10 unmissable steps to make a marketing roadmap that’ll turn your business around
Is your business stuck in a rut? If you’ve ever been four wheel driving and got stuck, I mean seriously stuck, you’ll understand this analogy.
It’s scary. You’re stressed and wondering how you’re going to get out.
This can happen to a marketing strategy in a small business.
We get stuck in a rut, doing the same ‘back and forward’ and not going anywhere.
It’s time to bring out the winch, hook it up to your business and pull it out. Follow this 10-step plan to winch your business out of a rut by making a marketing roadmap that’ll turn your business rig around.
Imagine, you’ve taken the family out on a camping trip. You’re enjoying a short drive to explore the area. What you didn’t plan on were deep, muddy ruts in a narrow side-track that looked like a good idea at the time.
You were committed. You had to take that track because turning around just wasn’t an option.
But now you’re stuck. Seriously stuck.
Wheels are spinning. Mud is flinging all over the doors and windows as you try to move forward and back, desperately hoping for traction. Your passengers are terrified. And the responsibility to get out of this mess is on your shoulders.
In fact, you’re wondering how on earth you are going to get out of this, if ever.
Now let’s say this is your small business. Your business rig, if you will.
Stuck doing the same marketing as you did yesterday, or even last year. With little or no traction, the mud is sticking, fast.
It’s time to bring out the winch and pull you out.
Every business needs a winch from time to time.
If you’re not familiar with a winch, it’s is a long rope spooled and fitted to the front of a four wheel drive (4WD). When connecting it to a strong winch point (eg tree or another vehicle), a small motor spools the rope back in and pulls you out of your sticky situation.
We’re going to hook one up to your business rig.
Step 1 – Take a step back
Take a step back and do a SWOT analysis of the situation – a review of your business rig’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
TIP: your focus for strengths and weaknesses is internal ie strengths and weaknesses of you, your team, the business and your offerings, how good your tyres are, etc.
Opportunities and threats are external ie the market, your competitors, consumer trends, economics or rain that’s setting in and threatening to make this mission impossible.
This is best done in a small team via a brainstorming session. So, huddle together so you can explore all the possibilities and manage any concerns.
Step 2 – What’s the best winching point?
Photo credit: Melissa Askew on Unsplash
Slowly step through the SWOT and look for the gems and activities that need to be done to help your business rig move forward.
This is where your strategy starts to emerge – your shining light. Those ‘ah-ha’ moments.
You’ll be surprised how much can be identified through this exercise.
Jot down all the possibilities and action items that present themselves. Canvas all the ideas. We’ll sift through and prioritise them later.
Step 3 – Have you taken the best track?
Consider your market position – is there are a gap between where you are today and where you want to be?
Draw up a market positioning map that suits your business rig. It’ll have 4 quadrants, with an x and y axis, typically based on price and quality, but not always.
A marketing agency might be mapped according to full-service and price. A florist might be niche product and niche market. A car manufacturer might be serious off-road and niche market.
Once you’ve pin-pointed your best track, start planning your resources to move in that direction.
Step 4 – Are your comms working?
Photo credit: Sebastian Hans on Unsplash
Review your customer personas.
Who are your ideal customers? When you’re communicating to your Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn followers, who are you really trying to talk to and why?
Many businesses struggle with this step, but if you’ve been in business for a while, chances are you already have a fair idea of who you’re reaching. You just haven’t taken the step of ‘getting inside their head’ to pull out the ideas for ‘how and what’ you communicate.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to understand the problems you’re solving for your customers, what their daily challenges are, their goals and what makes them smile.
When you understand how they view your offerings and that of your competitors, along with any objections or hurdles you need to overcome, your messaging becomes a lot sharper.
Step 5 – Are there gaps in your roadmap?
Image credit: Jeshoots on Unsplash
Review your product or service offerings.
Do they match what your target customers want and need?
Are they serving your business rig well?
Chances are, there’s a gap in your offerings. Perhaps you’re giving away value unnecessarily when alternatively, you can create a package and start charging?
TIP: Take a minute to map out your sales funnel, starting with the top, the middle and the bottom. Moving through the funnel starting at the top are your free offers, all the way to the bottom where you have your most expensive. Your aim is to have a nice spread of offers throughout. And don’t expect that a cold audience will buy your top-shelf (bottom of the funnel) product first-up.
By having your current key products and services defined and new developments mapped for the future, you’ll be ready to move forward with those opportunities.
Step 6 – Is your gear accessible and neatly packed?
Photo credit: Holger Link on Unsplash
Does your pricing model suit your target customers?
Do your price points support your market position?
Consider having a range of price points or even models, starting with free. My range of pricing models for example are retainers, pre-paid sessions, defined packages and once-off consults, all designed to suit price sensitivities and the stage of growth a business is at.
Product or service packages are also another way to cater better for your target customers. For example, when they buy x, they typically need y, so make it easy for them and you. So have your ‘gear’ ready to go for when it’s needed.
You need to get your business rig out of the rut lickety-split.
Step 7 – Who’s in your convoy?
Do your online and offline channels communicate well with your audience?
Consider your website – does it speak to your audience?
Are there any partnerships you can form to broaden your market eg complimentary products?
Channels are an under-utilised marketing lever or winch point I see in many businesses. Remember that tree or other vehicle from which to winch from? What’s yours?
Sure, your website is a key channel, but it’s only 1 channel. Imagine for a moment that websites didn’t exist.
Ha, crazy right?
How would you get to market (or winch yourself out)?
You’d rely more heavily on creating relationships with others that could help you reach your goals. Referral programs, complimentary products, joint product developments. That is, real-world, offline collaborations.
Maybe it’s because I’m an old-school marketer, but I see many opportunities left on the table because businesses have forgotten to look beyond technology.
One day, the tech may fail you. So, keep all your comms open and charged.
Step 8 – Can you be easily reached?
Image credit: Sven Piek on Unsplash
Do you have promotions and offers planned and ready to go?
The best promotions are tied to financial goals. Ie how many of x do you want to sell each quarter? Then, knowing your audience, what offers appeal to them? Create a calendar and plan out your offers and campaigns over the year.
Weave these into your social posts, but don’t rely on social media to do all the heavy lifting for you, unless you’re willing to put money behind. Your content marketing strategy plays a hugely important role here too.
This is the organic v paid equation. Which is better?
The answer is it – they’re both important. If you’re not ready to invest in an advertising budget, then don’t. Focus instead on producing quality organic content that helps your audience find and connect with you. There’s an emphasis here on quality. When you can afford an advertising budget, then strengthen your organic efforts with paid ads.
Either way, staying top-of-mind with a clear call-to-action is key. You’re not going to get pulled out of a rut if you’re not clear and consistent.
Step 9 – Hook up the winch
Photo credit: Neon Brand on Unsplash
By now, you’ve now identified the best tree to winch from.
Plot your actions in a 30/60/90-day spreadsheet. 30-day actions are your ‘low-hanging’ fruit, the actions you can tick off easily. These first actions help to make you and the team feel good about making progress.
Once those wheels are in motion, your business rig is well on its way to getting out of that rut.
The 30-day actions include parts of the 90-day actions, but broken down. Your 60-day actions are your, yep you guessed it, actions that need a little more time, but need a few things to happen first.
As for the 90-day actions, these are you ‘oh geez, that’s going to take some work’ actions. These actions are likely to be your most important. Ie Get business out of rut.
Step 10 – Start winching
Photo credit: Henry Perks on Unsplash
Assign yourself or your team the actions in a tool like Asana or Trello.
TIP: There should only be 1 owner per action. Consider ‘By Whom and With Whom’ to show who’s leading it and who’s supporting it.
And finally, how are you going to keep yourself accountable and on track? If you’ve got the outcomes tied to your financial goals, that’s as good a motivator as any.
Those wheels are now turning. The team is ‘whoo-hooing’ and sighs of relief can be heard.
You’ve got traction.
So, there you have it. My 10-step plan to winch your business out of a rut and turn it around. If you need a hand, I can help. I’ve pulled a few business rigs out of ruts in my time.
The only question left is, who’s shouting the drinks when we get back to camp?
Over to you
Could your business rig do with a winch?
Featured image credit: Ole Witt on Unsplash
Amy Annetts, a marketing specialist in Melbourne, has been practising marketing for 25 years. She creates marketing strategies that give small businesses an advantage over their competition. Amy blends her corporate and traditional marketing experience with the latest digital techniques. Using a full-scale marketing toolkit, Amy’s clients have access to effective campaigns that earn them more customers. And she loves a challenge, evidenced by her mad interest in outdoor obstacle courses, where she’s happy to climb walls, crawl under barbed wire and be covered in mud.
But that’s another story.
Get in touch to see how Amy can help you.