Whether you are starting your own business or you are already a CEO or Marketing Manager at an SME, finding new ways to stretch your budget and optimize your team can be tough.
Are you noticing that no matter how much effort you dedicate to Marketing strategies, your tactics don’t cause an impact, sales are dropping, and your stress level is increasing? You’re starting to feel hopeless that there is not enough time or resources to achieve desired results. Sound familiar?
Don’t worry, you are not the first leader to encounter these common Marketing problems. In a constantly changing business environment, it can be hard to know exactly how and where to dedicate your Marketing efforts for maximum return.
Read these 6 tips to learn how to maximize your Marketing impact with a small team and budget.
1. Spread positive brand awareness through storytelling
The first thing to do before diving into action plans and spreadsheets, is to take a step back from the stress and remind yourself of your company’s story and mission. It’s important to define your business ambitions and objectives, implement a “storytelling” mindset, and create positive awareness for yourself, employees, customers, followers, friends… According to Quantified Communications, "messages delivered as stories can be up to 22 times more memorable than just facts".
By focusing on the “why” behind everything that you’re doing, you will better encourage and engage all people involved with your business. Stress and negativity will fade away, and a positive, motivating atmosphere and mindset towards your company will come about. It’s all about making sure that your team love what they do (even if it’s hard work), engaging them with your mission, and converting them into your best brand ambassadors.
Make sure you share your story at all types of business events, social gatherings, and even at dinner! Some tactics for spreading positive brand awareness, increasing recognition, and gaining free promotion are:
- Include an “Our Story” section on your website, where you explain your vision and mission from a first person point of view. The more compelling your story, the more likely it is to get picked up by the media and online followers. It’s a great way to increase confidence among your visitors and engage referrals.
- Create blog and social media posts that talk about your employees and business culture. These kinds of "behind-the-scenes" materials will show the human side of your business and will erase any doubts or concerns people may have regarding your activity. Consider guest blogging for other sites to spread your message even further.
- Partner with influencers or brands in your industry that share your mission and values. Being associated with the right type of people can do wonders for your brand image, and having partners that that believe in your company is an invaluable asset.
With a more positive mindset and business environment, you’ll find that the rest of these steps for maximizing your Marketing impact are easier to take on.
2. Create or reorient your Marketing roadmap
It’s time to create, review, or reorient your Marketing roadmap or strategy. This is where your Marketing efforts are leading during the next quarter, trimester, or year, with specific actions and goals in mind.
There are many factors that must be included in your Marketing strategy:
- Define specific goals: You must know the results you want to obtain and make sure that your team is aware of them. Bring your team together to define objectives and establish responsibilities. Use SMART goals; they should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.
- Focus on the right Marketing actions: According to the Pareto Principle, 80% of results come from just 20% of efforts. Study where your actions can be most effective and focus your efforts there to obtain first results. Start by focusing on one channel or campaign - you don't want to stretch your team or resources too thin. Later, when you have more resources, you can focus on what's left.
- Develop an editorial process: With the help of an editorial calendar you can plan, organize, and track upcoming campaigns and activities. You'll always know what's been done and what's coming down the pipeline, and your team will be better aware of their timelines and responsibilities. Lack of organization and collaboration can be the downfall of any company, no matter how great their individual employees are!
- Measure and track results: You won't know if you've reached your goals if you don't track results! Be constantly measuring, testing, and tracking results - don't wait until the end of the campaign or timeline to do so. This way, you'll be more agile and can immediately correct errors or change course. As a leader, make sure your team develops report templates to measure performance over time, which will help you make long-term strategic decisions.
3. Optimize your Marketing team
This is a pretty obvious step, but something that is often overlooked during busy periods and times of crisis. You need to clearly define the roles of your team members. Big companies will have an advantage here, as they can divide tasks among a multitude of employees, but for a startup with limited team members, you will need to get creative…
There are 5 essential roles that your Marketing team must have in order for your company to grow and succeed:
Marketing Manager or Director: This is probably you! The Marketing Manager serves as the ringleader of all Marketing efforts, implementing a clear and well-defined strategy to promote and position the company. They use reports to observe trends, make decisions regarding future actions and tactics, and organize their team to assure everything stays on track and on budget.
Content Marketing Specialist: Not only creates valuable & high-quality Marketing materials (such as blog posts, landing pages, ebooks), but also understands content strategy, or how to target specific Buyer Personas at different stages of the Buyer's Journey. Content is at the core of the Inbound Marketing methodology, so you may want to consider a team of writers or freelancers to help you generate sufficient content. Finally, your content specialist should ideally have knowledge of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in order to maximize your content's online visibility.
Graphic Designer: Takes care of your company's visual materials, from infographics to website photos to your logo. The graphic designer should create a style guide or brand book that defines your brand's colors, typefaces, choice of visual elements, sizing, etc. in order for all visual materials to be cohesive and in line with the image your company is trying to present.
Community Manager: In charge of your brand's online presence, mainly via social media. Their role is to create a social media strategy in line with your content plan and business objectives, curate social content, share Marketing messages, and interact/engage with your followers. Don't forget, even for B2B, social can be a powerful channel for lead generation.
IT Specialist: The "techie", they take care of the functionality and maintenance of your website and CRM. Top priorities include fast loading times, easy navigation, device responsiveness, fixing errors, etc. Above all, they should be focused on a quality user experience and seamless website.
Now, small businesses often find employees wearing multiple hats; that’s to say, they perform more than one role. That’s okay, and that’s actually encouraged as it fosters creativity and collaboration (as long as employees aren’t overworked – this can lead to burnout). Make sure you're aware of each employee's strengths, and actually ask them what duties they'd like to perform or explore. The best way to maximize your team is to improve the abilities of existing team members!
4. Automate, Automate, Automate…
Why spend time grinding out reports or performing manual tasks when automated processes and programs can do it for you? Automation is key to scaling any business and focusing on more strategic business decisions.
Nowadays, automated tools, like those included in the HubSpot platform, help us take care of our prospects, leads and customers in a personalized way, but without dedicating a huge amount of our precious time! Enabling automation lets your company work around the clock, no matter where you’re based or what time zone you’re working in.
Moreover, automation combined with the Inbound Marketing methodology will help you always provide your leads with the right information at the right time and place…without spending hours analyzing your database.
All of these areas can be automated in your business:
Email Marketing: Send personalized emails to your leads and customers with the use of personalization tokens, automated emails, and lead nurturing cycles. You’ll strengthen your company’s relationship with them without needing a team member to write personalized emails all day long.
Marketing and Sales Processes: From form submissions to email replies to document downloads, you can automate follow up processes for just about any Marketing or Sales activity.
Database Organization: Maintain your database by automatically updating database properties according to contacts’ behavior, web activity, etc. You’ll no longer need to manually go in and update contact records, so your data will be more reliable and you’ll also save tons of time.
Internal Communications: Gone will be the days of sending annoying follow up emails to team members, asking about the status of tasks. You can now automate emails, notifications, and tasks for your internal team and check in on their progress on the platform.
Chatbots: Add chatbot automation to your website or blog to handle customer queries. The HubSpot chatbot, for example, can do everything from search your knowledge base to give automated responses to schedule meetings with a sales agent.
Sales Materials: Set up automation to send meeting links, quotes, or invoices to prospects from your Sales team.
The power of automation is incredible and will help you maximize your Marketing impact in ways you never thought possible. For small Marketing teams or budgets, automation is the answer to getting all of your tasks done and achieving those lofty goals!
5. Invest in Marketing tools and training
A small Marketing team equipped with the right tools can be very effective. Use of the right technologies can streamline, complement, and automate many of your business processes. Important tools for any business include:
Marketing Automation Platform & CRM: At mbudo, we are proud to be Platinum Partners with HubSpot, a top-ranked Marketing Automation platform that allows your to manage all Marketing, Sales and Service activites in one place. And it comes with an impressive CRM. Other great choices include Marketo or Pardot. Discover our comparison posts: HubSpot vs Marketo and HubSpot vs. Pardot.
SEO/SEM Tools: The importance of SEO can't be overlooked in the digital age. It's the best way to grow your organic traffic online - for free! Thus, SEO tools like the Google Keyword Planner are key for researching keywords for organic and even Paid Ad campaigns. HubSpot recommends these additional tools for SEO.
Graphic Design Programs: For high-quality ebooks, infographics, and photos, many businesses rely on programs like Illustrator or Photoshop; however, there are also great free tools like Canva.
Analytics: Maybe you use Excel spreadsheets and that’s fine. But automating your analytics will save your team a ton of time and energy. Tools like Google Analytics or the HubSpot Reporting Tool can provide you with customized metrics and graphics to track traffic, contacts, performance, and more.
Did you know that only 21% of businesses invest in training or tools to improve employee productivity? It’s important to invest in the right tools, but it’s also important to show that you’re investing in your employees and that you care about their knowledge and growth. Training will make sure that you are all engaged with the latest trends, strategies, and know-how, which will in turn give you an edge on the competition and increase your chances for business success. For example, the HubSpot Academy features dozens of courses to train your team in all things Marketing and beyond.
6. Outsource Marketing activities for expertise (and to save resources!)
No matter how much you’ve optimized your strategy and internal team, sometimes you still need outside expertise to take over certain accounts or specialized tasks. Let's say you must come up with a detailed proposal for lead scoring for your most important client. It’s always best to count on professionals who have years of experience and a good track record of successful results.
In outsourcing your Marketing activities, you will be delegating tasks to proven Marketing experts or a specialized Marketing agency that can implement new strategies or improve existing ones. An outside perspective will also bring new ideas and viewpoints to your team and clients.
The 3 main reasons businesses externalize all or some of their Marketing tasks include:
- Expertise: Contracting a specialized Marketing agency ensures that important tasks are handled with care and that your clients are always satisfied with proposals and results.
- Cost-effective: You won’t need to spend time and money hiring new people, and you'll also avoid the risks and legal obligations that come with adding a new team member.
- Save time: Now that you’re not wasting time on tasks that are out of your depth, you can focus on your team’s strengths and strategic business decisions.
As a leader, you want to be confident about succeeding with your small Marketing team or budget. By following these 6 tips, you will be! Remember, it’s all about maximizing and optimizing, and of course, being creative and thinking outside the box. If you're interested in learning more about Marketing Strategy for Startups/SMEs, get in touch with mbudo. We are a specialized Inbound Marketing agency, and our team of experts can make up for any Marketing role or specialization that you lack.