5 Key Things to Make Your Marketing Work


Have you ever tried some marketing activity, only to find that it didn’t work? Over the years of working with small and medium sized businesses, I’ve heard this a lot: “Oh, we tried some marketing, but it didn’t work.” As a result, they become a little sceptical about marketing in general, and often think it’s an easy way to waste money.

If you do it right, there are 5 key things to do to make your marketing work.

1. Objectives

Set clear campaign objectives. Often the reason behind marketing "not working" is because clear objectives haven't been defined ahead of time. What would the marketing campaign have to achieve for you to declare that it has worked? What would make it successful?

For example, before you send out an email marketing campaign, have you estimated the number of responses you think the email will generate? Have you included a distinctive url or web page that recipients can click through to so that you can measure response? How many clicks would you need to consider it a successful campaign? This will depend on what your call to action is and what you’re trying to achieve (e.g. registrations for a webinar, number of people signing up for a free month of business tips, number of people using a unique discount code, etc). So before you start, get really clear on what exactly you’re trying to achieve. This will then help determine the next key components that you need to consider to make your marketing campaign “work”. 

2. List

Create your list. Your “list” is the list of people who will be on the receiving end of your marketing campaign. Who do you want to talk to with each marketing campaign? You don’t need to use the same message, artwork, offer on everyone. Your marketing will be more successful if you segment your database, create different lists for each campaign, and use a different marketing approach for different prospects.

Don’t feel like everyone on your database should receive or be exposed to every marketing campaign you create. Go back to your objectives and determine which people in your database are most likely to respond to the campaign you’re working on. Then only target it to them; don’t waste money sending an email out to everyone if you’re more likely to achieve a better response rate by sending it out to just the relevant segment. Don’t pay for a Facebook ad that targets a broad audience. And don’t advertise in a generalist magazine or on a broad reach website when you’d have better a chance of reaching your targets in a niche publication. Sometimes less is more.

3. Creative

The creative elements for each campaign should also be different based on the segment of your database that you are marketing to. Don’t feel like you have to use the same artwork and messaging for everyone when you send out a marketing campaign. Images, photos and language will generate different reactions for each of your target audience segments.

For example, a health club or gym may have a broad range of clients, but it shouldn’t be marketing to them all in the same way. What appeals to a 35-year old mother of three isn’t going to necessarily grab the attention of a 22-year old male. Remember, artwork is more than just the pretty pictures – it also includes your messaging, your copy, the words you use. Change it up, and test and measure.

4. Offer

Make sure that for each campaign you have a clear and relevant offer for the list (or segment of your list) that you are marketing to. What are you selling? What are you asking them to do? What is the call to action for your campaign?

Just as you might use different creative (artwork and messaging) for different prospects, you might also use different offers. This doesn’t necessarily mean you are offering your products or services at different prices. It can include packaging things up differently or just offering different components of your services to different audience segments.

For example, the gym owner might target the 35-year old mother with a “bring a friend” offer, thinking that she is motivated by the fun of working out with a buddy. On the other hand, the gym might target the 22-year old male with a free month’s supply of protein powder when they sign up to the gym for a year. The actual price of membership is the same, but the incentive is different. By the way, the gym here will honour the incentives to anyone, but it uses the different messages in specific marketing campaigns to appeal to the perceived interests of the recipients.

I’m working with a client at the moment who is a service provider, and she does a lot of marketing and promotion. She is very active in her marketing channels, particularly on social media. She has a great following and good brand awareness, and people have a pretty good idea of what she does. But she’s not getting the sales volumes that she is hoping for because prospects don’t know how to work with her. She isn’t putting a clear offer in front of them.

5. Measure

This step is often neglected by businesses who do their own marketing – the measuring and analysing results once a marketing campaign has run its course. Go back to the initial objectives you set for the campaign (e.g. 50 webinar registrations, 10 new clients, 35 clicks to the discount page, etc) and analyse how the campaign performed compared to the goals set. If you’ve set your campaign up correctly, so that you can track and measure its impact, then you should be able to measure its effectiveness. You can then clearly see where it has or hasn’t worked, and what you can do differently next time.

Yes, most of marketing is measurable. We’ll talk about that in a future article.

Until then, if you have any questions about implementing the steps above, or would like an initial chat to see how we can help, please get in touch.