Does "marketing" sound like a trip to see the Wizard?
For many small business owners, artisan contractors, and professionals, marketing can feel like a magical destination where all of your wishes will be granted: more clients, more sales, more growth.
The only problem is, instead of one yellow-brick road leading the way through unknown lands, marketing is more like a tangled web of roads (with the occasional flying monkey to set you off course). Each one has a sign promising to get you to your ultimate destination.
But how can so many different directions possibly all lead to that magical place of profitability?
The reality is that "marketing" is a word that includes a myriad of different tactics.
Some may lead you to your destination, others may suck your time and money until you hit a dead-end, and others are circuitous, winding things that seem to go nowhere at all.
So how do you make marketing work for you?
Before you start running down the next road — TikTok videos, Instagram Reels, podcasts, oh my! — take a moment and document your business goals and your marketing goals.
This makes it much easier to tie those goals to a marketing tactic that will actually get you results.
What are Business Goals?
What are you trying to achieve in your business? Business goals typically fall into one of these five overarching categories:
- Financial goals
- Growth goals
- Customer goals
- Employee development goals
- Social goals
Trying to increase your earnings and profitability? That's a financial goal. Need to hire an administrative person, an assistant, or more workers? Employee goals. Want to grab more market share or expand your service area? Growth goals.
Get clear on your primary goal for the year.
Write it down.
What Are Your Marketing Goals?
Getting clarity on your marketing goals should always come before selecting a marketing tactic.
It's like deciding your destination before choosing the right road to get you there.
Investing in tactics without a documented goal is like getting on a random road to anywhere and hoping you like where you end up.
What are examples of achievable marketing goals?
According to a Hubspot State of Marketing report, the primary goals for marketing professionals include:
- brand awareness
- increasing sales
- increasing engagement
The top three goals marketers achieve through successful content marketing are:
- generating brand awareness
- building credibility and trust
- educating audiences
If you look closely at the difference between what marketers want to achieve and what they actually achieve, you'll see a small yet significant difference in the lists.
Marketers (and business owners) want more sales. Naturally.
But what marketing achieves is more awareness for their brand, credibility and trust with their audience, and a more educated audience.
Marketing can help your audience know you exist, are trustworthy, and can help educate them about solving their problems.
But "marketing" is not a magic wizard with the power to wave a wand and POOF create instant sales.
You (or your sales team) still will have some work cut out for you as you move potential clients through your sales funnel.
Marketing does create more opportunities to connect with sales-qualified leads who know who you are and trust your expertise.
Now that you have identified your business goals and marketing goals—and have a realistic expectation of what marketing can realistically do for your business—it's time to pick a tactic and head on down the road.
Tying Your Goals to Marketing Tactics that Get Results
Let's say you have a financial business goal for the year. You either want more paying clients, to increase your profit, or to take on larger projects.
What marketing goals will help you achieve that?
- Increased brand awareness could help get you in front of new clients.
- Building credibility and trust could help you close higher-paying clients.
- Educating your audience could help them see the value in add-ons that increase your profit margin.
Now you have a destination in mind: your business goal.
And you have a direction in mind: your marketing goals.
Let's find out what marketing tactics could be the most effective road to get you there.
Do you need more brand awareness?
Some marketing tactics to get you in front of potential clients include:
- SEO: optimizing your website for search terms related to your business
- Local SEO: optimizing your online directory listings and Google My Business listing to appear in the map pack
- Blogging: writing blog posts that are optimized for the search terms related to your business
- PPC: paid advertising to help people find your business or to promote your content
- Social media: spending time in the online communities where your ideal clients are
Do you need more trust and credibility?
Some marketing tactics to increase trust can include:
- Website copy: bringing your brand's values and mission statement to the forefront of your messaging
- Testimonials: sharing honest reviews from satisfied clients
- Social media: demonstrating empathy for your clients’ problems, knowledge of how to solve them, and before-after demonstrations of how you made a difference
- Podcasting & video: become a trusted resource on your topic by recording audio or video content that demonstrates your skill and expertise
- Email marketing: keep top of mind with emails that demonstrate your empathy and experience
Do you need better-educated leads?
Some marketing tactics to better educate your audience include:
- Blog and website content: provide how-to guides, comparison charts, and other informative content
- Audio & video content: podcasts and social media videos can help you educate your audience
- Emails: send a weekly tip to help create better educated, sales-ready leads
Which Tactic Should You Choose?
Unless you have a large marketing team (and budget), it may not be possible to try every marketing tactic at once.
Have fun with a tactic that feels achievable. Experiment, see what happens. Measure your results.
Ditch the tactics that don’t work out, don't feel good, or create too much stress for you and your team.
Double down on the tactics that move you further down the road toward your business goal.
There is not one single road (or tactic) that leads to marketing success. The most seasoned and successful marketing professionals and business owners know that experimentation and trying new things are key to finding what works for your business and audience. But mapping out your destination and direction is the first step to finding the right marketing roads to get you closer to success.