Full of big ideas but have to keep the bottom line in mind? We all wish we had tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of dollars to spend on digital campaigns, market blitzes and trade shows. Plus, hiring a top-notch in-house marketer to take control of the marketing wheel is both expensive and time consuming. Most startups, small and even medium businesses need to bootstrap their way to growth.
But what are the core marketing tools you need to generate sales? What is really going to tip the scale with a small budget and small staff?
Many businesses start off by requiring their team to wear many hats. Maybe someone in operations is also managing marketing, or there’s only one entry- to mid-level employee running all your marketing and communications without oversight. Maybe you have social media channels that act as a kind of interim website until you can raise enough money to hire a website developer.
No matter how you plan to allocate your dollars, here are “3 Marketing Musts” for any business looking to rise from new kid on the block, to best seller.
Build Your Brand Identity
Powerful branding helps companies establish an emotional connection with their customers. In fact, according to our brand strategist, Kristine Root, “A well-designed brand foundation will greatly increase the impact of every marketing action you take.” That’s why you must build your brand identity right from the start.
A strong brand is made up of a combination of words, visuals and actions that come together to show the personality of your company, and create a meaningful connection with your customers. This work should be done before any marketing efforts reach your target audience. Otherwise, you’ll waste money now on scattered or ineffective marketing efforts that need to be revamped at a higher cost later.
So, before you build your website, before advertising, before ordering sales materials and swag and T-shirts and signage: build your brand identity, including your brand purpose and core messaging.
Quality Over Quantity
We’ve all heard the saying “quality over quantity” before, and it can be applied to nearly anything in life. When you apply this to business, it means that if you’re going to create something, you must do it right the first time.
Photography, video and your website are great examples. All three of these assets need to be of the highest quality possible, as they communicate your brand to your target audience in a way that goes beyond just telling your story. They get customers thinking: do I relate to this brand? Are these products something I’d want to spend my money on? What does this business actually offer?
If you choose to skimp on quality, the marketing assets you create will represent your brand poorly to someone who otherwise would be interested in purchasing your product or service. This doesn’t mean that you need to get the best of the best from the most expensive photographer, videographer, or agency; but it does mean that you MUST make it a priority to create quality assets that properly represent your brand.
Think Outside the Hiring Box
Quality applies to every aspect of your business, including hiring. Don’t deny your business the expertise it needs just because you can’t hire full-time staff across every department. Having the right people on your team is a must for any business, no matter how much money you’re working with.
That’s why consultants exist for every department. Top CEOs and entrepreneurs across the world talk about how hiring people who are “smarter” than they are, or those who excel in their field, is what allowed their business to succeed. It’s exactly why certain agencies, like ours, offer top-level “fractional” manager and director services for their clients.
Hiring a Fractional Marketing Director for the short term can help you cut costs and save time, as not all startups have the oversight, benefits or space needed to handle a full-time, top-level employee. Conversely, a Fractional Marketing Director is also a cost-effective way to manage less expensive full-time marketing staff that may not have the experience to run a brand from concept to execution. They can come in at anywhere from 10 hours per week to 10 hours per month to make sure your business is making the right decisions regarding marketing tactics and strategy, and that you execute them properly.
If you need help figuring out if hiring an agency is best for your business, check out our blog on what to consider when choosing to hire a consultant or in-house staff member, and/or give us a call to discuss what would work best for you.