10 Critical Tips If You’ve Never Marketed Your Business Before
Save Money and Ensure Success When Teaming Up with a Marketing Partner
You’ve always had a sales-oriented approach to bringing in new business. Word of mouth referrals and trade shows have built on your sales team’s success.
But it’s not enough.
Sales cycles are getting longer. More people are involved. Opportunities aren’t coming together as before.
Your competitors are climbing above you in Google. Your newest prospects have never heard of you. Something must change.
You’ve gotten a bunch of advice. A brother-in-law suggested doing some Google marketing. A local print shop designed a trade show banner and some “now hiring” signs. You even had a couple of young guys build a website a few years ago. You know you need to do something more.
What should you know before talking to someone?
1. Marketing vs. Advertising — Which Do You Need?
Many people use the terms interchangeably, but there is a significant difference. Marketing is about building awareness and connecting with your ideal customers. Advertising is a tactic to help achieve that goal.
“The main difference between these two business practices is that advertising is a part of marketing. A successful marketing strategy typically dedicates resources to advertising at multiple levels, placing corporate marketing communications in various types of media,” American Marketing Association
The American Marketing Association (AMA) has a great article that explains this in more detail.
2. Marketing is a Marathon, Not a Sprint
Nothing happens overnight. Actual results take time. Imagine starting with a small snowball at the top of a hill. As you roll it down, it gets bigger. But you need to roll it slowly and steadily to get results to grow.
To put it in a real world scenario, let’s compare the timeline to your sales cycle. Does a sales prospect become a customer in three months? A year? Or more?
If your marketing campaign worked on day one, how long would it take to become an actual sale?
Yes, this will significantly depend on your product or service. The important message is: It takes time to work.
If you’d like to dive in deeper to this question, check out Neil Patel’s discussion on how quickly you can expect results.
3. Clearly Define Your Objective
How will you determine success? Generating leads? Improving awareness? Before getting started with any marketing, it is a good idea to map out your goals and objectives.
Pro Tip: Make sure you determine how you can measure performance when identifying your goals and objectives.
Here are some examples:
- Generate more qualified leads from your website measured by website interactions (form submissions) or other data-backed activities
- Boost business from existing customers measured by a change in sales performance
- Increase awareness from your target verticals measured by improved organic search position or keyword performance
Be careful when outlining your objectives. Higher expectations require higher budgets.
4. Your Sales Team Needs Marketing. Marketing Needs Your Sales Team.
Sales and marketing can be either the Hatfield and McCoys (always fighting) or it can be like peanut butter and jelly (better together). Collaboration and shared objectives are crucial.
Marketing excels at attracting and connecting with prospects that fit your ideal customer profile (ICP). Once that connection is made, it is up to sales to “bring it home.”
Both sides need one another.
Sales provides marketing critical insight into the world of your customers. When the marketing team can collaborate with sales to gather data and formulate a cohesive plan, then you can really boost results.
HubSpot outlines what sales needs from marketing and how to make the relationship work.
5. Determine Your Budget
What is it going to cost? Probably the most common question. $75k per year? $200k per year? $500k per year?
Your budget will be very subjective based on your business and your desired outcome.
Here are some considerations:
- Invest in a discovery process or audit. You will get better results down the road.
- Ask for a complete strategy and not a menu of services. Trimming out elements of a solution will reduce how successful you will be. If you need to reduce the budget, it will be easier to refine a strategy.
- Plan on search advertising, social media advertising, or other digital marketing to have a separate budget from the strategy.
- Your budget will be more than a list of deliverables. Your budget will include strategy, meetings, and reporting.
6. Your Business’ Brand Has a Voice
Your business (your brand) has a personality. Discover what your business “sounds” like or “acts” like. The personality should be reflective of your culture and what you’d like to attract from customers and future coworkers.
If you’ve never documented your business’ voice, don’t worry. Most haven’t.
If you choose to work with an agency like Signalfire, we can help guide you through creating a brand voice document. The finished “playbook” will be helpful in countless aspects of your marketing including news releases, social media posts, website copy, and even your voicemail message.
Sprout Social put together a great overview of what goes into your brand voice.
7. About Your Website…
“We just re-did our website in 2018. It’s good.”
2018 may not seem like a long time ago, but for websites it is an eternity. How users interact with websites change. In 2018, the average website loaded in 8.6 seconds. In 2021, Google is looking for your website to load in 1.3 to 1.5 seconds.
Your website is one of the most critical tools in your marketing process. Here are a couple questions to think about:
- Does your website have a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress?
- Who is your ideal customer or website user?
- How do customers find you on the web? Search engines? Links from other websites (organizations, industry groups, etc.)?
- How frequently do you update your website?
- What is your website’s call to action (phone call, online form, purchase)?
Your website is key to connecting with future customers. Any marketing efforts will depend on a well-built and well-maintained website.
Looking for a good evaluation tool? Check out this free evaluation tool from SEO guru Neil Patel.
8. You and Your Team Need to Participate to Ensure Success
Marketing isn’t a sit back and “pay-to-see” proposition. It’s a collaboration. The greatest success comes from being in lock-step with your marketing partner.
Collaborating with a team of marketing experts can bring the best of two worlds together. You know your business better than anyone. An aligned marketing partner can take your expertise and connect you with a perfect client match.
When you become aligned with your marketing partner:
- Your company has a clearer, more consistent voice
- Sales has better prospecting tools
- Leads become more qualified
- Opportunities become greater
- Sales get closed faster
Sharing information, giving timely and honest feedback, and meeting regularly are just some of the steps to getting the greatest return on your marketing dollars.
9. Great Data Drives Great Marketing
One of the biggest dangers is, “this is how we’ve always done it” when evaluating your marketing performance. Your data should drive marketing decisions. When you work with a marketing agency, make sure you’re receiving the data you need.
Signalfire utilizes data visualization tools to give you near real-time performance from your website, social media, and digital marketing. You won’t have to dig through Google Analytics or social media data reporting to sort out usable information.
Once you’re equipped with great data, you can make informed decisions that ultimately save time, reduce marketing costs, and improve lead quality.
Signalfire’s work with Broaster Company demonstrates how access to data delivers incredible performance in lead generation.
10. Keep Your Mind Open
There are a lot of marketing tools. Some of the most impactful tools may not be ones you’re familiar with. Other personal-sounding apps may have successful business applications. Social media, email marketing, and forms of digital marketing are just a few.
Keep an open mind to how tools work together and how they may be used by the next generation of business users. If you elect to work with a marketing partner, be sure to ask for ideas! You might find success in a unique idea none of your competitors are even aware of!
Conclusion: Don’t Wait
If you have never marketed your business before, don’t wait. Marketing may be new territory, but it will deliver incredible results. Whether you partner with an agency (hint, hint) or hire an internal person, marketing will help sales find more and better leads.
Marketing is how your future customers will discover you. Marketing is how existing customers learn more about you. Marketing is how you will take your business to the next level.
Here are some parting tips:
- Don’t just start—research and preparation will ensure greater success
- Set marketing goals and objectives with your sales team
- Marketing success doesn’t happen overnight
- Let data drive decisions
- Experiment and keep an open mind
If you’d like to partner with a marketing agency, give Signalfire a shout. We’d love an informal chat to see if we’re a good fit for each other.