Can a Business Survive Without Marketing?
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An Unbiased Answer to Help You Decide if Your Small Business Should Be Marketing
While your business could grow on word of mouth alone, investing in a diverse marketing plan will expedite the growth you’re looking for. (Also, word of mouth is still marketing!) Every company needs a marketing plan; the variation lies in how much focus is placed on each feature. Some companies will have a thorough pay-per-click marketing strategy, while others will focus on email marketing and paid social media advertising.
Regardless of where you choose to invest, your business will need marketing in order to grow and thrive.
What to Expect Without a Marketing Plan
Without a marketing plan, your company’s growth will slow, and could even stall. There will be very few new customers, and existing customers may not know about new products or upcoming sales, reducing their chances of becoming a repeat customer.
Because of this, we recommend that every business has at the minimum a basic marketing plan to help reach new customers and stay connected with existing ones.
Here’s how you can get started.
Know Your Goals
Every marketing plan needs to begin with a goal. From that goal, you can backtrack to discover where to begin. These are the most common goals for businesses:
- Increase top line revenue.
- Launch a new product.
- Increase lead generation.
You’ll notice that growing social media followers isn’t included. While this is a result of a strong marketing plan, followers don’t necessarily translate into sales, which means we need to focus on revenue-driving areas like the three listed above.
Once you know your goal, it’s time to determine the best type of marketing to help you reach it.
Choosing Your Marketing Plan’s Elements
There are quite a few different ways to approach digital marketing. These are the most common:
- Email marketing
- Social media marketing
- Paid social media marketing
- Pay-per-click advertising (e.g.,Google, Bing)
An email address is one of the most valuable pieces of information you can own from a current or potential customer. In fact, companies generate an average of $38 for every $1 spent on email marketing!
Focus on email newsletters to promote specials and company news, and offer a discount to new customers who sign up for the newsletter on your website. This entices them to provide their email, which means you can continue to reach them, even if they don’t follow you on social media.
Social Media Marketing
If they do follow you on social media, though, your chosen platforms give you an opportunity to connect with them in additional ways. Facebook and Instagram are the go-to’s for many companies based on range of users active on the platform, but Pinterest, Twitter, and even Quora or Reddit could help build brand awareness.
Be sure to focus on the information that your followers would find useful that is also relevant to your company. This ensures you’re providing value and that they’ll continue to engage with you on the platforms.
Paid Social Media Marketing
Posting on Facebook or Instagram is called posting organically. Paid social media marketing, though, is the opposite. You pay to reach users that meet certain targeting guidelines, and it’s an affordable method of advertising. In fact, 69% of US adults use Facebook, making it one of the easiest ways to reach new eyes.
All social media platforms offer advertising, so you can focus on the platforms where your audience lives online, whether that’s Facebook, Pinterest, or even LinkedIn.
Also known as PPC advertising, this type of advertising is determined by web searches. And since 86% of Americans regularly use search engines to find local businesses, it pays to be seen. By targeting keywords related to your company and industry, you can advertise on Google and Bing and pay per each click that users make on your ads.
PPC ads can become complex, which is why we recommend working with an agency that can take the goals you’ve determined above and turn them into a PPC strategy that will deliver results.
The companies you remember are those who take time to creatively educate and inspire. Blogging is one way to do this. It helps drive traffic to your website, establishes your thought leadership in your niche, and engages your audience.
Blogging regularly will also provide content to share on social media while helping improve your SEO ranking so you appear in more searches online. Focus on in-depth pieces that answer common questions, as these are 9x more likely to increase lead generation.
So let’s say you implement all of these recommendations. How long until you see results?
How Long It Takes to See Results from Marketing
Most marketing, especially blogging and social media, will take time to grow. Expect to work on these platforms for at least three to six months before seeing strong sales-based results. With email marketing and paid advertising, results can typically be seen within two to three months.
Like with most things in business, though, anything worth it takes time. Remember that you’re building the foundation now for a strong, thriving company in the future.
Investing in a long-term marketing strategy can be a difficult decision, but if you want to grow, then that investment will expedite it. Focusing on a thorough marketing strategy that includes email marketing, social media, advertising, and blogging will help ensure your business is found online so you can stay growth-focused.
By Marc Apple
Marc Apple is recognized as a leader in the marketing industry and has 20+ years of experience helping businesses of all sizes improve their digital marketing. He specializes in website design, SEO, social media, and paid search programs. He is a frequent contributor to other marketing websites and speaks regularly about marketing to small business owners and startups. To learn about Marc and to contact him, visit his author bio page.
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