Brand building is like weight lifting; you have to build on your previous work to make an impact. What strategy do you have for your marketing plan for the next 5 years?
It is vitally important to your company that you have a road map for how your clients and the public will be viewing your company. How do you do that? It’s tough…you do everything from clean the floors to accounting, sales and who knows what else. You make the excuse you don’t have time, “it’s not important to my bottom line right now”, or the famous one, “I don’t know what to do”… so you just do nothing.
Your competition is not sitting idle. I can promise you that and no matter how much marketing you do, it will never be enough, because you need to reach your customer from many platforms now: internet, smart phone, emails, newsletters, direct mail, print and on goes the never ending list!
So here is my very simple formula for marketing that I started with in January 2009 and since then I have slowly built up our marketing plan based on where I wanted to be in 5 years.
This is year 5 and we are on target with some things and behind on others. If you have a strategy then you can tweak it, but if you have no plan, you will go in circles forevermore.
Ask yourself where you want to be personally in 5 years? Does your business fit that plan?
Does your business fit in with your new lifestyle? (This was a tough one for me. I was sick from working in my own salons, but I loved my work and couldn’t see leaving my beloved industry for a different industry. I had to find a way to stay in the beauty industry because I knew that is where I belonged. I loved helping people look and feel their personal best.)
Ask yourself, “What skills do I need to learn to get there?” For me it was computer skills, aesthetic skills and learning as much about botany as I could.
Who can help me move in that direction? What resources are available to me? Who can I trust to assist me? What affiliations can I make or join to enhance this entrepreneurial experience.
Everybody respects entrepreneurs because we drive the economy, but few can relate to the crazy lifestyle we impose on ourselves. NLOWE has been that shorefast for me.
Learn as much about marketing as possible. Online is wonderful. I studied how to write my own press releases, business and marketing plans. I asked the Department of Innovation, Business and Rural Development to review my marketing and tell me if my ideas were realistic and achievable.
I had an outside consultant work with me on the business plan, it cost me ALOT and no, I was not buying shoes for a long while!! This plan allowed me to put the foundation in my business and included a very simple marketing plan for local branding.
Write down the 5 things your brand stands for and will represent to the consumer. Don’t add on anymore, it confuses you, trust me, in my 5 years I was spinning in a circle for one of them simply because there were too many core values, 5 is enough.
Your Business Vision Board. Go through 5 magazines that you normally would not look at and pick 5 pictures in each to coincide with your 5 core values.
Ask yourself who has these core values? Why are they important to me and my company? Will people easily recognize the core values in your messages? If your marketing messages do not coincide with your 5 core values, your business is going to experience a lot of turbulence that could have easily been avoided (Trust me!)
Choose the platforms you will use to send out the message. If you are on a shoestring budget at the very least you need to be on LINKEDIN, FACEBOOK and Twitter. Mailchimp is great for newsletters.
I was given this advice from a marketing guru in San Francisco last year. It got me back on track with my marketing strategy. Pin this board and values wherever you will see it most. Mine is 8” by 11” and is on my make up mirror and pinned on the back of my front door.
Last piece of advice: Ask yourself how bad do you want your business to succeed? Are you realistic? Is anyone going to buy your product or service? Do you have the stamina to ride out the first 5 crazy years? Will you be happy doing anything else? and finally, can you live with the outcome?
Lisa Walsh, began her career in the beauty industry at the age of 18 and has worked in all areas of the industry from consulting to product development. She is now the owner of Indigena, a company specializing in manufacturing natural and organic skincare products. To learn more about Lisa and Indigena, visit them online at www.indigenaskincare.com, or check them out on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.