It’s well known that many entrepreneurs often get caught up in the day-to-day running of their businesses and don’t give enough thought to marketing. You might be patting yourself on the back and congratulating yourself for not being one of those business owners because you did take the time to develop a marketing strategy when you started out. Consider, though, that your marketing needs to adapt as your business grows. If you don’t regularly re-assess and adjust your marketing messaging and activity, you may be missing out on additional business growth.
Often, entrepreneurs don’t take enough time to pinpoint their marketing message before they jump into marketing, with the result that they end up wasting money on ineffective marketing tactics that don’t accurately speak to their target market. Developing a marketing message takes time and effort, but it’s well worth it.
Once you’ve created a marketing message, it becomes the backbone of everything you do and something that you communicate across all channels. Having a well defined marketing message makes it easier to assess what marketing strategies will work for you, as well as helping to get your staff all on the same page.
Where to start
Whether you developed marketing messaging years ago that needs re-looking, or whether you’re thinking about your messaging for the first time, every now and then it’s worth asking yourself: “Is my marketing message still an accurate reflection of my business values and how I do business to” serve my customers?
The key elements that you need to consider in refining your marketing message are:
- Your target market
- Key challenges and problems facing your target market
- How your product or solution will help to solve those problems
- How your product or service is different (and better) to those of your competitors
It’s important to define your target market in order to be able to communicate with prospects effectively. Ask yourself who the people are that are most likely to buy your product or service. Think about your average customer: how old is s/he? What gender? How much money does s/he earn? Where does s/he live? What are his / her interests?
Get feedback from your customers
Once you understand who your customers are, you’ll have a much better idea of what they need, but rather than assuming you know your customers and what their greatest problems are, ask them. Develop a short survey to get information about your customers’ demographics, challenges (aka “pain points”) and preferences, which will assist you in tailoring your marketing message.
Questions might include:
- How did you hear about us?
- What made you choose to do business with us?
- Tell us about the best customer service experience you’ve ever had.
- Please tell us about one thing our team has done recently that exceeded your expectations.
- Please share with us one thing we could have done better, and your suggestions on how.
- Would you be willing to refer us? Please explain why or why not.
Collecting this type of information not only helps you to improve your offering, but also ensures you can tweak your marketing message to connect more effectively with customers and prospects.
Remember to measure
You cannot track your marketing progress unless you have an idea of your starting point. To understand what works, what doesn’t and where to spend your money wisely, you need to have marketing metrics in place. Metrics don’t have to be terrifying though. You could start with something as easy as the customer survey above, or tracking your newsletter statistics to see which information is of most interest to your readers.
You can’t improve what you’re doing to make it more effective until you understand what your current performance looks like.
Rinse and repeat
As your business grows, you need to ensure that you support its growth with relevant, consistent marketing that drives home your key messaging.
Just as you take stock of your financials every month, every quarter and every year, you also need to keep checking back on your marketing messaging. Diarise time to reflect on marketing so that it doesn’t fall by the wayside, and ensure that you regularly take stock of what is working and what needs to change.
Ensure that your marketing message is clear and well defined, and then double-check that every new communication with a customer or lead – whether it’s how your employees answer the phone or a new billboard you’re planning on erecting – reinforces that same marketing message.
Above all, remember that the best marketing skill you can develop is learning to listen to your customers. Refining your marketing message is much easier if you understand your target market and listen to what your customers need and want.
By Donna Rachelson