A Not-So-Typical In-House Marketing Guide for Small Business
What small business owners need to know about in-house marketing but are afraid to ask.
Marketing is not as simple as some think. Many people underestimate the expertise required to do it well. They are also often unprepared for the obstacles they will encounter. As a result, they bounce from one tactic to another, hoping to find something that works.
Many of them continue to battle a frustrating cycle of hit-or-miss results. Others quit altogether.
This post isn’t your typical “how-to” guide. I won’t recycle the same tips found all over the Internet. Instead, what you will learn in this article will show you how to succeed at in-house marketing.
Let’s get started.
Why Business Owners Struggle With In-House Marketing
I find many business owners don’t understand the scope and depth of marketing. They have little experience, if any, which leads to a host of other issues, such as:
- creating a marketing strategy or execute one
- hiring consultants, designers, and advertisers
- measuring success or knowing what statistics to track
- making adjustments to campaigns that aren’t working
- budgeting that supports their growth goals
As if these obstacles weren’t enough to overcome, two more considerable hurdles keep business owners frustrated and disappointed with in-house marketing.
Why You Don’t Get the Marketing Results You Want
Simply put, you must be an excellent marketer to get results.
Let that sink in for a moment. You must be great—not average, or even above average. To become great at in-house marketing, you will need two things.
The first is desire. If you are like most business owners, marketing isn’t something you enjoy. But if you don’t have the drive to become a skilled marketer, you will never be good enough to get the results you need.
The second thing you will need is time—a lot of it. Being a business owner myself, I understand how valuable and limited time is. But learning to be a great marketer requires commitment. So, if you plan to do it yourself, prepare to make a significant time investment.
How long will it take?
It depends. The more effort you make, the less time it will take. But think of it this way: you have likely spent years learning your craft; marketing is no different.
Don’t Be One of These Guys!
Years ago, I talked with a prospective client who was happy about the engagement he had gotten on a social media post earlier in the week.
“I got about ten likes on my last post,” he said. “I’d say I’ve got a handle on social media.”
But when I asked how many leads or customers he got from those ten likes, he responded, “Well, none. But some of these people will call me, eventually. Won’t they?”
Maybe. But this business owner didn’t know how to measure success. It is essential to understand what you want to do and how to achieve it. Otherwise, you will waste a lot of time, energy, and resources on marketing that doesn’t get results.
You Get What You Pay For
Another type of business owner who ends up killing his business’s growth potential is the one who thinks he can get away with spending dimes to make dollars.
I once spoke with a small business owner who believed he could get the same results from an intern making cold calls for $10 an hour that he could get from a professional marketing consultant.
When I asked what made him think that, he replied, “Anybody can make phone calls. I don’t need to hire a marketer to do that.”
Do you think someone could replace you with an intern?
I hope not.
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What You Need Before You Begin In-House Marketing
Budget is always a consideration. But in reality, you cannot hit your growth goals without putting some money to work. Knowing what data to track and how to adjust will improve your return on the investment.
Having unrealistic expectations about the return on investment will keep you frustrated. Instead, do the research and decide what is reasonable. Developing clear goals will help you become more efficient and effective.
Pro tip: Start with a marketing strategy.
How to Create an In-House Marketing Strategy
Focus on creating a good strategy before spending money on ads, SEO, events, or other marketing tactics.
Here are ten questions to help you develop a strategy:
1. Who are your target customers?
2. Do you understand their problems and can help them solve those problems?
3. Are you prepared to overcome price comparisons? If so, how?
4. Have you developed multiple offers to accommodate customers with different needs?
5. How do you differentiate your brand from competitors? Can you show people how you are unique?
6. Have you prepared content and landing pages for each target audience segment?
7. Do you have a system to maintain contact with people who have not yet decided to do business with you?
8. Are you using the right platforms to connect with your target audience? Are you showing up where they are?
9. Does your website lead people through the buying process, guiding them from one step to the next?
10. Do you have a way to generate more sales and referrals from your current customer base?
Analyze every aspect of your advertising, sales, and service processes. Align these will strengthen your message, customer satisfaction and build brand advocacy.
The more thorough you are, the more effective your marketing will be.
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Analyze every aspect of your marketing, sales, and service processes. Then, use this information to strengthen your brand message in advertising.
How to Calculate an In-House Marketing Budget
By now, you may be wondering, “How much do I need to spend?”
This article says that most small businesses spend an average of $400 each month on in-house marketing.
Is that too much?
How can you know?
I have never worked with any business—no matter how big or small—with unlimited funds. Regardless, it is essential to use the money you have as wisely as possible.
How to Calculate Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
To set a budget, begin with how much it costs you to acquire each new customer. This marketing expense is customer acquisition cost (CAC) or cost per acquisition (CPA).
There are a variety of factors used to figure customer acquisition costs. To calculate CAC, divide marketing dollars by the number of new customers generated over a given period.
Expressed as a formula, it looks like this:
Marketing dollars invested / number of new customers acquired = Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
Once you know CAC, use it to decide how much you need to allocate to achieve your growth goals.
For example, let’s assume your monthly revenue goal from new customers is $10,000, and your product or service price is $500.
You will need 20 new customers in the next thirty days to hit this goal. So, if your CAC is $100, a budget of $2,000 should get the job done.
The above calculation is a simplified example, but I have found that many business owners have no idea what their CAC is. It is almost impossible to set accurate goals to measure success without this figure.
How NOT to Set Growth Goals
Base your growth goals on your available resources and accurate data. Don’t pull numbers out of thin air.
Many business owners tend to be idealistic regarding results and end up disappointed when the actual numbers come in.
If you have been in business for a while, customer acquisition data already exists. But if you are not tracking it, now is the time to start.
Best DIY In-House Marketing Online Resources
In this section, I’m giving you some of my personal favorites for in-house marketing. These sites and tools will increase your chances of success.
It isn’t possible to cover everything here, but this will get you started.
Website & Landing Page Design
Search Engine Optimization
Social Media Marketing
Digital Marketing Training
Good Old-Fashioned Marketing Strategy
Marketing is a skill. As with any skill, it takes time to learn it, but you will get better with practice.
To become great at in-house marketing, you must be willing to invest time and effort. An average level of skill won’t be enough to generate the results you want.
If you need help, email your questions to me personally at email@example.com.
Until next time,
P.S. Want to know if you are on track to be successful with in-house marketing? Are you spending too much money on random digital marketing tactics that aren’t working? Click this link to get help.
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