Marketing is increasingly becoming more complicated. Customers are being overwhelmed by new platforms, emerging trends and constant information. As an independent business owner, meeting changing demands and breaking through the noise while staying true to your business can seem like a balancing act, but it's one you can manage with the right process and plan.
1. Start with the Facts
A lot of sources want to offer you marketing advice, and it can be tempting to jump on the newest, flashiest trend. It's also appealing to keep using the same tactics because if they've been working, why would you change it? Really, a balance of these two approaches can make the most impact.
To start, ground yourself in your business's facts. This will provide a solid foundation to build a marketing program that really works. Find avenues to tap into your customers, partners and employees to get their feedback and thoughts. Don't over complicate it. At The UPS Store, we developed the Small Biz Buzz, an online community where our customers can opt in to take surveys and share feedback that we use to improve our business.
Having concrete feedback can help you understand what's working and where you could stand to improve your marketing efforts.
2. Investigate New Ideas
When you find out what's working for your business, keep your stride while looking for new ways to grow. Similarly, when you find out what's not working, investigate new ideas.
Are you reaching customers where they are? If not, it's time you start. It's estimated that 99 percent of businesses will increase their digital marketing spend by mid-2019 according to a survey by The Manifest. If you're not already doing this, it might be time to start because this is one trend that can have real results.
Are you telling customers want they want to hear with your marketing? The Economist Group found that 71 percent of buyers say they were turned off by content that seemed like a sales pitch. Creating a connection with customers by providing them something they need is the surest way to reach them. Use the insights you've gleaned to personalize your marketing materials and create an authentic connection. Testing new ideas can lead to a mistake, don't let that hold you back, access, address and then move on.
3. Measure your Progress
Perhaps the most important part of marketing is measuring and tracking your results. A recent report found that 90 percent of marketers said improving their ability to track and analyze marketing efforts is a top priority, and of course it should be! Once you've landed on the elements of your marketing program, it's critical to track performance to measure your success. This can then feed back into your process of evaluating the facts to make changes to improve your business.
4. Stick with It
Developing your marketing plan is a process, starting with research all the way through to measuring your success. Along the way, you'll see new trends emerge and customer perceptions change, but it's important to balance the changing demands in the marketplace while staying true to your business - stick with your plan. That's not to say you shouldn't make adjustments if it's necessary, you certainly should! But remember, you should be trying new things while also sticking with what works well for your business. With this in mind, you'll master the balancing act and your business will be set up for success.