by Carol Kruger
Many people ring in the new year with New Year’s resolutions. While personal resolutions do have mixed results—eating healthy gets pretty hard to do when the Valentine’s Day chocolate shows up—To strengthen your marketing strategy, I think each and every business owner should take a minute during the new year to banish these phrases from their marketing planning.“There are plenty of customers out there.”
Maybe. But there are also plenty of competitors out there, and you have to fight harder today for each and every customer, each and every sale. Most customers are researching and buying products and services from those companies that take the time to communicate with them; to explain why their products and services are better than their competitors. Being engaged with customers and potential customers means your company is the one they will think of when they are ready to make a purchase.“Our marketing isn’t driving traffic into our business or our website.”
If you aren’t getting customers in the door or visits to your website, I’m willing to bet your potential customers don’t really know enough about you. You need to do more than have one open house, run four newspaper ads a year, or do that one three-day paid campaign on Facebook. Consistently marketing your business throughout the year in various media using a wide variety of tactics will help you truly connect with your target audiences.“Our product/service sells itself so we don’t need marketing.”
Having a loyal customer base is amazing—congratulations! But can you really afford to ignore potential new customers? Is your business so financially secure that you really could not handle even one more customer or sale? If you are truly thinking about your business long term, I am going to hope you understand the need to keep bringing in new customers. One excellent way to do that: make sure your marketing efforts are being seen and heard by more than your current customers.“We can’t seem to reach our potential customers.”
Are you really trying to? Or are you trying to reach yourself or your customers from 10 years ago? Remember, just because you love a specific radio station or cable channel, does not mean your target audience loves it, or even knows it exists. Your customer might have very different media usage habits than you do, or even than they used to have. A decade ago you could probably run a very successful campaign targeting women 25-54 without including any social media. These days, it’s crazy if social media is not a part of that ad mix. The key here is getting to know your customers. Once you know them, you will have a much better idea of how to reach them with your marketing message.
The bottom line is that marketing is an important business investment. To make the most of that investment, you should evaluate your marketing strategy regularly, making adjustments as needed. This will help your business succeed—today, tomorrow, and a decade from now.