This is the fifth installment of the Steps to Starting a Small Business and it’s really an extension of the previous Steps to Starting a Small Business: #3 Promotion. However, I’ve addressed this twice via email and phone over the past seven days, which is always a sign that I need to blog about a topic. Here it goes.
A marketing strategy is different than a marketing tactic. A blog is NOT a marketing strategy. Believe it or not, a BLOG is actually a marketing tactic.
Marketing tactics are how you achieve the marketing goals established in when you created your marketing strategy.
If you have a product or service of interest to bloggers, then by all means, a blog is a WONDERFUL marketing tactic for your business. However, it’s possible that your target audience doesn’t know a blog from an online bulletin board. If that’s the case, then a blog IS STILL probably a GREAT marketing tool but it may not be a marketing tactic to take your business where you want to go. (Blasphemy – I know!)
Creating a marketing strategy is like planning a trip. When you’re planning a trip, you must first identify where you are, “I’m in Philadelphia, PA” and then you identify where you want to go, “I want to end up in Miami, FL.”
When you’re creating a marketing strategy, you begin with where you are. “I provide coaching services to women who are divorced and want to create a new life after divorce.” Then, you identify where you want to end up. “I want to have a coaching practice where I have 5 coaching groups with 7 members in each group.”
GREAT START! You know where you are and you know where you want to be. Now all you have to figure out is how to get there! Part of planning your trip is figuring out where your target audience (divorced women) are spending most of their time and what has their attention.
Marketing is a numbers game – pure and simple. You have to determine how many people need to be exposed to your message to keep your business afloat.
The illustration to the left shows a “typical” sales funnel. For every 1000 website visitors, 100 (1 out of 10) of those visitors signs up for the newsletter. (If you don’t HAVE a newsletter – you’re missing an important step in the sales conversion process.)
Out of those 100 newsletter subscribers, 10 “bite” when you offer your coaching group.
With this information in hand, you now know that you need 3500 unique visitors to your website to get the 350 newsletter subscribers to get the 35 group coaching members.
This is why it’s so important to tightly target your audience and then do the keyword research to find out what WORDS your target audience is using to find solutions on the internet.
See, if our coach above didn’t define her target audience as “divorced women” then she wouldn’t have any idea of where to start when it came to looking for the keywords her target audience may be using as they search for answers to their problems via the web.
HOUSTON WE HAVE A PROBLEM:
a) It’s very possible that divorced women are not SEARCHING the web looking for a divorce coach.
b) The search engines aren’t going to be delivering tens of thousands of visitors to her brand new website any time in the near future.
Does that mean that you should scrap the idea?
If you’re offering solutions to people’s problems – and those people are willing to PAY to have those problems solved – then you have a viable business. However, you may not be able to sit back and allow the search engines to drive the traffic you need to your website to build your business.
What it does mean is that she needs to look at using other methods to drive traffic to her website.
One way around the whole “oops I need more traffic” conundrum is to use Google Adwords. Google Adwords is SOOOO amazingly easy to use, but I’ve got to warn you – it’s some of the most expensive advertising on the planet!
And for those of you who wonder what I do to pay the bills – here it is. I come up with creative ways to build your business. Sometimes it’s via the web – sometimes the web is just a “gathering basket” for traffic driven via other means.
In the client’s case above, we came up with a “vertical marketing strategy” of sorts. See, my client really isn’t a blogging kind of a girl, so we had to brainstorm new and different ways for her to fill her sales funnel.
So I asked, where is the one place you can be sure to gain access to newly divorced women? Answer, “Divorce attorneys offices.”
At first, my client was resistant. After all, why would divorce attorneys help her build her business? That’s where the hard work began. I helped her to “frame” her services in a way that it was actually a benefit the divorce attorney could offer his clients – with no additional cost to him/her.
If you’re getting a divorce and your choice is between two attorneys – one of which offers not only access but a substantial discount on a program to help you get back on your feet in a matter of months instead of years after your divorce and the other doesn’t – which attorney will you choose?
The first ten attorneys she approached JUMPED at the chance to sit down and discuss this with her and now, instead of paying Google tens of thousands of dollars for a PPC campaign, she’s going to buy lunch for ten different divorce attorneys. If each attorney sends her 4 clients, her practice will be full AND she’ll have access to a constant stream of new clients. Oh, the “tough” economy is exactly WHY those ten attorneys are looking for something to give them an “edge”.
What’s your marketing strategy? Who’s your target audience? How are you planning on reaching them?