September always has that back to school feeling and a sense of new beginnings. As we return from our summer adventures, refreshed, it feels like the right time to re-focus on our small businesses with renewed energy. This year with the media talking about the impact of an economic downturn it feels like now, more than ever we should take the time to reset your marketing strategy and keep our small businesses front of mind with our customers.
With this in mind, we wanted to share five steps to help you to reset your marketing strategy this autumn. Regardless of what sector you are working in whether you are a leadership coach, an interior designer, cafe, farm shop or charity, some challenges will be similar. Whatever your marketing challenge, whether that is to source more clients, review your brand messaging, increase your content engagement or outsource your marketing, now feels like the right time to refresh your approach. It can sometimes be hard when you work for yourself to consider a fresh approach, which is where it can help to have someone to brainstorm ideas with. In our blog this month we wanted to provide that virtual brainstorm, so here goes:
1. Be clear on what you wish to achieve
I know we talk about setting our goals and a direction quite lot and at the risk of sounding like a broken record, it really is the starting point of any marketing strategy. We often start by considering our vision – where do we want our small business to be in one, three or five year’s time. With some clarity on this we then look at the steps we need to start taking over the next 12-months to achieve this and define our SMART (Specific, Measured, Achievable, Relevant and Timed) objectives. Noting that different people work in different ways with some being more visual than others we also talked earlier in the year about visualising this or using key words to guide us, read more on that here. And so for the brainstorm bit, questions you might ask yourself:
Q – What is working well at the moment?
Q – What is your most profitable product or service?
Q – If you had your Harry Potter wand to hand, so there were no limits to what you could do, what would you stop, start or continue doing?
2. Find a new audience
Once we know where we wish to achieve, finding and connecting with an audience that are looking for the product or service we provide, is really important. You cannot be everything to everyone. Taking some time to identify this audience and what their pain points are, in particular is key. Once we have this insight we can start to provide a product or service that solves these challenges. If you would like some help on this read one of our articles on this, here. It might be that at this stage we need to respond to economic factors and review the proposition we take to our customers. Questions to consider:
Q – What is the key pain point you solve right now for your customers?
Q – What else can you discover about your audience?
3. Refresh your content
Keeping an eye on what content your audience resonates with is important, simply do more of the posts that your audience engages with and fewer of those that they do not. We always need to strike a balance between personal, information sharing and engaging posts vs sales focused messaging, the 80:20 rule is a good place to start. For example, it is likely pictures of a cute puppy are more likely to get engagement than a business focused sales message. September is the perfect time of year to review the messaging and your plan for the rest of 2023. Identify what needs to change, respond to trends in your sector and see if you can shake up the balance of media used. Questions to consider:
Q – What content will you focus on each month?
Q – We all know that short video is an increasing trend – how can this be brought into the mix?
Q – Spend some time researching on social media, what kind of posts to you like and why? Mirror and adapt this for your business if you can.
4. Get Out More
There are many types of media which can help you to connect with our ideal client and put your small business in front of mind. The marketing activity foundations include: a website, SEO, a regular blog, social media and email marketing. Once you have these working smoothly together, it is definitely time to start to expand your reach, by how much will depend upon your budge. This can be achieved both in person through visiting new network groups or online, perhaps in social media groups, partnerships with colleagues, updating your Google My Business Profile or investing in local media. Questions to consider:
Q – Are your marketing channels working together?
Q – What one extra piece of marketing could you focus on in September which might expand your reach?
Q – Have you updated your Google My Business Profile lately? If not, it is definitely worth taking some time to do so.
5. Prioritise your current clients
Customer retention is often an area of customer centric marketing which is overlooked. Not only does it make financial sense to focus on your existing customers but also builds on providing excellent customer service. By carefully planning out the customer journey it will help you to identify areas where you can improve your service. Questions to consider:
Q – What is your customer journey?
Q – Can you improve your customer journey?
Q – How else can you better support your clients?
Hopefully, the above provides you with some things to consider as you reset your marketing strategy this autumn. If you would like further support help we have been working on expanding our proposition to now create a suit of options to suit all business needs and budgets. We are delighted this month to be launching our Marketing Spotlight Programme, which is a very focused review of marketing actions over the next 3-months, identifying what immediate actions need to be taken. To learn more about this and our other marketing options to help reset your marketing strategy this autumn, please get in touch.