Article by Jane Tweedy, Business Advisor, Western Sydney Business Centre

Sometimes when I’m talking to people about their marketing, I ask if they’ve tried an idea and their response is ‘I’ve tried that, it doesn’t work’. However, often they’ve tried it once and because it was unsuccessful, deemed it the wrong tactic. Often this is far from the truth. It’s because the execution of the tactic was wrong. How do we determine if it was the wrong tactic, or the wrong execution?

Before starting anything, we need to be prepared. We don’t make a cake without checking we have the right ingredients to make it. We need to treat our marketing and business activities like this. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of choices of tactics to market our business. What you do and who you service has an impact on the best activity or tactic for you. For instance, if you are targeting corporate procurement managers, the best social media channel to use will be LinkedIn, because we can target procurement managers directly.

Stage of the marketing funnel
Understanding where we are on our marketing journey will help us to choose the right tactics. For instance if we’re a new business, we’re at the reach stage of the marketing funnel (Reach – Act – Convert – Engage). We want to let all our ideal clients know we exist. If we’re an established business with great client connections, we may be focused on the engage and retain clients part of the funnel.

Preparing in advance
First consider the flow on effect of generating the lead. If we are directing them to call us, do we have the capacity to answer the phone? If directed to a website, is the website page the right one, is it customer friendly and ready to go once they’re directed there? Too often this is why the execution is poor – the place where the leads are directed isn’t customer ready. A website that looks sloppy and means nothing to the client, will waste any good traffic from the lead.

Marketing isn’t easy. You need to give it a lot of thought and that’s where people fail, because they try the spray and pray approach. Chuck an ad out everywhere and hope that someone takes notice. This is an ineffective method and is not recommended.

Measuring success
If we can’t monitor the activity, then we can’t work out where it went wrong. For instance, if I set a goal to sell 100 widgets in the month, then doing nothing I’ll probably fail if I’m currently selling zero widgets. I need to add in the marketing strategy or actions to achieve the goal of selling 100 widgets. Do I need to post x social media adverts? Do I need to adjust my website? Do I need to make phone calls or go to networking groups?
So before starting, we must plan how we will attract leads and make preparations for those actions. For instance, find suitable networking groups or Facebook groups to put our posts on. Over the course of the month we need to record whether we did those actions or not. When we get to the end of the month, we can assess whether our failure to get to 100 widget sales was because we didn’t actually attend the networking groups, because we couldn’t convince them – we couldn’t convert the sale, or because they weren’t interested at all.

Many times we get the execution wrong. Only occasionally have we chosen the wrong tactic. Please check out Western Sydney Business Centre and see a Business Connect Advisor. We can help you to work out a marketing and sales plan, and how to execute it properly. Please book here now!

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Business Connect is a NSW Government funded service helping intending or existing small business owners and key staff to address any concerns with their business, and learn new skills through workshops. Please make an appointment to see one of our business advisors for up to four hours general business advice at no cost with no catches under the NSW Government Business Connect program! Please book now!