From my experience, many small business owners get a little confused between marketing strategies and tactics and how they can both be used to grow a profitable business. If you are working on tactics without having a strategy behind it, you will not get the results you are expecting. Here’s a little marketing help to make sure you’re getting the most from your marketing efforts.
Strategies include a clearly defined plan to help you achieve your long term goals. We always talk about going 30,000 feet in the air to come up with our big picture strategies instead of starting in the weeds with our tactics. Suppose your long term goal is to generate $100,000 in new business. For a photographer, an example of a strategy might be that you want target and reach out to new moms to achieve this goal. This is a proactive, long term goal that will help you focus on owning a position in the mind of the consumer and help you focus on attracting the right clients. Because you will be attracting clients for the right reasons, they will be more loyal and help generate referrals for you.
Tactics are the methods you use to achieve your goals in the short term. This is where many small business owners go wrong. They panic because of slow sales and turn directly to the tactics to generate business, thus being reactive instead of proactive. Often times, the quickest and easiest tactic to generate sales is to discount. Discounting may generate revenue in the short term but sacrifices the long term profits. Let’s go back to the strategy mentioned above, to be known as the top baby photographer in your market and focus in on attracting new clients who have babies. Some better tactics might be to start by thinking about where the parents of babies are hanging out. Maybe you give a presentation about how to photograph your new baby to the new mom groups at the hospital. Maybe you can send a super creative direct marketing piece to the new parents who are listed in the newspaper every day (yes, you have to pull out the phone book for that one). Maybe you watch on Facebook for any local conversations about new babies being born and you send a little gift with a gift certificate. Maybe you host a mom’s night out event at your studio or at a business that shares your target market. You can sit down and brainstorm many tactics that support your overall strategy to be known as the top baby photographer in your market.
Here are a few steps to start you thinking:
1. Clearly define your strategies that will help you achieve your goals.
2. After you create each strategy, make sure your tactics all work toward the accomplishment of the strategy.
3. Resist the urge to discount. Focus on the long term health of your business.
4. If your business is slow, repeat this process.
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