Are You Running Before You Can Walk?
I’ve spoken with many businesses who have told me they’ve tried to build sales and they’ve done loads of lead generation campaigns, but nothing is working for them. They say they can’t understand why. I’ll take a thirty second look at their website or social media channels and I’ll realise immediately. They’re missing the fundamental part of any marketing activity: laying the foundations.
In my marketing book I say marketing is like building a house. If you go straight in for the roof or windows, they’re just going to fall down. You need a strong foundation and then you need to build it up section by section if you want it to be robust and hold. How are your customers ever going to trust and build a relationship with you if they can’t find out the basics, you don’t have a clear brand and your messages are inconsistent?
I know that when a business spends money on marketing it needs a return on investment, and normally pretty quickly. Especially if it’s a small business and cashflow is tight. But sadly there simply isn’t a way to cheat the system. However, by doing it right and getting everything in line, you’ll not only be far more likely to get results, but they will be bigger and better results in the long term. Throwing stuff at the wall and seeing if it sticks will get you some traction, but it will be ad hoc at best and not likely to last. You need to lay that foundation if you want to build a robust business.
So wherever you’re at in your marketing journey, these are my top five recommendations of what every business should have. You should never start any other marketing work until these bits are sorted.
1. Targeting – you need to know what your business actually does and who you’re targeting. If you were selling shoes, just deciding to sell shoes isn’t anywhere near enough. It’s too vague. You need to focus in on who you’re selling them to, for what occasion, in what price range, are they fashionable, practical, comfortable? For any business, make the key decisions up front and make sure that you relay these clearly to your target audience
2. Logo and brand colours – make sure you use your logo and brand colours consistently and that wherever your brand is mentioned it looks and feels the same
3. Main message – having a key message is so important in marketing as it helps people catch on to who you are and what you do. It could be a strapline or just a short message that you repeat
4. Boilerplate copy – have you ever developed some basic copy that introduces your company? If you haven’t then get this written asap. It should be the introduction to your company and should be the piece of content that you repeat everywhere, maybe 100-300 words. Don’t say one thing on your website, another across social media channels, another on that networking site, another in your brochures and so on. I see this all the time, with different descriptions for the same business everywhere. It’s confusing for an audience and will make it much harder for people to relate to you. Get that consistent flow
5. Website – have you got a website? Does it represent you well enough? Have you asked someone else to look at it and test it out for you? How often do you check all the links are working, and was it thoroughly proof read? Also did you worry about the look, liaise with a graphic designer, and then throw together the words yourself at the last minute? These are common mistakes that people make that are very easy to rectify. Sorting these small things out can make you look far more professional
If you’d like any help with getting the basics in line in your business, contact us at Lindsay Woodward Marketing.