I know your secret… You don’t have a marketing department, and you’re kind of embarrassed about it.
It’s okay, I promise. You’re not alone. In fact, there are more businesses than you can imagine that don’t have a marketing department. These include businesses that employ as few as five people and companies with more than 500. And it’s not necessarily because they don’t want to have a marketing team. It’s simply a result of not having the resources to put one in place, not realizing the need, or more commonly, not realizing the opportunities you’re missing.
If you don’t have a marketing department you may be suffering from the following symptoms:
● Stress-induced heartburn as a result of low ROI and guessing-game marketing
● Lack of sleep due to stagnant sales and an empty sales funnel.
● Heart palpitations resulting from disengaged customers and dissatisfied employees.
And while I wholeheartedly believe in the importance of marketing departments, it is not a feasible option for some businesses. Thankfully, it’s not the only solution.
If you are intentional with your planning and select a few things to excel at, you can make some powerful progress. After all, that’s why I started my business. I saw that there were so many businesses that didn’t have a marketing department and still needed a way to communicate with their customers. My goal was to provide guidance for these businesses so they wouldn’t have to miss out on powerful customer relationships and to make sure that they told people their story! I don’t want the lack of a marketing department to discourage any business owner from being intentional with their communication efforts and their content creation strategies, especially yours!
Most of my clients do not have a marketing department. Do you know what they get discouraged by the most? Not knowing where to start! I want to solve the mystery of how to get started with your marketing strategy without a stellar marketing department. There are a lot of opportunities for you to represent your business professionally, and more importantly, provide value to your customers!
Here are a few questions to get you on the right track when it comes to marketing and communicating with your customers - no marketing department needed!
1. If you were to select one marketing goal what would it be?
I want you to get incredibly specific. In the past, I have worked for businesses that struggled with pinpointing their identity. They wanted to stay shiny and exciting, but that caused them to dilute their value and quality. They were always chasing the next big thing and changing their goals.
When it comes to your marketing strategy, you need to know with certainty who you are and what your marketing goal is. Your goal needs to be clear, concise, and focused. You may want to accomplish a dozen things, but you need to focus on one key area first. Once you’ve mastered that, we can move on to the next goal.
Here are some ideas:
- Grow email list by 10% every quarter
- Increase website views by 5% every month
- Obtain 15% more consultation requests every quarter
2. Who is your true target audience?
Identifying your target audience can be surprisingly difficult. If you’re anything like me, you want everyone to be a potential customer. (Who wouldn't?!) But when you are completely honest, you will realize not everyone needs you.
Ask yourself, who will benefit most from your services or your product? Who can you provide real value to? (Even without selling them anything?) If you could choose your ideal client to work with, who would they be? Outline your target audience and make sure your goals and action plans align with their needs, wants, and attributes. Go as far as thinking about their gender, age, location, daily routines, etc. The more detail, the better.
Remember, if you don’t know who your audience is, how will you communicate with them in a meaningful way? And more specifically, how will you meet their needs? By funneling all of your energy into engaging your target audience, you will avoid speaking in generalities and be able to actually make connections. (For more information on getting personal in business, check out this blog!)
3. What kind of content can you successfully create that your
customers will beg for?
There are two parts to this question. First, what kind of content can you create that is stellar? – Meaning, you have something important to say that your customers truly care about and you can produce it really well. Are you a skilled writer? Are you great in front of the camera? Whatever form of content you prefer, you need to provide it in a high-quality format. Be certain that you’re adding something to the conversation and are producing on a regular basis - daily, weekly, or monthly. And if you can’t do it yourself, you need to contract it out to someone who can.
Secondly, what platform or medium of content/communication resonates with your audience? Are they online? Do they love blogs? Do they only watch videos? Do they prefer hand-written letters? Whatever it is, make sure you understand it and can communicate with them in that way.
There is no point creating the best content/marketing campaigns if you are not going to reach your ideal audience. You want your content to be appealing and easy to access, so that your customers are begging you for it.
4. Who will be responsible for curating ideas and creating
There has been a shift in marketing - we aren’t just supposed to talk about our products and services anymore. We are expected to provide real value to our customers. We need to make a positive difference in their lives. To do that, we need to have fresh ideas and authentic and engaging content. Who on your team can do that? Is it you? Is it an intern? Is it your right-hand lady? Whoever it is, be sure that they understand the fundamentals of proper communication (correct spelling/grammar, an authentic voice, compelling emotion, logical arguments, etc.) and that they understand your business goals and your target audience.
You may need to share these responsibilities. It may take some time, but you will get into a rhythm. -- A content calendar can make a world of difference here. **Of course, if you don’t have enough people/time to manage this, we know some good content marketing consultants we can hook you up with! ;)
5. How will you measure and adjust as you move forward?
One of the biggest mistakes in marketing (whether you have a department or not) is dropping the ball when it comes to tracking your metrics and adjusting as needed.
How will you know if your tactics are working if you aren’t measuring and assessing progress? Be certain to have the proper tools, like Google Analytics, in place to check and see if your methods are working. Understand, however, that when it comes to communication and marketing, it takes time to build awareness and to create a following. Give it time, but be honest enough with yourself to know when to make a change.
If your goals/strategies heavily involve your website analytics, this is a perfect time to hire an analytics expert to make sure everything is functioning smoothly.
6. How will you consistently exceed expectations and impress
In today’s world, we have a ridiculous amount of competition. Anyone can duplicate exactly what you are selling. How are you going to consistently satisfy and delight your customers? Maybe it is as simple as being genuine and having meaningful conversations with your clients off the clock. Maybe it is providing free webinars and fantastic video tutorials that inspire them and remind them why they love you. Or maybe it’s simply sending a handwritten thank you note.
I think the beauty of small business is that as owners, we are in control of how our business supports our customers and interacts with our communities. We can step out of the box and do spectacular things. I get the most excited about my business when my customers express genuine happiness and enthusiasm for what I’m doing. My heart does little pitter-patters when I hear someone say “I’ve heard so many good things about you!” How awesome to think that we can add a bit of positivity to our customers lives by doing a little something extra that makes their lives simpler and brighter.
So maybe you don’t have a marketing department, but that’s okay. I am confident you can make a positive impact on your customers’ lives and the industry in which you serve. And think twice before you cough up the big bucks for the next big marketing machine or tool. You don’t need to be super high tech to be successful. All you need is a little forethought, a clear plan, a bit of elbow grease, and a healthy dose of follow through. (And of course, quality content!)
Remember to tell your story and to focus on one goal at a time. Ask for help and always, always, listen to the needs and desires of your customers.