In April, we continued our three-part Bank & Brews Marketing Skills Toolkit series with Startup Waco. In part one, we covered “Building a Strong Foundation” and in part two, we walked through “Leveling the Playing Field”. The Marketing Skills Toolkit is a practical guide to basic marketing strategies that was created in partnership with Startup Waco and the Downtown Waco Public Improvement District (PID). When surveyed, Waco business owners noted marketing help as their top need. Along with this awesome toolkit, Startup Waco and Extraco Banks are offering a free mentorship course called, Business Blueprints.
Part two of the series was led by Startup Waco’s Jon Passavant. In his mentorship of business owners, he often sees the same issues arise. Entrepreneurs often struggle to determine the fundamentals of their business, such as goals, purpose, and identity. He encourages entrepreneurs to ask themselves, fundamentally, what do they want their business to be. These core questions are laid out in section one of the Marketing Skills Toolkit. Once those questions are answered, you can move on to working on some actual marketing methods.
In the first piece of the toolkit entrepreneurs asked themselves “who am I?” and “what problems will I solve?”. In part two, they should be asking “how do I sell my product/service?”. This section covers topics like sales cycles, content marketing, digital marketing channels, and PR.
First, you’ll need to determine your marketing tactics. You can do this by determining a few things such as:
- How fast is your sales cycle?
- Who are you primarily selling to? (consumers or businesses)
- Where do purchases happen?
Once you have these questions answered, it’s time to create a sales goal. In other words, how do you plan on measuring success? This is the time to be realistic. While mindblowing sales would be incredible, that’s not always realistic. Define these goals by determining what a normal quarter would look like and what a really awesome quarter would look like. Now, what are you willing to invest to reach those goals?
If your goals are in place, it’s time to start determining what marketing content you will need to achieve those goals. What is content marketing? Content marketing includes any blogs, videos, emails, flyers, newsletters, and websites you use to market your business. Create a list of what marketing channels you are already using, as well as what you should be using. For some businesses, some channels make sense more than others. For example, if your sales cycle is very short, you’d be more interested in growing foot traffic to your business than creating long blog articles.
You might be asking yourself what marketing channels are right for you. Consider each of the following and determine what your strategy should be for each.
Almost every business should have a social media presence, even if you do not post often. Direct-to-consumer businesses can utilize both paid and organic social media to add credibility and visibility to their business. A major advantage to using social media is the ability to target your ideal customer with ads. Social media advertising is a great way to laser focus on your target customer by using attributes such as location, demographics like gender and age, and even their interests or pages they already follow or like.
Social media is also a great way to communicate with your customers. Read what users are saying or asking about your business and offer solutions.
Email marketing is one of the most effective yet underutilized tools for small businesses. Email marketing can increase traffic, grow and solidify customer loyalty, and create predictable sales boosts. Having a strong email list is a marketing gold mine. Build a list by capturing email addresses for each of your customers. Include a registration form on your website to learn more about updates, sales, and more.
A website is critical to the success of almost all businesses. Establishing a web presence is likely the most complex piece of digital marketing, but also the most important. Websites are much more accessible now than they were in decades past. There are several different companies who offer turn-key templates for sites. Filling in the blanks might seem easy enough, but creating a high-quality website takes some planning. Things to consider include goal setting, user experience, branding, and if relevant, e-commerce, SEO (search engine optimization) and SEM (search engine marketing).
Lastly, business owners should think through their Public Relations strategy. The purpose of PR is to strategically interact with others regarding your business. PR strategy should include relationships with the news, other business owners, reputation management (online reviews), and local organizations. The toolkit includes a great list of contacts in the Waco area.
After your marketing strategy has been created, it’s time to start thinking about tracking. Join us for the third and final part of our Marketing Skills Toolkit series, “Keeping Things on Track”, where we’ll discuss tracking ROI, collecting digital marketing metrics, and more.
Information about Bank & Brews
In partnership with Startup Waco, Bank & Brews is designed for anybody who wants to learn more about starting or growing a business! These monthly events are free and are now hosted in person and virtually. Visit Extraco's Facebook page to learn more about upcoming Bank & Brews!
About Extraco Banks
Extraco Banks and its affiliate companies are dedicated to building people, businesses and communities. Since the Great Recession, Extraco has extended over $2.5 billion in loans to 25,000 customers, while financially supporting over 1,275 community organizations working to create economic vibrancy, job growth and overall quality of life to our communities across central Texas. Founded as a cotton warehousing company, Extraco, at $1.5 billion in assets, is the largest and most comprehensive locally owned bank between Dallas and Austin, serving over 120,000 customers banking, mortgage, insurance and wealth & trust needs with creative and innovative excellence.
Learn more at: https://www.extracobanks.com/.