Too often businesses take an unplanned approach to their marketing, either following the crowd or acting on a hunch they decide to "try it and see". But it's the fastest way to blow your marketing budget. 

True marketing magic happens when the right product or service, with the right message meets the right people, at the right time, on the right marketing platform. Though, to do that you need a strategy, and you need to test and measure your results. 

So stop doing what you think you should be doing, what the company down the road is doing or what you heard would be good to try and start strategising the best way to create the marketing magic for your business. Here are five tips to get you started. 

1. Qualify your marketing efforts

In order to make the most of your marketing campaign and investment you need to:

  • Check there is a need for your products or services
  • Craft messages that are relevant and emotionally engaging with the audience that have the need
  • Ensure the platform or strategy you use will reach a large amount of the audience you are targeting 

When you start to evaluate your marketing efforts, strategies and opportunities even on this simple criteria, by asking is it relevant and targeted to your audience and reaching a high percentage of those you are targeting, you can quickly protect your budget from marketing strategies that "everyone is doing" and start to see what to say yes to and try, and what to say no to or stop. 

2. Know the purpose 

Whatever marketing or advertising you do, there needs to be a clear purpose for it. You need to know what you want someone to do after reading or hearing the specific message you have created, as this will impact the call to action you use. 

Is it to call you? Go to your website? Sign up to the mailing list? Buy immediately? Once you know what you need them to do, you can then make sure your copy, call to action and incentive all work together to make it happen.

3. Ensure there are real benefits or an opportunity to get a return

It sounds obvious, but many marketing campaigns have been done under the guise of "increasing brand awareness" (sponsorship can be an ideal example of this) which is fine if you have brand awareness to start with, have a large marketing budget to play with or if it's a highly relevant and targeted opportunity, but it's impact is very hard to measure. 

Whatever you look to invest your marketing dollars in, there needs to be real benefits and return. So, to use the sponsorship example, find a way to proactively reach your audience in a measurable way like sponsoring a prize and getting the business cards of those who enter. 

4. Test your message on a smaller campaign 

Before you embark on a larger marketing or advertising campaign test your headline and message on a smaller one. 

It could be through a focus group, survey, Facebook advertising campaign, a Google Adwords advertisement or a smaller mail out to test and measure the results. Better to find out a message doesn't work on a small scale with a small investment rather than a large one. 

5. Don't confuse persistence with foolishness

While you need to allocate a set amount of time to tell if a product, message, platform or strategy is working, you don't want to keep wasting time, money and effort on something that isn't. 

To prevent this from happening, set a cap or measurement on your efforts. It could be a time limit, or a set amount of mail outs you do to in order to test the product or service, message or platform to see if it is getting a response. 

As entrepreneurs we need to be mindful that sometimes business ideas, products or services and marketing campaigns don't work the way we think, want or hoped they would. 

When this is the case, it is important for your business and your bottom line to stop instead of persisting, put it down to education and move on to the next project, idea or strategy.

How do you ensure your marketing is strategic?

Amanda 

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