Key to successful marketing is knowing your target audience: your ideal customer or client. By understanding who they are, you can discover where they hang out and of course by putting yourself in their shoes understand what’s keeping them up at night. Simple really!

The other essential ingredient for our formula is planning as this prevents the scatter gun approach, the ad-hoc spend and unsuccessful effort. This is where you set out clearly for the business your budget and how you are going to spend that hard earned money. It will help to ensure the right spread of marketing across appropriate channels, and which services or products to promote when e.g. there isn’t much point in promoting swimwear in winter for instance!


Six steps to smarter marketing

1. Create an avatar for your ideal client, write down what they want, what they know, who they like, what they need and the whys behind their need. The more you know, the better you will be at creating messages that are heard by your audience. Give your avatar a name and make him or her real.

2. Research where your client or customer hangs out, do they use social media, what publications are they reading, do they attend networking events? Make your list as comprehensive as possible and keep adding to it.

3. Don’t presume that you know what your client or customer need. Ask questions on social media, survey your present client list and listen!

4. Set a budget and remember this may need to include spend to outsource as you may not have the time or a team to take on the role. Don’t feel that you have to allocate spend across the year, perhaps there are quieter periods in your business when 
budget would be better spent or a particular time of year that you need to be promoting your business.

5. Be consistent with your brand and message, your brand being is so much more than your logo. List your values, think about your persona and voice and keep these in mind for all marketing effort.

6. Evaluate result from spend, tweak as necessary and learn from your activity. Keep a note of what did and didn’t work, develop your marketing strategy or plan and don’t let it gather dust on the shelf, get lost in the filing or become scrap paper!

Research and learn from your competitors, not because you want or should copy them because we are all different and individual but to help you understand what works. Concentrate on those you aspire to be rather than those ‘like’ you as this is a learning exercise as much as anything else.

Finally, don’t try to be clever, keep it simple. Sadly, time and attention are short, you need to show clearly and in plain English that you understand the problems faced and that you have or are the solution.