This is a part 2 of a blog we published. Click here to read part 1.
Knowing all the available options beyond SEO is one thing, but being able to implement them at the right time for your business is another. In this blog, we are here to inform you about when to begin each marketing strategy that we referred to in a previous blog, “Part 1: Focusing on SEO Alone isn’t Enough.”
Every business when it is just starting typically falls into one of four stages, and depending on where you fall will determine where you should focus your resources. At marketANDgrow, we like to determine this on two different axes: time and marketing budget. Classic, right? Below, you will find a graphic that you can refer back to as you read. Keep scrolling down to find an in-depth explanation as to why you should be doing your marketing in this order. This blog will help give you some guidance from day one of your company to when you’re ready to bring in an agency of your own.
Stage 1: Lots of time + no marketing budget
In the very early part of your business, you might not have had any money set aside for your marketing budget. However, you need to have a way of letting potential customers know that your business can solve a problem that they have.
Content marketing is your friend during this time. As we talked about in our blog email marketing, the first thing you should do after setting up your website is to add a place for people to sign up for your email list.
This is when content marketing comes into play since the goal of this phase is to get people to be interested in your business and sign up for your newsletter. Write blogs or make videos, and then create promotional content and post that on all your social media. Using social media during this time in your business can make a huge difference in your marketing. Don’t be afraid of social media marketing – just start putting content out there that feels authentic to your brand and focus on perfecting it over time.
As you expand to different stages, always keep up with your content marketing. It is an amazing tool that allows your customers and potential customers to know that your business is active and in touch with the current internet landscape. In the section of this blog called “Some advice from Sajid” Sajid, our founder, goes into detail about what measuring content marketing’s ROI should look like for you.
Stage 2: A good amount of time + little marketing budget
Congratulations, your business is making enough money that the 10% of revenue or projected revenue that you put aside for marketing is finally enough to run a substantial ad campaign. You may get excited about all the possible platforms where your ads could be successful. However, when you are spending less than $1k on advertising, focusing on one platform to run your ads will do you much more good than diluting your efforts.
Each channel has its own way of running ads, and when you’re doing it on your own it takes quite a bit of learning and applying to get to a place where your ads are giving you a good cost-per-click (CPC). Running ads on more than one platform with the budget that you’re working with will just lead to a lot of platforms having low-quality ads, instead of one platform having high-quality ads. Read our blog on “The Challenges of Learning or Running Google Marketing (Ads) By Yourself” to find out more.
We recommend using Google Ads if you’re just starting. Facebook and TikTok ads are what we call in the industry “cold” traffic. This means that your ads are being shown to people who aren’t seeking out a solution to their problems that you offer and therefore are just being shown the ads based on generalizations about their interests. Google Ads offers “warm” or “hot” traffic. This is because your ads are being shown to people who have searched for the problem that you solve, and therefore are a lot more likely to click on your ads since they are relevant to them at that moment. Google Ads finds people who are actually in the buying mode of their customer journey, and therefore the traffic that comes from Google tends to be of higher quality.
Stage 3: Some time + some marketing budget
Stage three is when you start to optimize your ads. Once you start making more money, and now have less time to focus on marketing, it’s time to focus on optimizing your ads. Maybe you have decided to branch out from the one platform you chose in the earlier stage, but now that you have gotten over your learning curve, it’s time to double down with the platforms you chose and optimize your ads.
Learning what works is a long process that takes time if you don’t have help. At this phase, you see that it’s working, but you need a mentor and guidance to get to the stage when you are ready to hand your marketing off. We have a lot of advice in our blogs about optimization, so be sure to check that out for help.
Stage 4: No time + large marketing budget
Phase 4 is when it’s finally time to hand it over to an agency or professionals. You don’t want to manage day-to-day execution, you just want to handle the high-level numbers. Choosing the right marketing agency for your business can be the difference between long-term success and a huge waste of money. We have a blog titled, “How Do I Choose the Right Google Ads Agency?” that will take you through the process of determining when the right time is for you, and what questions you should ask when you get there.
Spotlight on podcasting
If you are just getting started, we highly recommend that you begin a podcast. You may wonder, who will listen to me? But, trust us when we say that consistency draws audiences, and there are more benefits to running a podcast than simply having listeners.
Podcasts are a great way to make industry connections since you can leverage your podcast to go onto other podcasts. People will start seeking you out to be guests, and in turn, people will also reach out to have you come on their podcast.
Sajid sat on the idea of a podcast for 6 months. He was trying to perfect and polish it before the first episode even came out. He thought he needed to have an amazing soundtrack, polished audio, an amp, a good microphone, etc. He taught himself to mix sound using an Apple service, and he thought he needed an audio engineer.
Eventually, his coach made him pick a starting date stating that she would be his first listener. It gave him that push he needed, and his first podcast was recorded on zoom. He was stuttering and nervous, but it allowed him a place to grow from there. He used to add music and he had an intro and outro song… and now he doesn’t even do any of that anymore. He realized how much stress he was putting on himself before he began that was unnecessary. Learn from his mistakes and start right away. Polish your podcast later – with every week, your podcast will improve, but only if you are actually practicing podcasting.
Podcasting is an avenue that can allow you to mingle with industry leaders and titans. Plus, podcasts are blowing up these days and there are people out there that are hungry to listen. If you have ever thought about making a podcast, this is your call to stop messing around and get serious.
Some advice from Sajid
Measuring the return on investment of a single piece of content, like this blog post, is not only a complete waste of time but also completely inaccurate. Measure the ROI of the channel rather than the ROI of each individual piece of content when discussing “ROI.” You don’t entirely attribute the “ROI” of your gym results to that single round of biceps curls you performed three months ago. It is illogical. But the majority of marketers and business owners actually attempt to accomplish that with their content. Instead, understand that the impact depends on the accumulation of regular, high-quality actions taken over an extended period of time.
Focus on measuring the quality of the activity when it comes to optimizing your content strategy (e.g. comments, engagement from target customers, DMs received, etc.).
In the gym, you can measure what type of bench-pressing you did, how much weight you used, and how many reps you did. This isn’t about attributing “ROI” but instead about measuring the quality of the activity. You can do the same with content: you can read all of the comments and who wrote them (qualitative), you can listen to what people say in the DMs or on Sales calls (qualitative), and you can measure engagement like “views” or “likes” (quantitative).
These signals help you optimize the activity – what topics resonate with my audience? what is the best time to post? how frequently should I post? Does video or text work better? You get answers to important questions to improve your strategy, but it has nothing to do with proving or measuring “ROI”.
The whole mindset of measuring the “ROI” of a single piece of content persists from old thinking from the days of blogs and gated e-books in the early 2010s. That’s almost a decade ago. Things change. In today’s world, it’s time to focus on the bigger picture. STOP trying to prove the “ROI” of each individual piece of content. Instead, understand that the results are built through the accumulation of tons of content & touch points over a sustained period of time. START measuring the “ROI” of each channel overall instead of by each individual blog or video.
Contrary to what many people think or assume, marketing is not enchanted pixie dust. You don’t merely scatter some material and adverts online and your firm will suddenly attract a ton of customers. It doesn’t function like that. Because it takes time to inform your customers of the information they require in order to WANT to purchase your product (aka marketing).
We can help
If you’re in stages 1, 2, or 3, we can help you. marketANDgrow has a program you can join that is in a group learning setting. In this group, we give you advice on what the next steps for your marketing should be, and how you can do that.
If you think you might be in stage 4 and it’s time to just offload your marketing to someone else, be sure to fill out our discovery call form to get the process started with us.
In our last blog, “What happens during a discovery call?” we inform you about everything you should expect when you start the discovery process. To keep up with more of our blogs and the current marketing landscape, scroll down to sign up for our weekly Monday email newsletter.