more customers through design and marketing. Our first-hand insight into every different industry and in-depth experience in web, print and signs enables us to share advice with our clients and partners and act as their support system. Everyday, we chat with our clients who struggle to manage the finances, people, operations and marketing of their business.Let’s help you strike one of those off the list today.
1. Consistent branding and message
In order to create both consistent and authentic marketing, you need to understand why you exist and what your message is. Draw an avatar of your ideal client. Ask employees, suppliers, friends and family who they believe you help, as a business. Brainstorm the problems that you solve for clients. When you get to grips with why you exist as a business, review your current branding and marketing. Do they match up? Get in touch with a local Nettl studio for a coffee and a free marketing and branding consultation. They will brainstorm this with you, bringing their design and marketing experience to the table. Once you have your branding nailed down, take a look at the message you’re sharing.
1.1 Consultative vs Transactional
Transactional marketing focuses on the what; what your product is and what the cost is. Consultative marketing focuses on the why. Why someone would use your products and how it would improve their lives.
Consultative marketing is the route we prefer to take in our own marketing. Each month, we share a topical, thematic marketing campaign to help our clients Prevent and Protect or Go Outside or even Say Thanks. Each campaign is centred around a main purpose. To ensure your staff and clients feel safe coming back to work after lockdown. Or promoting your business outdoors at festivals and fetes. Or simply reasons to say thanks to clients and suppliers and how to do so to build loyalty and trust. Many of these come with special offers on the products or services that enable you as a business owner to succeed in the goal, but the wealth is in the advice. When planning your marketing campaign, always remind yourself to focus on who you’re helping and how.
You’ve identified your purpose as a business. You’ve worked with your local Nettl to create a brand identity. You’ve discussed with your employees, friends and family how your business makes a difference. Now, ensure every part of that message revolves around the values you hold most important. Your marketing is only as good as the intent behind it and values are a brilliant way to align your meaning with your message. Note the values that are central to your operations and, when brainstorming your next marketing plan, ensure you’ve compared the two and your values are present and true. This leads to more authentic and effective marketing.
1.3 Voice – audience
Who are you hoping to speak to with this marketing? Well, have you written it in their native tongue? When we create websites or design marketing, we often explain to our clients that their customers might speak very differently to them. As experts in your field it can be easy to fall victim to jargon or assume your audience understands more about your industry than they do. Plan for your marketing to be best received by your ideal client by writing as though you’re saying it straight to them!
2. Monthly review and plan
The biggest struggle our studios and clients have to tackle when it comes to improving and streamlining their marketing is creating marketing plans. Impromptu marketing can be time-consuming and costly. Our marketing team plans one primary, monthly campaign. To achieve a blended marketing mix, they create a mailer, html email, social media assets and a support document for making calls. Each is thematic with topics and sample questions to better understand our clients and how we can help. These free marketing assets are available to our Nettl partners, helping save so much time as a business owner.
Each monthly marketing campaign is inherently consultative. The whole point is to resolve the pain and struggles of our clients. Organise a free marketing consultation with your local Nettl team to plot your next quarter of marketing campaigns. And remember, the most important aspect of creating successful marketing is planning, reviewing and adjusting.
2.1 Plot the time, schedule the activity and forget about it
Once you’ve identified two to three main marketing campaigns for the month, split each into stages. Does your marketing campaign include a printed mailer; postcard, leaflet, bookmark, scratch card? After receiving your printed piece, does your client base receive a HTML email linking to a blog to share insight and further explain how to solve the problem you can help with? Perhaps having sent your mailer and email, it’s time to pick up the phone or organise meetings with clients. Find out how they are, learn more about them and see how you can help.
But wait… remember we’ve already said you’re running your own business… so how do you prioritise this in the midst of finance reviews, product plans, KPI planning and managing teams? The simple solution to almost all of life’s problems – A Schedule.
Did you know humans are incapable of multitasking? Hate to break it to you, but you’re not multitasking; your poor brain is gruellingly jumping from one task to another at high speed. What an inefficient use of your energy?!
Our Nettl studios create perfect week timetables for their teams in which they plot their must dos each week at a dedicated time and on a daily basis fill in their to dos. This simple, free and scalable project management tool means you can decide the time and day you’re doing your calls. Spend 30-60 minutes actively engaged in this marketing and sales outreach and once that time slot is completed, forget about that until the next time it’s scheduled in. Free up your brain space.
3. Campaigns and themes
Success is found when you’re working like a well-oiled machine. By spending an hour at the beginning of your month, planning your two to three marketing campaigns and the themes of each, you set yourself off to a flying start to getting more customers! Depending on your industry and business type, your marketing campaigns could span from Lost & Dormant campaigns to Referral marketing, from New Enquiries in the local area to Informing clients of a product offering. The themes of your campaigns need to incorporate your brand, voice and values. Make them topical and engaging!
Core campaigns like Referral marketing or Lost and Dormant Campaigns can be timeless and ongoing. We like to intertwine those with one or two timely, relevant marketing campaigns. Creating a covid-secure workplace, for instance, is something our clients are seeking help with right now. We’ve created a marketing campaign around that so they don’t have to work as hard to understand what they need to reopen and drive their business further right now.
Many of our clients have monthly meetings with their Nettl team to plan this ahead of time so that their Nettl team can design and produce the assets needed for the following month’s campaign in advance.
3.1 Consultative vs Transactional
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, do yourself a favour and remove the ‘What does the product do?’ narrative and replace it with ‘How can it help you?’ when planning these campaigns and themes!
3.2 Blended approach – print, signs, email, video, social and calls
Which do you think would be more effective in driving enquiries and conversions; sending 1 mailer to 10,000 addresses, or sending 10 mailers to 1,000 addresses, each resolving a different problem they have? How about if your 300 potential clients received 1 mailer, 1 email and 1 call?
Building brand awareness is one thing, being vanilla is another! Mix up your marketing by getting in front of your audience in their emails, in their Google search results by climbing the ranks with SEO, through their letterbox and on the other end of the phone. Become omnipresent. In a blended way.
4. Assets and advice
We don’t need to go through marketing planning solo. We don’t have to trailblaze or go it alone. There are many supports you can avail of. Ask your network (here’s a whole article on making better use of your network). Ask experts. Seek enterprise support from local authorities. To get you started, here are 3 marketing assets and resources we’re sure you should be using!
4.1 Partnerships – accountability, growth and idea sharing
Cultivate partnerships with others in your industry or those who understand your needs. This could be joining a trade organisation or an industry partnership, like Nettl if you’re a graphics business; tapping into a global network of local experts and joining forces to use free marketing assets and resources, created with you in mind. If you’re an SME and looking for marketing support, you could call into your local Nettl studio and ask them for a coffee and a chat and begin your journey together. We’re a group of chatterboxes and nothing gets us going like solving our clients’ problems when it comes to marketing, branding and getting more customers!
4.2 Make use of marketing resources and assets – scale, growth and consistency
Next, crack open a beer and read through Nettl’s monthly blog and journal entries that are also packed with ideas and advice. Once you’ve had your fill of fluids, ask your local Nettl studio to support you in creating scalable processes so that as you take on more staff you can maintain consistency in your brand, message and activity. Do some research and find out what’s available to you.
4.3 Marketing & Social media planner
Simple assets like our monthly timetable and social media planner can take the thinking out of planning your marketing. Spend an hour at the beginning of the month scheduling a well-mixed and engaging bank of social posts. Spruce that up with sporadic posts throughout the month and top it all off by spending 15 minutes a day engaging in content, connecting, commenting and sharing.
Importance of Working on the business and in the business
As business owners and leaders, it’s of utmost importance to balance our time spent working on improving the running of the business as well as the roles we have within the business. Remember to plan your marketing and sales activity at the beginning of the quarter and month and seek advice and support from those around you.
If you’re a local business owner looking to grow your business, through branding, marketing, design, print and signs, grab a coffee with your local Nettl studio to learn more about what you can do together to get more customers.