We’re lucky enough to know some pretty smart ladies. Every few months we have one of those women share their expertise and take stage on the Betty blog. Today marketing whiz, Nikki Innocent, is sharing some of her tips about how to set your new year’s marketing resolutions. Be sure to check out her website for more marketing advice.
Marketing: A Fitness Resolution for your Business
With the start of a new year, resolutions fill the air. Spend less, save more, learn a new hobby, resist your vices — but the one that tops most lists is get in shape and be healthy. Why not take the same approach to your business? Build that marketing muscle to get your business’s identity, look and feel right where you want them to be. Here are 7 tips to get there:
Tip #1. Prioritize and set your top goals
Like with any resolution, you need to set your goals. For your personal health plan it might be lose 20 pounds, run a mile in under 7 minutes (a girl can dream right?), or bench press your body weight. Think along those same lines with your business goals. It could be you want to bring in 10 more clients or get your elevator pitch down to under one minute. Start by making a list of any and all goals for your business that pop into your mind, then rank all of them and begin with the top two. Focusing on two goals creates a manageable amount of work that we’ll dive into in the next few sections. Don’t you worry as you meet each of these goals, you’ll go back to this prioritized list and work your way down.
Tip #2. Drill down to find the best method and don’t be afraid to ask for a little guidance
Just like working out is a broad concept with a variety of methods (yoga, Crossfit, spinning, hiking, etc) there are a variety of approaches to marketing your business. Let’s take the goal of bringing in 10 more clients. There are so many ways to approach this goal that it feels overwhelming at first. But start to drill down a bit and ask yourself some questions:
- Do you invest in building your brand and boosting brand awareness?
- Do you organize your contact database and implement a marketing automation system for outreach?
- Do you incentivize current clients to refer new clients?
All three of these approaches can lead to bringing in new clients. For each approach you choose, ideally you’d like to have at least 2-3 marketing activities in play.
When trying to identify both the approaches and the coinciding marketing activities, sometimes you need guidance. Similar to how a personal trainer will help minimize the anxiety and confusion of entering the weight room and knowing which machine to start with, bringing in a marketing consultant can help you match the right marketing activities with the top business goals you’ve set forth.
Tip #3. Dedicate time that fits in your everyday routine and make it fun
You wouldn’t choose to go to a gym that is an hour out of your way with the realistic expectation of getting there multiple times a week, so in that same vein, pick marketing activities that fit into the flow of your everyday behaviors. If you spend the first thirty minutes of your day reading your industry news over a cup of coffee — why not take an extra minute or two to save the articles that you find yourself reacting to and jot down a few notes around what your reaction was and why. Before you know it you’ll have created content to share with your network, showcase your expert opinion and promote engagement.
Tip #4. Take risks
Not every effort is going to prove fruitful and that is all part of the process. Something I tell my clients to take some of the pressure away from “daunting” marketing efforts, is to think of it like throwing ideas on the wall to see what sticks. Inherently with that in mind, you have to be willing to try things that aren’t going to “stick” and that’s ok. Just think, if Steve Jobs gave up after Lisa or NeXT computers we’d never have everyone’s favorite accessory, the iPhone.
Tip #5. Keep track
The only way to know how far you’ve come is to measure where you were to start. Whether it’s comparing event attendance or social media followers or click through rates and pageviews, ensure you identify a metric that is important to you and your business before you start your efforts to track your progress. There are so many apps and platforms with built in reporting functionality out there (Google Analytics, Hootsuite, HubSpot) that take the weight of marketing analytics off your shoulders.
Tip #6. Be patient and willing to pivot
Building muscle mass, losing weight and, yes, fully understanding the impact of your marketing efforts takes time. As a chronically impatient person, I recommend setting check in points before you start so you don’t drive yourself up a wall endlessly refreshing your reports to watch the numbers change. It’s like hopping on the scale every night wishing and hoping for the number to change significantly from the night before. Instead, set a weekly reminder to check in on the status of your data, try to identify any trends (what’s working, who responded, what did they do/say) and see if there are slight tweaks you can make in the coming week to test out if that trend is indeed valid.
If you’ve given a particular marketing initiative sufficient time and all of your tweaks/changes don’t move the needle, it might be time to reassess and either pivot to a new marketing method to reach your goal or to target a new goal on your list. If you are in this position, again, this is where external guidance can be helpful — sometimes a fresh set of eyes can make all the difference.
Tip #7. Celebrate your successes
Last but most certainly not least, celebrate when your efforts have paid off. In business, just like in fitness, we tend to focus so intently on reaching our goal that when we reach it, we immediately set a new one to push ourselves harder. While progress is great and there’s nothing quite like success to motivate you for more, it is vital to take a moment to recognize and reward yourself and your team for the hard work you put into achieving your goal.
Then, when the celebration is complete, go back to your list and start working to achieve your next goal. I bet you’ll find that the muscles you built in the last round of marketing initiatives will make the next goal much less intimidating and your new found marketing strength will surprise you!
Guest Author, Nikki Innocent
Nikki is a marketing junkie who took the entrepreneurial leap from a decade in Corporate America to follow her passion. She founded Story & Voice, a marketing advisory firm helping brilliant business leaders grow their company’s reach and impact. Nikki is also an ambassador for the networking group, She Geeks Out, that connects a dynamic community of women from all walks of life to provide a welcoming network that encourages every woman to proudly fly her geek flag.