No matter what kind of business you’re running, it’s essential that you have a marketing strategy that’s expansive, practical and effective.
Small business owners have some tough decisions to make here. If they’re new to the world of digital media marketing, creating a marketing strategy from scratch can be an intimidating task. With so many options and conflicting information available, it can hard for business owners to decide where to start.
Even if they manage to decide on where to start, actually implementing those systems properly and in conjunction with the other aspects of a successful marketing strategy is no easy feat. Marketing strategies are tough, and marketing budgets are one of the easiest places to get tripped up.
But here’s some good news. If you’re able to decide what your marketing strategy is going to be made up of and you manage to create a reasonable marketing budget, you’ll be that much closer to executing a successful marketing strategy.
For the sake of clarity and brevity, we’ll only be breaking down a balanced marketing strategy, that tackles some of the major sectors that small business owners should focus on when marketing in the world of digital media. Business owners can choose to increase or decrease the amount of attention paid to a particular sector, but this is a great guideline for anyone just getting started.
Before you start thinking about what you should or shouldn’t be investing time/money into, it’s important that you take the time to think about who this strategy is for. The most effective marketing strategies ever made were built from the ground up with a particular audience in mind. So before you spend a dime on anything marketing related, clear up time in your schedule to build buyer personas.
Remember that ambiguity is not your friend here. You want to understand as much as you can about the consumers you hope to turn into customers. How old are they? How much do they earn annually? Where else do they shop? It’s unlikely that you’ll only have one type of ideal customer, so feel free to come up with 3-4 buyer personas if you need to.
Where are you going to get this information from exactly? Fortunately, you’re not the first business owner to want a better understanding of their audience. There are a variety of tools already in existence that help you conduct research on your audience. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram have business tools, which are free analytics services that provide you with everything from the general geographic location of your followers to their page likes. They even let you know which times users are most active, allowing you to revolve your marketing efforts around their schedule.
Oh, and the best part? This is all free.
You’re almost ready to put that marketing strategy into action, but first we need to set up a way for you to ‘keep score’. The world’s best marketing strategy is nothing without feedback. If you’re serious about building an effective marketing strategy, you’ll need to keep track of the metrics associated with it.
To be fair, your social media platforms will likely have some of this built-in already. Still, with the right tools at your disposal, you’ll have a much clearer image of what’s happening within your marketing strategy.
Consider a tool like Iconosquare for in-depth data. If you’re trying to keep track of Instagram analytics, nothing’s going to be better. Aside from having access to advanced analytics, you’ll gain a better understanding of effective Instagram marketing tactics. For $9/month, that’s not a bad deal.
Metrics might seem like the least exciting aspect of this process, but rest assured that nothing is more exciting than watching your marketing efforts succeed because of concrete data.
Social Media Management
Now, we need to incorporate social media managers into the mix. If you’re new to this process, they can make a massive difference when it comes to executing a marketing strategy well. Not only do they save small business owners plenty of time, they can also keep your marketing efforts consistent, which is something that’s absolutely worth investing in.
Of course, all you’ll be investing is time, most likely. Tools like Buffer let you manage a single social media account per platform for free. If you’re wondering exactly why you’d need a social media manager, then consider for a moment the incredible commitment it takes to actually create, execute and stick to a long-term marketing strategy.
Posting multiple times every day, ensuring that a portion of it is fresh content, is a challenge for just about any business owner, experienced or otherwise. Take our advice: the more help you can get, the better. Especially if it’s free.
Finally, we get to the good stuff. The content you choose to promote via your marketing strategy will shape public perception of your business for years to come. Fortunately, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. Remember that there are no right or wrong experiments, only the data is going to know what worked and what didn’t, at the end of the day. Feel free to try new things (within reason), and check the metrics to see whether or not your audience responded to it.
Visually, there’s plenty that your business can do. Platforms like Snapchat and Instagram have made stories popular, which is great news for a small business with a modest marketing budget. Instead of worrying about appearing as professional as possible, you can embrace the informal nature of stories and create authentic content for your audience.
Of course, that’s just one possible strategy. You could make short videos on Instagram, create infographics for Facebook, link to blog posts on Twitter. There are only two limits here: your imagination and what the data says about each post’s performance.
The most awe-inspiring content won’t do anything for your business if it isn’t being consumed. Creating great content is important, but getting that content in front of people on a consistent basis is just as important.
If you’re wondering whether or not ‘guess-and-check’ is a theme for marketing strategies, the answer is yes. Advertising is no exception. There are few definitive places that most small business owners should be investing in paid ads. Facebook and Instagram ads have shown strong ROI, and until that changes, a good portion of your budget should be dedicated to those two.
Where does the guess-and-check component come in? Well, your audience might be more opening to conversions on Facebook than Instagram (or vice versa). The key is to test for a set amount of time, consider the data you collect and make a decision based on that afterward.
Your business marketing budget doesn’t have to be insanely complex or pricey. You could do all of this with less than $100 dollars. All it takes is thoughtful execution and dedication to minor improvements over time.