Sometimes when a new idea for a business comes up, it can be tempting to look at where you want it to go and forget about the little steps it takes to get there. Now, I have no educational background in business, but I have almost a decade of real-world experience now. I have started many projects and ideas, some as small thoughts with no legs, others with big goals and the legs of Usain Bolt. No matter the size or idea, there are 3 things I learned about starting a business. The best part about these things is that they can be applied to just about anything, but for the context of this post, I will be applying the ideas to marketing activities. So, here we go:
1. Start Small
For those who are unfamiliar with concepts that revolve around entrepreneurship, this is what is called an MVP, or Minimum Viable Product. Figure out what you want to accomplish with your marketing activities or campaign and start with the low-hanging fruit to get the ball rolling. The reason this is important is that it will give you an opportunity to make adjustments to your plan. It’s important to know what outcomes you hope to achieve, but it is equally important to remember that the world moves fast and you need to be agile enough to adjust your plan at a moment’s notice.
2. Ask Questions
Sometimes it can be really easy to get stuck in our own little world. We start planning a campaign with only our own thoughts and ideas in mind and we forget to ask for input from key stakeholders and even the audience you are trying to reach. Take the time to learn what it is they want to know, learn, & understand about your brand. How can you kick your campaign off on the right foot by delivering a message that connects with the audience well? By asking questions. Their answers will help direct your efforts in the most effective way possible.
3. React Quickly
When you are privileged enough to gather customer feedback, whether in the form of an email, comment on a post, face-to-face interaction, good or bad, react quickly. Address negative feedback professionally and timely and make necessary changes when the concern is valid (no, not all feedback needs to be implemented). Double down on positive feedback and use it as validation of your efforts and find ways to apply it more broadly or with more volume. These quick reactions and adjustments to your campaigns will show customers and potential leads that you hear them and see them and you are here to take care of them in the best way possible.
BONUS – Scale Smart
Scaling is important, but scaling before you are ready will hurt the success of your business. That applies to a marketing campaign and all marketing efforts as well. Figure your process for marketing out and how to execute it efficiently, THEN take the time to scale the process to different platforms and campaigns. If you scale your marketing efforts too early, you risk scaling inefficient and ineffective marketing practices throughout your company and ultimately you will spend more money and accomplish less with your efforts.
Now I am a visual person, so to wrap this all up, I will give you a little analogy to think about. Think about a snowball you start rolling from the top of a hill. If that snowball is the size of your palm when it starts, by the time it makes it partway down the hill, you are still able to redirect it, slow it down, and make adjustments with relative ease. But if you were to shove a 3-foot snowball from the top of the same hill, by the time you hear you started rolling it down the wrong spot, you may not be able to redirect its path without smashing the snowball and starting from scratch.
I don’t know about you, but if I just made a 3-foot snowball, the last thing I would want to do is crush it and start all over. It may even mean the snowball never makes it to the bottom of the hill.