Small business marketing is about more than creative ideas
Often, when I first meet with a business owner, I’m asked to spontaneously provide creative ideas to solve their business problem. While I could certainly make something up on the spot, I am very against providing marketing suggestions in an initial prospect meeting.
Why, you ask? Because marketing isn’t just about creativity. Being creative is very important, but creativity without an integrated marketing strategy is like a medical diagnosis without an exam. Your CPA wouldn’t prepare your taxes without reviewing your financial situation. Your financial planner wouldn’t begin investing without understanding your sources of income and your goals. You plumber wouldn’t start ripping apart your sink without looking to see if the problem is actually in, around, or under that sink.
Marketing ideas should be developed after research and strategic planning, but often they are not. As a creative person, I am naturally disposed to generating ideas easily. And of course I want to share them. But I try to be smarter than that, and as a small business owner you should be smarter than that too. Remember that random creative ideas are just that – random. Smart, effective marketing ideas are researched and planned creatively.
Be sure you think about how you can measure incremental progress towards your goal. Let’s say you have a consulting business. Your goal is to get a prospect to fill out a contact form on your website or to call you so that you can meet with them and write a contract for your services. However, most people do 8 - 12 searches and visit your website multiple times before they are willing to tell you who they are. Think about it. What do you do when a salesperson asks if she can help you? You say you’re “just looking.” Your prospects are the same way. Let them move themselves down the sales funnel by writing a blog, offering checklists or whitepapers, or giving them videos to watch. Then, be sure to measure activity on those parts of your website to know if you’re attracting prospects and providing content they want. Your Google Analytics can help you with that.
Wondering how to develop marketing ideas for your small business? Learn how to write a business plan for your small business, then get started combining your creativity with strategy! You’ll be far more likely to succeed!