What’s your marketing plan for 2022?
In this article we look at why reducing your marketing spend during tough times is counter productive, and why now’s the time to get LOUD in a quiet market!
In the wake of the pandemic, many businesses – especially SMEs – are struggling. Research by Goldman Sachs has shown:
Forty-four percent of small business owners have less than three months’ cash reserves, putting their businesses and employees in danger should a COVID-19-related shutdown or other emergency occur.
In a troubling sign of an uneven recovery, the number is higher – 51 percent – for Black-owned small businesses.
If small businesses need to access capital, only 31 percent report being very confident they would get access to funding and only 20 percent of Black-owned small businesses report being very confident in their access to capital.
When faced with difficult times, many companies cut back on their marketing efforts. The result: INVISIBILITY!
What better time than now to gain greater VISIBILITY? Your 2022 plan should focus on building a marketing strategy where you spend your budget wisely and capture the spotlight. Consider making a splash NOW while many of your competitors remain out of sight. If you want your sales to increase, YOUR business must be visible. GET LOUD! Take advantage of the QUIET MARKET.
Establish a budget (no matter how small), create a plan and stick to it!
Here are some tips for you to consider:
Take the time to spruce up your image!
YOUR WEBSITE IS A SMART PLACE TO START! If your website does not represent your company, it needs a tune-up. Think of it as your brochure. It is your opportunity to make a great first impression. Learn how your site works. Is it optimised? Check out this beginner’s guide to SEO. Add new pictures, links and copy once you understand what’s needed.
Mine your data
Evaluate your web statistics and see what they are telling you. Get to know Google Analytics and Google Search Console – they’re both free and provide a mountain of data for you to learn from.
Google Analytics is a free website tracking tool and platform that collects data on how users interact with your website. Once the data is collected, Google Analytics sorts the data into easy-to-read interactive reports, which is what we see in the platform.
Google Search Console has been created to easily track the performance of your website. You can get valuable insights out of your Google Search Console account which means that you can see what part of your website needs work. This can be a technical part of your website, such as an increasing number of crawl errors that need to be fixed. This can also be giving a specific keyword more attention because the rankings or impressions are decreasing. Besides seeing this kind of data, you’ll get mail notifications when new errors are noticed by Google Search Console. Because of these notifications, you’re quickly aware of issues you need to fix. That’s why everyone with a website should learn how to use it!
Make sure your business is registered on ‘Google My Business’ and your listing is fully optimised. This is FREE local exposure so why wouldn’t you take advantage of it?
Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool from Google that helps business owners manage their online presence across the search engine and its growing portfolio of utilities. Seasoned SEO professionals use GMB listings to leverage a location-based strategy. Creating a GMB listing is the first step to local search success. And for good reason. GMB offers the greatest impact for brands seeking local exposure. A feature like Google’s Local Search emphasizes the need for a GMB listing for both new and established businesses.
Search Engine Journal – ‘How to Completely Optimize Your Google My Business Listing‘
Start a newsletter!
Newsletters are a powerful way to keep in touch with your customers. Deliver content that is informative and educational. Make sure the information is worthwhile and offers VALUE. What a terrific way to remind people of your expertise!
For small lists, Mailchimp is a good option with a great drag and drop email builder. For larger lists, SendinBlue is my recommendation – it’s a LOT cheaper and still has the drag and drop feature. If you have a WordPress site, both options have plugins so you can get signups and export them automatically to your email list.
Recommended read: 6 Tips to Make Your Brand an Email Response Rockstar
Make yourself visible. Attend as many networking events as you can or, utilise the power of social media. Think of yourself as an effective marketing tool! Be sure to have your company’s story ready to share. Work it! For SMEs targeting local businesses, get involved with the local community and make yourself visible on community Facebook pages. Make sure your name and that of your business is in the forefront of your target audience’s minds.
Recommended read: 15 LinkedIn Marketing Hacks to Grow Your Business
Who’s the boss?
Often, marketing does not get the attention it deserves in a small business environment. The marketing hat is often worn by many or by no one at all.
PUT SOMEONE IN CHARGE OF MARKETING – someone with the right credentials, such as a CIM qualification and appropriate experience. Many people who haven’t studied marketing THINK they understand it, but there is a lot more to marketing than creating an effective advertising campaign!
Who will take ownership of your marketing plan? Who will make sure the strategy is on course and on budget? Who is measuring results? Being VISIBLE requires a plan and accountability. Your company will be INVISIBLE unless the right person owns the strategy and tasks to get it done.
The best use of any employee’s time is to have them focus on what they do best. Don’t let your marketing person get bogged down with projects that are over their head or beyond their expertise.
Recommended read: The Right Time to Hire a Dedicated Marketing Professional
Tools to help
There are a wealth of tools you can use to help you create a marketing strategy. For example, considering the customer journey can help you create an action plan for improving at every stage:
Stages in the buying process (B2C)
(Source: adapted by the OUBS from Kotler and Armstrong, 2008)
Ansoff’s product matrix is also useful for organisations who want to grow but are not sure how to proceed. It helps you to consider different strategies for expansion, whether it is taking your current products or services to new markets, or creating new products / services for existing or new markets.
Ansoff describes market penetration as the least risky option since this involves products and markets with which the organisation is already familiar. However, as markets become increasingly mature and eventually saturated, it becomes be more difficult to gain new customers and organisations have to put more effort into defending their market share and keeping existing customers. The potential for growth then may come from either product or market development.
Product development involves the organisation in offering new products in its existing markets. Risks are increased as the rate of new product failure can be high, as can the costs involved in new product development. The rate of new product development will vary in different markets, being particularly high for technology-based products.
Market development involves the organisation in identifying and selecting new markets (that is, market segments) for its existing products.
Diversification is the final and riskiest of the product/market strategies in Ansoff’s model, as the organisation is simultaneously involved in new businesses that have little or no relationship to the company’s current technologies, products or markets.
OUBS, ‘Managing Marketing’, 2011
Need more ideas? Read: 19 Awesome Marketing Strategies For Small Businesses