Marketing Roadmap – Design & Build it the Right Way
Marketing always appears to be this huge challenge that we can’t quite wrap our heads around. There doesn’t seem to be a clear beginning or end. Do you fire up a Google Ad campaign? Design a new logo? Reach out to current clients for feedback?
Where do you start?
It all starts with a decision. This is the Commitment Zone. Are you going to commit to building a marketing engine? Are you going to commit to building the marketing engine right? Are you ready to commit to a timeline for building and implementing this engine?
If you cannot commit and answer ‘yes’ to those three questions, marketing will always be a struggle. If you can embrace the commitment, and construct your marketing engine right from the start, you will gain confidence, you will gain control, you will gain freedom.
So, after you commit to building the engine right and building it over time, what next?
Let’s walk through the steps and zones that comprise our Know, Like & Trust journey to the Freedom Zone.
First Step: Establish Where You Are, Audit Your Online Presence
Ok, so you have committed to doing this marketing thing right this time. No more throwing money at ads or some SEO “Guru,” it’s time to do it seriously. And that begins with establishing where you are.
Take stock of your current online presence and marketing efforts:
- Does your website reflect your current branding, offerings, messaging?
- How does your target audience find you? Does Google see you?
- What are your competitors doing? How do you differentiate yourself from them?
- What is your core message and how does that separate you from the competition?
- Where are your online reviews? What do they say?
It’s important to understand where you in order to appropriately plan where you are going and how to get there. Now is the time to understand and clearly define the roles and functions of your marketing department.
Marketing Strategy/Tactics/Schedule (STS)
Now we know where you are. The question now becomes “Where do you want to be?”
Dig deep. Be specific. Avoid the surface-level, obvious choices (“I want more leads!”) and focus on true business goals:
- Do you want 5 more clients?
- Do you want to increase profitability X%?
- Do you want to step away from the business in 3 years?
With a true business goal set, we can start to formulate a custom strategy to get you there. This strategy will intertwine with sales and business development, this strategy will become a part of your business’s identity.
Now with a plan in place for reaching your goal, let’s get set to kick off!
Branding Make-Over (BMO)
But before we jump right in and start slapping web pages together, let’s get consistent. When was your logo last updated? What are your brand’s colors? What is your brand?
We should always be pushing that further, thinking of a brand as more of a feeling, an environment, an emotion.
When most people think of branding, they think of a logo. We should always be pushing that further, thinking of a brand as more of a feeling, an environment, an emotion.
So, yes, a logo is part of your brand, but so are the colors, the mood elements, the tone of your copy, the feel of your web pages. Go beyond a logo, get to the emotion.
And the best way to do this is to put together a Brand Guide or a Brand Book. This will contain all your brand elements (i.e. color codes, fonts, logos, mood elements, etc.). You will never comb through your inbox searching for that one email from a designer with your logo again!
Next time you build a website, order swag, paint a building, you will have this brand guide to hand over to the designer. You will know your brand is consistent.
Design, Build & Launch Your Website, Your Brand, Your New Business!
Now you have a clear plan of where you want to be and how you are going to get there. You also have a clear guide to your brand. You know your colors, your logo elements, your mood elements. You have your blueprints and materials. Now it is time to build.
The main focus of this phase will be your website. Your online front office. Think about it: For many potential customers, this will be their first impression of your business! Make it a good one!
You can decide to design, build and launch yourself if you have the bandwidth. Otherwise, if you are already wearing too many hats, you can look to partner with a reliable agency (check out our Done-For-You Marketing Services here!).
While the website is being built, take this opportunity to also update or create your main social profiles. Google My Business, Facebook and LinkedIn should be at the top of your list. Google wants to see your business information listed in these directories. There are hundreds of other online citations and services available to put you into them (at a cost), but whether or not they will help your SEO efforts will be based on your specific industry.
Remember to take your time here, remember the first step of this journey: Build it right. When you invest in the work up-front, it will save you from inevitable headaches down the line and a website that seems stitched together.
Entering the Confidence Zone
Congratulations! You have now entered the Confidence Zone!
Now that you’ve done all the hard work of getting to this point, you should be confident that your business has identified the right target audience. You have defined the right message and launched your campaign to engage with your target audience.
Now, stick to your guns. This is the hardest part for most business owners: They’ve invested 4-6 months of time, energy, money, and they begin to feel they are missing out on other opportunities.
Avoid that trap. There is no one-giant-step when it comes to marketing. All marketing takes time. At this point, look back on where you started and how far your business has come. You have built it right from the start, the engine is gaining momentum!
Marketing Research & Development = Tactics & Campaigns
Let the fun begin! Tactics & Campaigns is how we move from the Confidence Zone to the Marketing Zone, and from the Marketing Zone to the final Freedom Zone.
We always want to reference back to our strategy and planning sessions. Where do you want to be? How do we get there?
For example, let’s say your goal is to increase revenue for your Dog Grooming business 20% by the end of the year. To do that you need either 9 small dog appointments or 4 large dog appointments. Now instead of just marketing generally to all pet owners for grooming opportunities, get tactical!
Create two campaigns, one for small dog grooming and one for large dog grooming opportunities. This means custom landing pages, CTA’s, forms, tracking links, etc. You want to get surgical with this!
If we can get specific and isolate the campaigns, we will have a much easier time tracking success.
On the flip side of that coin, we can also track what is not working, and tweak those campaigns accordingly.
Do not be afraid to fail! A failure is just a confirmation that one idea didn’t work out the best. This is important! So never look at an underperforming campaign as a failure, just proof that there are better ways out there!
From Confident to Curator: You have reached the Marketing Zone
After experimenting in Tactics & Campaign, certain campaigns will reveal themselves to be effective and more importantly, repeatable for other marketing initiatives (i.e. other target buyers, demographics, locations, etc.).
Now you have a base of high performing campaigns, the marketing engine is beginning to hum! You have entered the Marketing Zone. There is still work to be done, but you are seeing the progress and seeing the results.
At this point you are starting to gain control and command of the marketing engine. You can dial up or dial down specific campaigns, understand where web traffic originates, where people are finding you.
Stay the course, but stay creative. You are not in the clear yet!
Another Round of Tactics & Campaigns
Keep experimenting and keep creating! Think about Nike or Coca Cola, it seems they have a new ad or commercial out each month! You have a solid foundation of reliable, effective lead generation campaigns, but you should never get complacent.
Use this step to reevaluate your existing campaigns, plan out future initiatives, align with your sales and business development teams, and review your business goals.
It’s important to always reference back to your big picture business goals. Continuously think to yourself “Is this effort helping move my business to where I want it to be?”
The Freedom Zone: Marketing at Your Command
You have made it! After all the initial ground work and foundation building, experimenting, testing, failing and ultimately succeeding, you are now generating a steady stream of qualified customer leads.
Important to note: This is not a set-it-and-forget-it situation. There will still be monitoring, there will still be experimenting, there will still need to be innovation. However, at this point, it can now be considered a part of your marketing department, a “Research & Development” type role.
From here on, you are in full command of the marketing engine, steering it towards your business goals.
Keep vigilant, keep alert. The digital marketing landscape evolves almost daily. So, if not you, make sure you have someone dedicate to monitoring and continuing to track your success.
You can count on First Call to help you at any point when you’re on your journey in marketing for success. We would gladly like to become a partner in growing the success of your business. Take a moment to chat with us about how we can guide you to more success.