You know you need to be doing something – anything – to get your marketing moving. But what? You wake up at 4 in the morning again and run through the endless options in your head, the sound of your other half sleeping peacefully next to you doing nothing to calm the rising sense of panic you feel as you go through each in turn.

setting marketing goals

Choosing where to spend your marketing time and effort can seem overwhelming

There’s Facebook, but hardly anyone sees your posts anymore. There’s paid listings on other websites. But there’s so much competition from the hundreds of other providers. Perhaps an ad in a glossy magazine would be good. Or maybe you could finally try to get your head around Twitter.

Four hours later you’ve had no more sleep and are no further forward on what to do next, but you switch the computer on and start working through the day’s to-do list, as you do every other day, hoping that “marketing” won’t make it to the top any time soon….

There’s a baffling choice of things you could be doing to get found online, but wouldn’t it be better if you could clear through the piles of clutter and finally see the wood for the trees?

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Instead of losing sleep, wasting hours scrolling endlessly through blog posts about SEO, e-marketing and social media, why not take one small step today that will change how you approach your marketing for the rest of your life?

Why so much confusion about marketing?

Right now there are hundreds of social networks where you could be marketing your holiday business. The rapid growth of the internet means we spend more time browsing the internet today than doing almost anything else, including watching television, listening to the radio or reading.

Print advertising in the newspaper

Fewer marketing options 20 years ago meant easier decisions but poorer targeting and higher costs

Twenty years ago it wasn’t too difficult to get noticed if you knew what newspapers your customers read, what TV channel they watched, approximately where they lived and had the budget to spend on a glossy ad. Today it’s much more complicated.

“We’ve gone from being exposed to about 500 ads a day back in the 1970s to as many as 5,000 a day today.” Jay Walker-Smith, Yankelovich Consumer Research.

How on earth do you stand out when there are thousands of other marketing messages trying to catch our attention (and our attention span has never been so short)?

And it’s not looking like it’s going to quieten down any time soon. 146,000 new small businesses have started in the UK since 2014, which is an increase of 1.9million since 2000, and they’re all thinking about ways to sell their products and services to consumers.

But there is light at the end of the tunnel. You can clear through the clutter and get found by people who want to buy what you have. There are just a couple of simple steps to take before you get started.

The steps:

Know your goals

You want more bookings. I get that. But let’s break it down a bit.

goal posts

Setting goals for your marketing is the most effective way to get results

Last weekend I ate out at a local restaurant with friends. I wanted food because I hadn’t eaten since lunch time, but I didn’t just ask the waiter to “bring me food”. I looked through the menu and chose exactly what I wanted: sweet and sour chicken. Then there was the side order: egg-fried rice. And finally the drink: Diet Coke (I was driving). The elements went together perfectly and the additional good conversation made for a fantastic evening.

Why am I telling you what I ordered for dinner? Because wanting “customers” is like me just wanting “food”. It’s not specific enough to satisfy your needs. Breaking down the goal into more specific elements makes it much easier to achieve and more satisfying.

Let’s take an example. Instead of just wanting more customers, let’s say we want to increase the number of people subscribed to our mailing list. Email marketing is the most effective form of building relationships with potential customers, converting their initial interest in our business into bookings through a long-term strategy of providing consistent value through email.

This means we email them regular news, updates, offers and info that is both relevant and interesting to them.

Break it down into manageable tasks

sliced apple

Breaking your marketing down into more manageable chunks makes it easier to manage

We know email marketing converts into customers, so instead of defining our goal as “get more customers” let’s instead say one of our goals is to “get more email subscribers”.

Now we can start to decide what type of marketing we should be doing to increase those subscriber numbers.

When I eat out, there are a number of things that need to happen before I sit down at the table with friends. We need to agree a data, decide a time, book the table, agree on designated drivers, arrange a meeting point, find a parking space, pay for car-parking (probably), find the restaurant and browse the menu before ordering and settling down for a pleasant evening.

The same is true for your marketing goal. Growing an email list takes time and a number of smaller steps.

One of those small steps could be introducing a discount to new subscribers – often we will happily give our email address in exchange for money off a product we’re interested in purchasing, so perhaps you could give new subscribers a discount code to save 20% off their first booking with you.

How will you set that discount up? Do you need to add it to your booking system? Will you do it manually when you take the booking?

lead generation using facebook ads

Once the discount is set-up you need to promote it to people who visit your website, to encourage them to join your mailing list. This may be through a pop-up subscriber form, or perhaps you will embed the form in the sidebar of your website or in the header and footer. You will also want to promote your discount through your social networks to encourage people who have already followed you to subscribe.

There are paid advertising options on all of the main social networks, so you might like to run a Facebook ad, targeting people who have shown an interest in your county, or to people who have liked a rival Facebook page.

Now what?

Before you go firing off emails, running Facebook ads, paying directory sites for listings and printing new leaflets, get back to basics. Clarify exactly what you’re trying to do with your marketing and decide how best to achieve that one goal.

Conclusion

Marketing shouldn’t be at the bottom of your to-do list – it should run through everything you do in your business every single day. But before that shift can happen, you need to know what you’re working towards, then the marketing you do should flow naturally.

Next time you wake in the middle of the night stressing about marketing, take a deep breath, close your eyes, and start to visualise what a successful marketing campaign might look like. More bookings for your business, more delighted customers, more referrals, more web traffic, more freedom to do what you want as your business worries melt away.

If you get your marketing right, this dream might just become a reality.

Have you set your goals? Share them in the comments below.

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