As business owners, you oftentimes have plenty of great marketing ideas but not enough time to develop and execute them to their full potential. It can be a constant juggle between the demands of operating your business, as well as launching and tracking the success of your marketing strategy. Though, when approached with a critical eye and perseverance to get it right, marketing can be handled simply while simultaneously running your business. Here are some marketing tactics to keep in mind that will help you drive long-term brand growth.
Market early, but don’t jump the gun
In the rush to get to the customer before the competition, many tend to push out the message before it is truly ready. The most effective marketing campaign is launched at the correct time. When it’s rushed or delayed unnecessarily, you automatically lose authenticity and threaten public perception of your brand. That’s why tracking and reporting is a must in order to strengthen the future of your business.
Looking at past campaigns; when they were launched and the results you saw will indicate how it will be received in the future, allowing you to adjust accordingly. If no data was captured in the past, start tracking immediately. Intuitively, one knows it’s time to market their services when they notice the department stores pushing the type of product used for their service and/or when their competitors are actively marketing.
Try different messages and track results
I recommend conducting A/B testing of a marketing initiative – trying two messages at once and tracking which is working better. Alternatively, try sending the same message out at different times and recording which time was more effective. Simplify the tracking process by asking prospects how they heard of you and record their feedback. Be patient and understand that marketing is trial and error, you will eventually find the perfect time and message.
Be consistent, but open to change
With headlines and information constantly bombarding and distracting consumers, your business’s message has to cut through the barrage of noise and ads targeting any one person. Consistency helps safeguard your brand’s marketing materials from getting lost in translation. The more consistent you are, the easier it will be to set objectives and to measure the effectiveness of your messaging for each campaign. From ads to how employees are speaking to your customers, the messages must align.
At the same time, your business has to evolve. As your business changes, the messaging and the brand must reflect that. If a marketing tactic, logo or mascot becomes outdated, make the necessary changes to stay relevant. Ensure your team is on the same page with any changes to avoid confusion.
Use your numbers to encourage friendly competition
Internally, companies need to keep it fun for employees. Every business owner should strive to be a leader in the industry and set the standard for brand-building. Creating a competitive environment that is supportive but not cutthroat can add some incentive to the way your team implements marketing strategies. For example, if one of your strategies is to communicate with potential new customers door to door, then splitting your employees into two groups with clear group and personal goals will encourage friendly competition which can lead to more consultations.
When your business’s marketing efforts are measured and goals are clearly outlined, it is possible to set benchmarks for your team to strive toward. Being open with your sales numbers and regularly communicating them with your team will benefit your brand’s overall marketing efforts and create a sense of community within your workforce.
Measure, test, repeat
In order for a marketing plan to evolve it must begin with a detailed plan and be adjusted after closely monitoring the results. Over time, you will gain a better grasp of what to measure and how to determine if a particular campaign is successful, why it performed the way it did, etc. The only way to get better at evaluating is through detailed records and in-depth analysis. Try to evaluate each marketing campaign from several different angles – you might get a different story depending on how you measure it.
At Weed Man USA, for example, we developed a highly successful opt-in program for franchisees who are willing to test various marketing tactics. We like to think of it as a lawn care boot camp to test various marketing initiatives, including digital and print advertising, before they are rolled out on a larger scale. We assist in analyzing the data and encourage franchisees to compare results with one another on a weekly basis. This allows us to compare different methods, collaborate and refine our tactics until we are satisfied with the results.
At any stage, marketing plays a vital and integral role in the overall success of a business. Having been in the marketing field for one of the fastest-growing lawn care companies in North America, I’ve seen first-hand how crucial it is to constantly evaluate and tweak marketing efforts in order to increase its effectiveness. Don’t be afraid to try something new and always measure and analyze the results.
Mike Richard is the national marketing director at Turf Holdings, Inc., which is the company that owns the expansion rights for Weed Man USA.