Too much marketing happens based upon a mix of optimism and desire instead of a foundation of goals, budgeting, and measurement. It’s a given that you would like your marketing efforts to succeed, but don’t jump in blind. Take the time to structure your efforts with a bit of consideration and research and your results will reward you
The following three steps should be a part of your marketing efforts, ideally at the inception of your efforts. Marketing, like any other business action, costs time, money and effort and those are finite resources. For every action you take, there are several you won’t have the resources to pursue, so make the most of them.
Set goals. I’m not referring to your business goals, which should already be set or your marketing is in trouble. I’m referring to marketing goals. What are you hoping to accomplish with your marketing, not generically, but specifically.
Here are a number of elements that will make your marketing goals more useful:
- Write your goals down;
- Conduct the analysis needed to see if your marketing can help you reach those goals;
- Put a timeline on your efforts, when will you expect to see results? and
- Document your plan to achieve these goals and keep the documents to review at the end of your campaign to evaluate and improve the next effort.
Your marketing effort not only needs to support your overall business goals, but each campaign must have defined goals as well.
Budget. Once you set your marketing goals, understand how they relate to your overall business goals, and have a plan, you need to set a marketing budget.
Know how much the campaign will cost you, not just in terms of money. Compare the amount budgeted with expected returns and the timeline you’ve created and decide if that particular effort should continue, cease, or expand.
Measure. This becomes much easier when the previous two steps have been completed. Understand how you will measure success. Its it visitors to your web site, new customers, etc.? Keep track of the results. Be specific and honest with yourself.
Put your measurements together with your original documentation for future use. Now you have a reference for that type of marketing and you can make the next effort even better or avoid making the same mistake twice.
Implement these steps and your marketing will produce better results and over time you’ll become even more adept at marketing as you begin to understand what has been successful and what to avoid. Ideally, you’ve begun to structure your business in an organized manner as well so that this process is second nature and takes minimal time while fitting in with the way you do business.
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