Often during the early days of a business, it is up to the founding team to do everything – even the things they don’t feel qualified to do.
If your strength is in creating funky computer apps, it may be a little daunting to have to deal with the intricacies of month-end reconciliations. This, of course, is why admin support is often hired very early in a business.
Marketing can fall into this ‘daunting’ category too – and often it can slip through the cracks (paying the office manager to get the GST done on time is, after all, a priority). You can do it yourself, though, provided you follow these simple planning steps.
1. Before you do anything else, identify your audience and plan a strategy. Do this when you are planning your business. Too often businesses leave advertising and marketing until it is too late and are then unable to really create the results needed.
2. If your marketing budget is limited, try to ensure your advertising coincides with key events and product releases so you not only create brand recognition, but actually give your audience a reason to engage with you.
3. Track your results. That might sound simplistic and obvious but many companies don’t - and if you don’t know who you are reaching with your marketing and how they are reacting, how do you know if they are even listening?
4. Spend when and where you need to - don’t spend indiscriminately and don’t cut costs without thought. If an avenue is not working, by all means, get rid of it - but be sure it’s not working first. Sometimes these things take time, and you don’t want to get caught in a cycle of launching promotions then cutting them before they come to fruition.
5. Research your medium and ensure it caters to your audience. Social media, for example, is popular with younger consumers, but if your brand needs to engage an older audience it may not be the best choice as your main marketing channel.
6. Be prepared to follow through, especially in the early days. Few companies – even the big ones like McDonalds, Apple or Coca Cola – can simply take an ad then sit back and count the dollars. Make sure you close the deal.
7. Finally, once you have closed the deal and got a client, take care of them. Ask them for feedback about how you can improve and act on it where and when you can. Give them a reason to come back again.
Remember, first impressions count and if you get it wrong the first time, while all may not necessarily lost, you will be fighting that image in the mind of potential clients for a long time to come. A little planning and forethought could make your life a lot easier and your company a lot more profitable.