As a micro business owner, this time of year can be quite a blur. Organising Christmas presents, getting the house ready for family coming to stay, getting ready to cook Christmas dinner. All this on top of finishing off projects so you can take some time off.
You know, planning your marketing strategy for 2013 is a lot like planning Christmas dinner.
Keep reading and I’ll explain five similarities that will help you develop a marketing strategy for 2013 that will work.
1. Review last year . . .
When I start to think about cooking Christmas dinner I think back to last year and make a list of what worked really well and what didn’t. For instance last year I started roasting vegetables before they had dried properly and it created steam in the oven and took longer to roast, meaning I was late serving – so I won’t be making that mistake again this year.
It’s important to do the same with your marketing. Review what has worked this year – what has brought you new business?
Take a look at where you’ve spent your time this year, what marketing activities you’ve been doing and compare this with where you’ve gained new enquiries. It’s important to be analytical at this point, if you’ve spent a lot of time on Facebook for instance, but you’ve received very little or no enquiries, you need to look at doing something different with this time next year.
You also have to be a bit ruthless – don’t hide behind “it takes time to get results”. Whilst that is true, it’s important to recognise the difference between an activity that is showing signs that it could work well for you and wasting your time on an element marketing that is never going to generate you new business.
2. Don’t do too much . . .
The classic Christmas dinner mistake – planning on doing several courses of dishes that you’ve either not cooked often or ever before and then taking much too long to cook them and having unhappy diners. I’ve made this mistake many times with Christmas dinner and have since learnt to concentrate on cooking a meal that is special but is achievable and won’t keep everyone waiting.
It’s also a classic micro business mistake – trying a long list of marketing activities in the hope that some of them work, rather than having a focused strategy around a small number.
As you plan your strategy for 2013, make a list of five things that you can concentrate on and work on consistently throughout the year. Keeping the list small will ensure you give each point the attention and time it needs.
Need some inspiration on what should be on your list? Check out 43 Free Ways to Market your Business in 2013.
3. Think of your target customer . . .
Another Christmas dinner mistake that I’ve made in the past is cooking something “special” because it’s Christmas dinner without thinking about whether our guests would enjoy it. It can be easy to get carried away with all of the celebrity chef shows on television and cook things that won’t be enjoyed by everyone.
Again, this is the same with your 2013 marketing strategy. You have to use marketing elements that will appeal to your audience.
When you’re planning your marketing, take some time to review your perfect customer profile. Are the things that you’re considering and planning going to stand out and appeal to your perfect customer? Is your marketing being presented in the right place? For instance, it’s no good spending hours in LinkedIn groups if you’re not finding anyone who looks like your perfect customer.
If you’re unsure where your perfect customers spend there time, ask them. Pick a friendly customer and have a chat with them, where would they look if they needed to find someone who did what you do, do they use an online group or forum, or specific social network that is used by lots of similar people? Find out and build it into your plan.
If you don’t have any customers yet, and 2013 is going to be your first year in business, talk to some people that you think could be your perfect customer and find out where they spend time and what help you could offer them that would get their attention. If you need some help reviewing how to attract your perfect customer, you can download my free eBook.
4. Start early . . .
Since I started cooking Christmas dinner a few years ago I’ve learnt one, very valuable lesson. It’s best to start early!
If you leave everything until after you’ve opened presents on Christmas day you’ve got a real job on your hands if you want to get everything cooked and served before your guests get bored waiting and it’s already dark outside. Making soup or desert the day before so it’s ready really takes the pressure off.
With your 2013 marketing strategy you also need to start early. Get your planning done between Christmas and New Year and ensure that on your first day back, you really hit the ground running – don’t be sitting at your desk in early January 2013 thinking about how you should be marketing, because your competitors will be ahead of you. You need to know where your focus is going to be and how you are going to get started, and then get going!
You don’t have to have the whole year mapped out, but you do need to have a list of activities that you can get started with immediately once your back to work.
5. Analyse, but not too much . . .
I have a habit of
interrogating guests asking questions after Christmas dinner. “How were the potatoes?”, “was the gravy ok?”. I do it because I’m trying to make it better, but you can easily over-analyse.
I’m a big believer in analysing your marketing. I spend a lot of time reviewing clients Google Analytic’s data, looking for trends and improvements and reviewing how to generate more enquiries. But, you can over-analyse – what I mean is you can spend more time analysing your marketing than you can doing your marketing, and that’s a mistake – you have to keep it in balance.
Once you’ve created your marketing strategy, and have five activities to focus on for 2013, ensure you have time in your daily schedule to do some of each activity, remember that little and often is better than lots and none at all. Then put time aside to review your chosen activities once a month. You can monitor the results more often but don’t fall into the trap of starting an activity and quickly changing to another because this won’t bring you good results – keep with your chosen activities, analyse the results properly once a month and only then decide if you need to make any changes. If you take the time to plan the strategy with your perfect customer in mind, you should be on the right road from the start and will only need to tweak things during the year.
Like planning Christmas dinner, planning your marketing strategy for 2013 takes time, a review of what’s happened before and decisions on which elements you should focus on. However, getting your planning right will leave you enjoying your results and growing your micro business in 2013 and beyond.
Today’s Micro Action
Put time aside to review your 2012 marketing and results, consider the points above and pick five marketing elements that you’re going to focus on during 2013. Before you go back to work in 2013, know what marketing you are going to use and hit the ground running – and in the meantime, good luck with Christmas dinner!