You’re Busy: Here’s How to Make Marketing a Priority in 2016

“Vision without execution is hallucination.”

Make Marketing a Priority
Many business leaders have great vision, but it’s hard to pull off the actual execution part—especially for small businesses. One of the hardest areas to manage is marketing. It’s a constant, ongoing process: promotion, conversion, leads, follow-up, sale, follow-through, and repeat sales. Process disruption is common, lead times can be looong, and sometimes important prospects can fall through the cracks—and out of the sales cycle.
 
That’s bad.

Very bad.

But there’s good news! There are a lot of great ways to keep your sales cycle flowing. However, to stay ahead of the game, your first step is to make the call: you must make your marketing a priority.

Look back at 2015. Be honest: how many marketing goals did you actually accomplish? If you’ve tried to make marketing a priority and you just can’t keep on top of it, review this list of…

4 Common Marketing-Crushing Mistakes …plus, how to fix them.

Mistake #1. Assuming You Can Do It All

Small businesses have an especially hard time efficiently allocating resources. So, if you’re the CEO and you’re too busy trying to make sense of your marketing analytics so you don’t have time to follow up with an important customer, you could lose a huge chunk of business and hurt your reputation—all while wasting too much of your valuable time.

The fix? If marketing is the last item on your list (because holy cow, that is one LONG to do list), it’s time to take a step back and look at your business operations. List all the day-to-day business operations your full-time staff is capable of handling. Automate what you can and outsource the rest.

Do only what you do best. You just don’t have time to do everything.

Mistake #2. Unrealistic Staff Expectations

When you’re evaluating what tasks your staff is capable of handling, be brutally honest. No matter how much you care for an employee, not everyone grows where they’re planted. Reassign tasks so each employee has a role where they can shine. Your team will be happier and so will your customers.

One of the worst areas of offense? Attempting to internally maintain your content marketing strategy and production. Crafting a marketing strategy and effective writing are specific skill sets. (And they require much more experience than you can siphon out of your interns!) Your employees may even be willing, but not talented, and that can lead to a huge time-suck with no real payoff.

The fix? Consider outsourcing your content marketing. If it’s not getting done, it’s not going to get done. If it’s not getting done well, you’re likely hurting your online reputation. Hire on a team who can help keep your marketing (and your sales cycle) firing on all cylinders, all the time.

Mistake #3. A Lack of Strategy

Effective marketing is all about the plan. You know you need to produce a ton of useful content, but it can’t just be words. Starting with the big picture and narrowing that down to specific goals and marketing tasks you can execute on? No easy feat—but oh SO important! Your content should have a cohesive theme to answer your customer’s needs, help them make buying decisions, and spark their creativity.

A great plan always leads back to your content. Targeted email promotions lead to a targeted landing page designed to support the sale, then additional content should supply the extra information your customer requires to make that crucial buying decision. Don’t you love it when a plan comes together…and works? It can.

Mistake #4. Failing to Get the Most Out of your Content

They may not come just because you build it. You can hire professionals, collect information for marketing reports, stuff your website with a huge amount of expensive informational copy, and still, no one comes. Why not?

There might be a lot of answers, but the most common issues are poor presentation and lack of promotion. You need strong social media presence to promote your content and you also need the right presentation. Information broken into easily digestible chunks, instead of presented as a dense block of words, is more effective.

That’s why infographics and charts work so well. Make complex information easy with a visual presentation. Use whatever method is most accessible for your audience: graphics, charts, or video tutorials, for example.

Let’s Do This.

Make your 2016 goal to make marketing a priority, even when you’re overwhelmed with day-to-day operations. You simply can’t afford to make marketing your lowest priority again this year. Following the sale from start to finish and then beyond to a long-term relationship is the gold standard. This is your year to get there!

 

We can help. Check out these free marketing resources or give us a call today to make marketing a priority in 2016.

 
related-resources_01

Side Door Thinking: Learn the smart marketing tactics you need to truly engage with more customers.Stop banging on the front door of your customer’s mind …when the side door is wide open! Want to learn more about effective content marketing? Whether you decide to outsource content marketing or not, this eBook is chock-full of great information on content marketing. Download this FREE guide, Side Door Thinking, to discover how content marketing can help you ramp up your website and complete your marketing strategy.

You’ll learn how to:
  • Increase Your Referral Rate
  • Increase Your Social Media Reach
  • Leverage New Product Lines & Revenue Streams
  • Earn Your Customer’s Loyalty & Business
  • Position Yourself As An Industry Leader & Trusted Resource
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

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To Outsource Content Marketing …or Not? 6 Questions to Help You Decide

Doing everything in-house may be an appealing idea to a business owners, but that isn’t always advantageous. It pays to think critically about your business needs to determine how much of your marketing should remain in-house. Here are 6 questions to ask before deciding whether or not to outsource content marketing.

To Outsource Content Marketing …or Not? 6 Questions to Help You Decide

1. Is your staff in over their heads? If the actual legwork required to create all the pieces you need to execute your marketing strategy is overwhelming your staff—surely they have other responsibilities or perhaps it’s a bigger job than anticipated—you may want to consider outsourcing your content creation. If you’re sensing your employees don’t have time, outsourcing is definitely worth it. Through journalistic interviewing, you’ll get great content (not rushed!) to complete your marketing strategy and your employees will thank you.

2. Is your marketing department in need of quality writers? You may have a marketing department and a strategy worked out, but most companies don’t have dedicated writers on staff. Carving out time to write compelling content when you have other responsibilities can be challenging. Outsourcing your content marketing, leaves the in-house team free to develop campaigns, place advertising, and run other aspects of a complete marketing strategy. Deciding to outsource content marketing makes perfect sense. A content marketing agency will schedule posts, wrangle writers, and edit content for consistency and quality. A content marketing team works with your marketing department to create an editorial calendar, identify subjects and information your customers are searching for, and produce quality content on schedule.

3. Do you need temporary workers with honed writing skills? Maybe you’re covering most of your needs, but you need a little help—perhaps to cover writing blog posts while your marketing coordinator goes on vacation or medical leave, or maybe to write long-form content your marketing department can’t make time for.

You could hire a few temps to fill in, but content writing is a specific skill set and great content requires experienced writers. A good content marketing agency can fill the gaps and provide support to your team when they’re busy, without taking up valuable real estate in your office.

4. Does your current content resonate with your customer base? Filling a website with relevant and authoritative content can be a challenge. You may choose to gather topics in-house, based on social media listening, keyword research, and competitor intelligence, before engaging with a content marketing agency. Savvy content marketers will help you truly listen to your customers and research relevant keywords that speak to your customers’ pain points.

5. Are you relying solely on old-school marketing techniques? Some businesses are mired in history; still using the same marketing tactics that worked twenty years ago. A surprising number of SMB and B2B companies have no website or a website that’s little more than a brochure. Your website is a crazy-powerful marketing tool. If you’re not using it, you definitely need help with your content marketing efforts. Building an authoritative website is time-consuming…and ineffective if you lack SEO experts in-house.

Today’s most successful businesses rely on a multi-channel, integrated marketing approach that incorporates both traditional marketing methods, like print and direct mail, with today’s newest advances in digital marketing trends, like segmented email marketing, great SEO, and company blogging.

6. Are you a newly launched business? Content marketing agencies are flexible and can produce as much or as little content as needed—often a cost-effective option. You may want to tell your brand story with style. You may want to build a big library of resources at first, then scale back to scheduled blog posts later.

As your needs change, content marketing experts will create content that changes with your business, whether you need help with website copy, blog posts, whitepapers, infographics, or other helpful, relevant and informative content your clients are searching for.

Content marketing is more competitive today than ever. If you can’t meet your content needs for whatever reason, deciding to outsource content marketing is a great solution. And hey, you don’t necessarily have to choose between in-house and outsourced marketing. You can outsource some tasks while keeping other efforts in-house. Work with your content marketing agency to create a relationship where you can easily scale up or down to produce as much (or as little) content as needed. You’ll get writing that’s well-researched, interesting, grammatically correct, and SEO-friendly—and it’ll help you attract and retain more great prospects and customers.

 

related-resources_01

Side Door Thinking: Learn the smart marketing tactics you need to truly engage with more customers.Stop banging on the front door of your customer’s mind …when the side door is wide open! Want to learn more about effective content marketing? Whether you decide to outsource content marketing or not, this eBook is chock-full of great information on content marketing. Download this FREE guide, Side Door Thinking, to discover how content marketing can help you ramp up your website and complete your marketing strategy.

You’ll learn how to:
  • Increase Your Referral Rate
  • Increase Your Social Media Reach
  • Leverage New Product Lines & Revenue Streams
  • Earn Your Customer’s Loyalty & Business
  • Position Yourself As An Industry Leader & Trusted Resource
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.