Businesses are ready to drive sales, particularly after a period in where cashflow was slow.
A way to ensure your business goals are met is to document your priorities, objectives and initiatives in a marketing plan.
A great way to start your marketing plan is by mapping your customer journey. This is a visual representation of every touch point your customer experiences with your business – from visiting your web site or store, to submitting an inquiry and using your products or services.
Think through each step and articulate the experience customers have at each touch point, identifying any existing and potential pain points they may have and opportunities to address these. This will help you improve customer experience, differentiate yourself from competitors and create loyalty.
“Revise your marketing plan twice a year and adjust your priorities and goals where necessary”
Delivering bang for buck
When it comes to tactics, ‘re-marketing’ has gained pace in recent years as a cost-effective way to reach your potential customers and convert sales. Remarketing involves targeting customers who have visited your online store or web site, but who may not have yet bought from your business. They may have abandoned their shopping cart or failed to submit an inquiry for a host of reasons.
When this happens, you can remarket to web site visitors with digital ads while they are browsing other sites. This reminds them about your business and invites them to pick up from where they left off.
The audience is already engaged, knows about your business and is looking for your products and services. This can be a cost-effective tactic as the approach focuses on a small, targeted audience. Remarketing ads can be configured on the Google Ads platform – the largest platform for display and search ads.
Building positive customer reviews is another important strategy. This is about social proof – people validating your business so others trust it. Explore every opportunity to incorporate this process into your customer service to increase the number of reviews about your business online.
For instance, an online store can ask for reviews by sending a follow up email after an order is delivered. Alternatively, bricks-and-mortar stores can display a counter card at check-in and restaurants can add a note to customers’ bills.
It’s also an idea to provide a small reward to incentivise customers to review your business. For instance, coffee shops can offer a free coffee after a meal or a small discount for a subsequent visit for patrons who leave a review online. But, when seeking reviews, ensure you have a procedure to deal with negative comments.
Failure to plan, not having clarity around business goals and not prioritising marketing initiatives are some of the most common mistakes small businesses make when it comes to marketing.
Here are some tips to avoid these mistakes:
- Have a plan: ensure your marketing strategies and executions are clearly documented – the best way is to start simple. Involve your team in your marketing planning and share responsibilities. They may have great ideas about strategies that will really resonate with the customer base. Make it fun and celebrate achievements together.
- Set clear goals: a great way to test if your goals are achievable is to define them according to the SMART model – make them specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. Having SMART goals ensures you and your team remain motivated, in control and focused on what matters.
- Develop marketing priorities: these should be aligned to your overall business priorities – whether that is to increase sales, increase profits, increase market share or improve customer experience. Marketing goes hand in hand with all other teams or functions within a business, so a consultative approach will pay off.
Also remember a marketing plan is a dynamic document – it isn’t set and forget. Revise your marketing plan twice a year and adjust your priorities and goals where necessary to account for the speed at which your business is growing any new market entrants or product launches.