Effective marketing is a phenomenal tool that can help to jumpstart almost any small to midsize business. As a consultant that specializes in working with small to midsize brands, I know firsthand how impactful the right strategy can be. However, many business owners that I speak with are having trouble figuring out where to start, especially when budgets are thin, bandwidth is limited, and the options are seemingly endless. Below, we will discuss how to prioritize short term vs. long term strategies and when they may be right for you.
Now this may seem obvious but the first step in any successful marketing strategy is a clear understanding of the end goal. Is it brand awareness? Is it sales? Is it customer retention and education? Figuring out what the end goal is will help to determine which channels will make the most sense to focus time and resources on. Once the goal is known, we can reverse engineer the strategy based on an understanding of how different marketing channels play a role in the short and long term.
So, let’s take a look at some of the most common short and long term goals and discuss the channels that can help to achieve them.
GOAL #1: Sales and Revenue
Time Frame: Short-Term
Driving sales in the short-term is one of the most common goals that I discuss with small to mid-size business owners. At the end of the day, sales and revenue are what keeps the business churning and the lights on, so the importance can not be minimized. With this said, efficiency is also incredibly important when budgets are tight so choosing the right channels is critically important so that money is not wasted.
Channel Recommendation: Social Media Advertising and/or Paid Search
There are many ways to drive sales through digital marketing, but one of the most immediate is through advertising. The most common starting point for brands is typically to leverage the big players such as Facebook and Google due to their robust ad capabilities. But how do you choose the platform that is right for you? In my opinion, it comes down to understanding their cost model in relation to your goals.
If the overall goal is sales and the secondary goal is brand awareness, Facebook will be a great starting point due to the reach possible through audience and interest-based targeting. On the flip-side if the overall goal is sales and the secondary goal is efficiency and protecting your dollar, then Google is a great solution. This is due to the Cost Per Click model that they use, meaning that you only pay for the advertisement when somebody actually clicks on the ad.
GOAL #2: Customer Retention and Education
Time Frame: Long-Term
As discussed above, acquiring new customers through advertising is a very effective way to spur early growth of a small business. However, it is not a sustainable strategy if those customers are not retained and repeat purchases are not secured. So how do we ensure that our customers become loyal members of our community?
Solution: Lifecycle Marketing and Content Creation
Channel Recommendation: Email/SMS and Written Content Creation
Unlike advertising, the true results driven through lifecycle marketing and content creation are not always apparent within the first month or two of implementation. That is why investing in these channels is just that, an investment. With that said, good things come to those who wait and your customers will thank you for putting their needs ahead of the immediate bottom line. The best part is that, over time, these strategies will drive even more revenue than simply churning through new customers. For example, we see many email strategies driving anywhere between 20-25% of total online revenue.
So what does this strategy look like? Leveraging the email channel effectively is all about understanding consumer behavior and showing up for them in a way that feels authentic. Study that data and create campaigns and automations that make the experience human. To take it a step further, create written content that resonates with what your customers are interested in. You can even leverage these topics and keywords to implement SEO tactics into your content so that, when it lives on your website, it turns into a lead generation tool.
Hopefully the above examples are helpful to get a sense of how to prioritize your marketing strategies based on your short and long term goals. To simplify things even further, the list below highlights some of the additional channels to consider.
SHORT TERM: Brand Awareness and Sales
● Facebook & IG Advertising
● Google Advertising
● Affiliate Marketing
● Influencer Marketing
LONG TERM: Efficiency and Customer Retention
● Email Marketing
● SMS Strategies
● Written Content Creation // Blog
● On Site SEO