A few weeks ago I made a trip up to the mountains to hit the slopes. It had been an exceptionally rainy week in Seattle and the snow report was promising the kind of conditions we almost never get around here, large amounts of soft, fluffy powder. As we arrived, the mountain workers directed us to the most obscure parking spot; they were really packing everyone in. As the car behind us tried to pull into its designated spot, it lost traction. The poor guy was so excited to get to the lifts and you could tell, from a distance even, that he was trying to be patient and have faith that he wouldn’t be stuck for an extended amount of time. He tried giving it more power, then less, then none while he walked around the car to survey the situation. Then he tried to ease on the gas really slow and, when that didn’t work, he even tried to back up. His efforts were not getting him anywhere. Finally, someone suggested he turn his wheel another direction. The car immediately cooperated and navigated right into the spot where it needed to be. Everyone around cheered him on and we all excitedly prepared our gear for what proved to be an epic day on the mountain.
Marketing for a small business can sometimes feel like trying to get a car unstuck. When your wheels are spinning but you’re not getting anywhere, it’s hard to know if you’re just slipping a bit and you need to stay the course, or if your efforts amount to a complete waste of time and energy.
The following pointers will help ensure that you maintain the perspective necessary to recognize when you’re spinning your wheels for too long.
Before launching any marketing initiative, make sure you have clearly defined what you’re trying to accomplish. Are you looking to get more clients to pick up the phone and call you? Are you trying to sell a specific service? Do you want more people to sign up for your newsletter or follow you on social media? Whatever it is, write it down and set a target for the specific measurable goal you are hoping to achieve.
What happened? Did you get more calls? More sales? More engagement? How much? Analyze how your message was received and if it had the impact you intended. There are a lot of measurement tools available, and they can sometimes seem overwhelming. However, when you create specific goals circling back to figure out if you fell short, met, or exceeded your targets doesn’t need to be complicated.
Use the knowledge gained through your measurements to modify your approach. When you stay engaged with your marketing messages and methods it won’t take long for you to recognize when something is working and, sometimes more importantly, when it isn’t. Make sure you’re using this information to continually refine your efforts.
Your marketing activities amount to much more than simply attracting new clients. You are creating a public image of yourself. You’re reinforcing what your existing clients already know and demonstrating your value to the to the clients you’ve yet to meet.
When you're engaged with your marketing activities and tracking your results, you'll have the perspective necessary to recognize when you need to give yourself a little more gas, when you need to change course, and when you need to call the tow truck.