6 Things, Other Than Marketing, You Need to Spend on in 2018Victoria Greene
Being a marketer means constantly being in tune with the latest industry trends — but it can be easy to forget that marketing your business is not done in a vacuum.
Have you given your business a thorough audit this year? Are there elements of your business, other than marketing, that need some concentrated attention?
After all, marketing only really works when you have a compelling brand and message to put out there in the first place— or an effective business framework that means campaigns are meeting commercial targets.
Here is how you can take an integrated approach with your company strategy this year, ensuring that your marketing budget will go towards conversions, sales, and tangible business goals.
Improve your brand, improve your value proposition
First and foremost, let’s talk about branding. Now, for the uninitiated, branding may not seem much more than trying to get the snazziest, simplest, most memorable logo since Apple’s quarter eaten… apple. Spending on a reliable and innovative designer purely for your logo may seem like a good idea, but a good foundation is still just a foundation.
You need to ensure that everything from your website copy to your e-shots, from your Facebook cover photo to your Instagram profile, are alight with brand messaging. Otherwise, you run the risk of wasting marketing budget on a brand that simply isn’t a reflection of what you can actually do.
It’s easy to become ‘brand blind’, so it’s advisable to open up the conversation with your network to see how they feel about your brand. Be ready to have some difficult conversations.
- If you’re not a proficient writer, it’s important to hire people that are. Bad brand copywriting is not something you want to become famous for.
- Another great way to get your brand out there is by forming connections with influencers. They have a wide range of influence with the public, aiding with your PR targets as well. Choosing the relevant one(s) for you is all about knowing your target audience and customer demographic. So, make sure that you choose wisely and don’t risk wasted time. Be true to your brand!
- Make sure that your brand has an inherent value proposition, so that your audience can quickly and easily form an accurate picture of what you’re offering them.
Strategy & data planning
A strategy is key for anyone wanting to get ahead. It’ll guide your thought processes for the year(s) to come; laying out clear steps for you and your team to follow. It’s at the core of a healthy marketing plan, but should also take into account elements that fall outside the remit of marketing.
Data processing should be a big part of your strategy — as it’s largely insights based on facts and figures that should go into a business strategy. By all means, theorize and hypothesize, but don’t lose sight of the actual customer and market data that’s pouring in.
Writers & content creators
Generating traffic to your website is probably one of, if not the most important factor to think about when allocating your business funds. Traffic leads to the essential inquiries and sales that keep your business running.
In order to generate quality web traffic, you need a stack of high-quality, relevant online content. Not only do you want quality content that’s representative of your brand, you want it to be consistent across all your business channels (including any printed literature).
Hiring people that are both reliable and good at copywriting is the secret behind compelling content creation. Don’t try to fob it off to a junior team member, or squeeze it in yourself between dealing with customer orders. You need to invest in good writers if you want to see a return from your content efforts.
Luckily there are loads of high quality writers and content creators out there that you can contract on a freelance basis.
Outsourcing your business
Don’t be afraid to delegate! Source photographers, HR professionals, designers, developers SEOs etc who are professional and timely.
There is always going to be somebody who can do a job better than you can, so don’t shy away from leaning on expertise when it’s clearly needed.
Hiring those with more experience than yourself can benefit you two-fold. Firstly, they will undoubtedly give your business a necessary boost in quality. Secondly, you can use their expertise to expand your own knowledge whilst also saving time.
And outsourcing doesn’t stop at people. You can also outsource things like logistics via dropshipping or customer service via chatbots. Use the latest tech to help you scale your operations and, ultimately, improve your margins.
The importance of a great financial structure is sometimes underestimated in the small business world.
Having your finances handled properly is the crux of any good business. While you use your time to focus on directorial things, your accountant can deal with the monetary side of your work. This can save you both valuable time and money. A knowledgeable accountant or part-time financial director can be deep wells of high-quality advice.
You should also look into whether financial cloud apps like Receipt Bank or Quickbooks could help you save processing time. The better financial data you have, the better decisions you’ll be able to make for your business.
Travel & networking
Traveling it is a great way to increase the size of your network. Going further afield to meet a client and/or would-be business partner can help solidify rapport – showing how far you’re willing to go to connect.
Ultimately, you can’t put a price on human interaction. While emailing is efficient (and free), it’s nothing compared to the experience of physical interaction; especially if you’re planning to work together long term. Instead of your words being misconstrued, time being wasted and not being able to properly gauge your relationship – take a trip, and see how much further you get… together.
Don’t be afraid to show your face at local networking events, meetups, and conferences either. There are plenty of offline opportunities out there waiting for you.
Marketing works best when it’s part of the wider conversation concerning your business. Look to outsourcing and financial management as ways to run a more efficient business, and branding and content as ways to supercharge your sales. Don’t fall into the trap of running after vanity metrics or running your business in restrictive silos.