It’s inevitable. No matter what line of work you’re in, at some point someone is going to ask you for professional advice. To the accountant: ‘Hey mate… how about you do my tax for a case of beer?’ To the HR consultant: ‘Hey mate… any chance you could look at my CV for me?’ To the sparkie, the plumber, the builder: ‘Hey mate… why don’t you come over after work? Wouldn’t mind getting your take on the reno we’re thinking about.'
It must be a whole lot worse for anyone in the medical profession, right?
When you work in marketing, it’s often: ‘Hey mate, might just bend your ear about a new website’ or ‘Can I pick your brain about how to make my social work better.’ Let’s say my mate’s a local plumber and he’s asked me the question.
Of course I’m happy to help… but my answer is usually a long list of questions! Scroll on through to see my top 5 questions you can ask yourself that will help solve your marketing problem. (And why we love it when business owners come to us with a question rather than their proposed solution!)
First, it all comes back to why. (For more on this, check out Simon Sinek.)
What’s your why?
Tell me what’s happening with your business and why you think a website will fix that problem in your business? Why do you want a website? Are you looking to grow the business? Or maybe you want to….
- Keep up with your competitors
- Attract your ideal customer
- Pick up new inquiries as opposed to referrals
- Kick off a recruitment drive
- Build an online inquiry form so your phone stops ringing in the middle of the night
- Stop answering the same questions over and over again.
A website is going to help with all those things. But it’s a good idea to pick your focus.
Some business owners come to us with the clear aim to top the Google rankings. That can happen, but it will involve a significant investment of time and money. Check out this great Banter blog for more.
Who are you talking to?
So who’s going to use this website? Maybe they’re people like me - I have an emergency, I need a plumber. But maybe they’re property managers who work for real estate agents. So the information you have on your website will be all about helping those property managers - answering their commonly asked questions so that when they call you they feel informed, you can meet their expectations, and they feel confident about sending their clients to you.
If you’re in the early growth stage, you might be saying yes to everything that comes your way. So you’re definitely going to need your number right up front, and probably an emergency information page, to help people know what kind of questions you’re going to ask when they call you.
A side note here: sometimes marketing strategy overlaps into business strategy. Actually, scratch that. More than sometimes. A lot. At this stage I would encourage the business owner (my mate the plumber) to really think about which sorts of clients are the ones he really, really wants. Who makes him the most money? Who does he love working with? Who makes him feel like an expert in his area, if that’s what he wants to be? The role of marketing is to assist the business in reaching its goals. So we need to know the business goals FIRST before we can determine how marketing will best assist to achieve these goals.
Where are your people?
The beauty of working with a marketing agency is that we can help answer questions like this. You might not know where your ideal customer is - which social media platforms they’re on, for example, or in fact, the role that social media might play in a customer’s awareness or decision-making about working with you - but we can help figure it out. That’s another great reason for you to come to us with your marketing problem rather than launching straight into what you think you need.
What do they already know about you?
A lot of business owners start with the logo. That’s important, sure. But… and we say it all the time… a logo is not a brand. (That’s a link to the topic by Banter’s Art Director Lach Newinsky.)
When we take it back to my mate the plumber’s website, I’ll ask: what do you want your business to feel like? Should it feel big, like you’re well established and have 50 people working for you? Or more like you’re a smaller, independent business that gives bespoke care?
What this comes back to is: what do you want the website to feel like in order to attract the right kind of clientele? (That is, see above!)
Have you got your sh*t together?
At some point you’re going to need to share access to your logins. If you’ve lost track of your host provider because someone set it up for you and they’ve left the business… it can get tricky. So factor in making a start on rounding up all that info.
Do you have the budget to be in more than one place?
How much have you got to spend on this new marketing adventure - to set it up and to keep it going? How much are you willing to spend to change your business? It’s not unusual for a small business to invest in the good old Yellow Pages and sponsor a local sports team. That’s important stuff, especially for brand recognition in your local community.
Realistically, you’re going to get better value out of an integrated marketing strategy that puts your brand in front of the right sets of eyes.
So they go to Google to search for a plumber, they see your business name and recognise your logo from their kid’s soccer jersey, or your work truck or wherever, quickly see that you offer what they need and make the call. In between, they might also check out your Google reviews and your social media profiles. All of this is called a Customer Journey, and it helps determine if your business is visible in all the right places, for all the right steps in the decision making journey.
Now do you need to be on Facebook or Instagram? Probably, but not definitely. The great thing about Facebook is that your happy customers (or friends and family, let’s face it!) can tag you when people do a call-out for recommendations. Does anyone want to follow a plumber on Instagram? Maybe, maybe not. But it’s another proof point for leads to see who you are and what you do, to identify with your business. If you’d like to learn more, check out this Banter blog about why social can be your greatest asset.
Social media can help people find you, too, but ultimately you want to go where your audience is. The audience for my mate the plumber is probably not on TikTok - but they might be! You need to be clear about the role of the channel and how people use information on that channel when making decisions.
In the name of integrated marketing, what are you willing to do that’s a bit outside the square?
Hopefully what you’re noticing here is that I love love love questions. I love to interrogate, to dig deeper, to really get to the heart of what you’re trying to achieve.
Are you willing to do something a bit cheeky, like a billboard outside the hardware shop that says something like, “Seems too hard after all? Give me a call.”
Maybe you’ve never even considered email marketing (which we know still has a very high return on investment). Are you open to setting up a quarterly newsletter, to take advantage of cross-referral network opportunities?
Would your clients appreciate a special piece of luxe merchandise that reminds them of the quality of your work? What would that look like?
How does this fit into your overall plan?
Obviously as marketing professionals we fall back to strategy every time. Sometimes we write integrated marketing strategies that are 60 pages long and involve weeks of desktop research and interviews. We also put together straight-to-the-point, easy-to-follow action lists for you to work your way through - and our small business clients in particular really, really appreciate those.
What I’m getting to here is this: if you come to Banter Group with your marketing problem, you’re going to get advice that’s tailored to your business and your priorities. We’ll set you up for success based on what goals you want to achieve.
How do we do that? By asking lots and lots and lots of questions. Come to us with yours.
Got a business problem that you’d like to work through? Let’s continue the conversation. Contact Banter Group and tell us about your goal.