5 Basic Steps to Marketing

When you’re actively marketing your business, whether through inbound or traditional outbound channels, there are several things you need to consider. However, there are five core principles that you should definitely master no matter the type of marketing you are planning to do. These five things in no small part are the foundation to any good campaign – ignoring them or performing them poorly will most likely cause your campaign to fail. They are the essential components to every marketing or advertising campaign ever created.

To the list!

1 – Determine your Target Audience

Just because you THINK you know who you’ll appeal to does not mean you actually will appeal to them. It might even be possible that you are not covering all the options or the best possible option for your company. Take the time and do the research required to determine properly who you should be having the conversation with, it will save you a lot of time and money when you realize you’ve been targeting the wrong people or audience.

2 – Set Reasonable Goals

One of the most important steps people blow right by is setting reasonable goals. The key word being reasonable. If you’re just starting an inbound marketing campaign on Twitter you cannot expect to post once and have 8000 people retweet it to the masses or for there to be a response to the first ad you run in a magazine. Building a business takes time and so does building your advertising results.

You have to set your expectations to be realistic. Sure you can hope for great and amazing results but know that these things take time whether you’re building an outbound or inbound campaign. In the beginning especially, things might very well seem like they are moving at a snail’s pace. So, when you set your goals double and triple check that they are realistically attainable and make sure your balloon stays inflated and the machine keeps moving!

3 – Develop a Strategy

Believe it or not, statistics show, just doing a bunch of random crap leads to poopy results.

Once you have a reasonable goal you have to come up with a plan to reach that goal. Set bench marks that are attainable while still driving your campaign towards it’s ultimate goal. For example, if you’re just starting a twitter campaign setting a general outline of: 1st quarter get into conversations and followed by your target audience; 2nd quarter expand your reach and start selling yourself, 3rd quarter work to get followers to retweet, 4th quarter getting followers to buy in and “sell” on their own.

By having benchmarks for your progress you can more readily assess how the campaign is going. It also allows your team the ability to not be overwhelmed by the ultimate goal.

4 – Execute your Strategy

Well of course you have to execute your strategy right? Remember step 2? Setting realistic expectations? Well this is where step 4 often falls apart. You would be amazed at how many companies abandon their marketing strategy before it has had a chance at producing results.

An example: I have a friend that was given the task to create a marketing campaign that would achieve specific goals in 6 months. She crafted a multi-tiered plan with her team, implemented it and one month into the process the CEO had her change tactics because she hadn’t gotten the results he was expecting. She had presented to him the goals and manner in which the campaign would work, it was in fact ahead of schedule, but he had set completely unrealistic expectations based on something he heard at a networking event about, yes social media. Turns out he did the same with the next campaign. Needless to say sales there have dropped and his staff has had serious turn over since.

You have to execute your plan. If you’re plan is to get in shape and you decide after jogging to the end of the block that lifting weights is better, then decide after one bench press that riding a bike is better, then decide after 10 minutes of a spin class that a stair climber is better…etc….etc…you going to stay overweight and out of shape. The same applies to your business.

5 – Track Your Results

The last step is tracking. I can’t even tell you how many times I run into a business that is just pumping money into a marketing or advertising campaign and when I ask how they are tracking results they say “What do you mean?” Though all of these steps are important the previous four will be rendered completely useless if you don’t track what you’ve accomplished! Tracking your results in today’s day and age may be more complicated than ever but is even more essential.

Tracking your results using services, like what is provided by Hubspot, will not only tell you simple success or failure but will also tell you to what degree you succeeded or failed. Also it will give you extra data information such as demographics, times of day, days of the week what kind of people responded, what words to which they responded, and countless other bits of data that will help you fine tune the process to make it even more effective.

Results aren’t about just black and white success or failure any more, it’s about improving your connection with your perspective clients/customers. It’s about creating a more specific, more targeted, and more powerful marketing campaign. It’s about getting better results!

These are the five basic steps, if anyone wants to argue with them please feel free but these are most certainly the foundation for any marketing campaign and the only way to change those campaigns from failure to success!