10 Ways to Take Control of your Marketing

  photo by x-ray delta one

Does your marketing suck?  Wouldn’t you like to strap on your mind control helmet and make your target market sit up and listen to all the great things you could do for them?

There are times when marketing feels like black magic…or maybe rocket science, but the reality is there are proven and well-understood principles of marketing that, if followed, will get the right people raising their hands and asking to learn more about your product or service.

It’s not a silver bullet – these principles are fairly easy to understand, but they can be difficult to actually put into practice.  The good news is that you don’t have to be perfect off the bat – most of your competitors aren’t very good at marketing either (just look around at a lot of the marketing targeting you these days).  With a little bit of knowledge and effort, you’ve got a great opportunity to stand out and take control of your marketplace!

What are these tried and true principles?  Let’s take a look:

1. Have several marketing strategies active at all times

Your target market needs to see your message many times before it even sinks in.  Running multiple strategies at all times will make sure that message is out there and effective.  Ideally, a mature business would have up to 10 different strategies running at once – which sounds like a lot, but several of them are stuff you need to be doing no matter what (website, networking, etc.).

2. Focus your marketing message very tightly

This actually means two things – you need to have a very detailed idea of who your target market is and you need to understand their needs and the problems that you’re solving.  The more precise you can be with the message and the target, the more likely they will respond to it.

3. Have a consistent message across all mediums

Marketing is all about consistency.  The worst thing you could do is run a shotgun approach in terms of your message across different mediums (which is what happens when you don’t have an overall marketing plan).  In order for your message to sink in – you need to be actively promoting it and you have to be consistent across the board.

4. Have a very clear next step

You might have a great product and a really enticing marketing campaign, but if you don’t clearly lay out what you want your target audience to do, nothing will happen.  Do you want them to call you?  Go to your website?  Send you an email?  Visit your location?  Whatever it is, make it easy and make it very, very clear (painfully clear).  Are you frustrated that you’re not getting calls?  Maybe it’s because you don’t have a clear call to action!

5. Track where your opportunities are coming from

Marketing can be frustrating and expensive…especially when you don’t know what’s working and what’s not working.  If you have an advertisement that’s not driving any sales, you need to stop spending money on it – which you can only do if you know it’s not driving any sales!  Conversely, if you found a winner, it might make sense to double down and invest more.  There are lots of ways to track things, especially with technology options, but you have to make it a priority and plan it out ahead of time.

6. Make sure your message is Dramatically Different from your competitors

The path of least resistance when it comes to advertising is to look around and copy what seems to be effective from your competitors.  Unfortunately, that just means you look like everyone else and there’s no reason to pay attention to your message!  If possible, develop a Dramatic Difference when it comes to what you offer.  If you can’t reach a dramatic difference, then do whatever you can to stand out.

7. Focus on your existing customers first

Your best chance of success is to sell to people who already Know, Like and Trust you – your existing customers.  Are there are other problems you could help them solve?  What could you do for them to either generate additional revenue and/or make them love you even more?  Give them what they want and they will reward you and say great things about you!

That doesn’t mean not marketing to prospective customers, but you should have a weighted mix of activities that include upselling and cross-selling to your existing customers.

8. Stay in touch with past, current and potential customers

You must have a list of all your past and current customers and you should have a database of all your prospective customers who are in your pipeline.  And with those lists, you need to actively stay in touch with them on a regular basis.  That could be a newsletter, maybe a card in the mail or a regular ‘special’ offer you make…anything that keeps you top of mind when they’re ready to buy.

9. Give your buyers a Real Reason to Believe in you

The world is way too noisy these days and your prospective customers aren’t going to believe big claims of how you can help them…unless you give them some proof.  You could start with Social Proof – testimonials from your raving fans will get people to believe.  You could also offer a meaningful guarantee that shows the confidence you have in your product or service – make it a no risk or at least low-risk proposition and they’re likely to believe it’s real and give you a shot to help them.

10. Make sure you can be found online

These days, if I can’t easily find you online, then you may as well not exist.  Even if your business isn’t going to sell anything online, you need to be found online for the sake of credibility.  To most people, you don’t have a real business if they can’t find you on Google.  A professional, clean website is the starting point, but you should also have some presence on Social Media and you should understand how local search works (i.e. Google Places, Yahoo local, etc.).

Are you controlling your marketing?  Score yourself on how many of these 10 that you’re doing well with.  If you’re not doing well with at least 5 of these, it’s likely your marketing sucks!  Now, what would you like to do about it?  If you’d like a 3rd party perspective on how to get better from a trusted, licensed professional business coach – contact me for a free consultation.

Did I miss anything?  What marketing principles are you struggling with?  I’d love to hear your thoughts, share them in the comments below.

Shawn Kinkade  Kansas City Business Coach

3 thoughts on “10 Ways to Take Control of your Marketing”

  1. David Soxman says:

    Excellent points Shawn, well written and concise. I believe your most important point is to track what’s working and what’s not. It’s the only way to know whether the money you spend is achieving any return. These points can also seem daunting in terms of the time required and there are many resources out there that can help in execution.

  2. Shawn, Thanks for this post. Your point #2 “Focus your marketing message very tightly” is so important. It’s the foundation of your brand. It’s also one of the most difficult to execute. The temptation to be many things to many people can be overwhelming.

  3. Andrew and David – thanks for the great comments. It always strikes me how simple marketing can seem to be, but there’s a lot of complexity under the surface (whether that’s analytics or focusing on the right niche).

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