Maximise your marketing
Know when to outsource and when to save money.
Small businesses are popping up all over, and with the do-it-yourself mentality that is so common with small business owners, that means that there are a lot of business owners striking out to learn how to do their own marketing. It’s a wallet-friendly approach to getting in front of your audience. However, while there are a lot of marketing tasks that are easy to learn, some require a little more than luck and reading a few how-to articles. There’s a level of technical knowledge, skill, and experience that you can’t get without being a committed professional in the field.
Calling in the experts isn’t a bad thing. You put petrol in your vehicle and take it to the car wash, but you probably wouldn’t try to repair the transmission or replace the air conditioning system on your own, right? Just like you brush your own teeth, but don’t try to do your own root canal. Some things are better left to the pros. A marketing professional has the training and experience needed to take on the more technical aspects of creating and managing a marketing strategy. They also bring an outside perspective, as someone who has worked with a lot of other businesses and can offer insight you won’t find by doing it on your own.
There are still a lot of marketing tasks you can learn how to do, and how to do well, and some of these tasks, you might already feel comfortable doing.
What Should You Can (and Should) Do
No one knows your business better than you do, and attending networking events can be a great way to garner interest in your company. Order business cards (designed by a professional), and go out to meet people. Prepare an elevator speech about your business, and let people know who you are and what you offer. Not only are you pitching your product, you’re also making valuable business contacts.
Read up on social marketing for businesses, see what similar brands are doing, and follow a few thought-leaders in social media marketing, then start your social media pages for your business. For most companies, starting with Facebook, Twitter, and maybe Instagram is a good way to begin. Post consistently, at least once or twice a day on each site, and make sure that your posts are brand-consistent. If you feel a little shaky here in the beginning, that’s nothing to worry about. As you experience grows, so will your audience.
You know your business, you know your audience, and you probably know how you want your brand to sound. This makes up a part of your branding strategy, and it’s something that you are one of the most qualified people to figure out. The key is consistency. Know your brand, and make sure that all your social media posts, emails, website content, and customer interactions fit into your brand style.
However, branding is a lot more than just colour and tone, and having a professional step in and lend their expertise to the project will take your brand and turn it into something that appeals to buyers. To go deeper into your brand strategy, it’s time to bring in the experts.
What to Leave to the Professionals
Branding is about more than your colour palette and logo. It covers nearly every aspect of where and how a customer interacts with your brand, and how they feel about that interaction after it’s over. It’s colour and font and tone, and it’s whether you’re interacting on Instagram or Snapchat. As stated above, consistency is key. Your brand should be clear and easy to identify no matter where a customer interacts with it.
A marketing plan is your roadmap to success, and just like the sailors of old, you want to save plotting your route to someone who has travelled those waters before.
Marketing, on its own, isn’t overly complicated. It doesn’t take much to start a Twitter profile, post a Facebook ad, or write up a blog post. However, there’s a big difference between doing marketing ad hoc and working with a marketing strategy. A marketing plan takes all those marketing activities, some you probably haven’t even thought of, and puts everything together in a way that works cohesively.
Advertising is something that you could learn how to do on your own, but not without a lot of trial and error. Expensive trial and error. It’s a better investment to hire a professional who knows how to get the best return on your investment. There are a lot of factors that go into creating an ad. Images, marketing copy, selecting a target audience, optimising the available options to get the ad in front of the right people at the right time, and, most importantly, making sure that the advertisement fits in with the rest of your marketing campaign. Does the ad lead back to a landing page, or just to your website’s homepage? Does the image and copy match the landing page?
Technical skills beyond your experience (this includes writing)
Whether it’s setting up a website, creating a detailed marketing strategy, performing consumer research, or even writing the content for your website, there are a lot of technical skills that go into marketing a business. These are precision tasks; you want to work with someone who knows what they’re doing.
Most business owners won’t try to set up a website on their own, but many try to write their own content. While the DIY spirit here is admirable, there’s a lot at stake. The content on your website can encourage people to trust you, or make them question your professionalism as a company. A professional writer does more than just put words on page. They create content that communicates the right message with your customers.
Designing your own logo or business card? Better not. These are the first impressions people have of your company, and when your logo is a DIY design, it’s usually obvious.
There’s a reason people pay well for branded artwork. These artists are experienced in turning your branding ideas into something that will both match your brand and resonate with your audience.
Running a business is a balancing act, and sometimes you must balance between what you’re good at (and what it profitable) versus what you should let an expert handle. Financially, it makes more sense to spend your time doing what you excel at instead of what you’re going to need to learn and practice to get right.
That’s where a team of dedicated marketing professionals comes in. By working with people who specialise in marketing, you’re benefiting from their years of experience and knowledge of cutting-edge techniques to help your business succeed. Letting them handle the technical side of getting your business in front of your audience leaves you free to get back to the rewarding work of running your company.