Taking care of a business is much like growing plants and vegetables. For the sake of the fall season, let’s think about pumpkins. A great pumpkin doesn’t just appear overnight. There is a process. A seed needs to be planted, it needs to be watered, nurtured, cared for and protected from harmful things – just like a business.
Planting the Seed
When growing plants and vegetables, or in our case, a pumpkin, it’s important to decide the fundamentals of the planting process. Where will the seed go? When should it be planted? How much maintenance will be required? Just like our pumpkin, it’s essential to determine and understand the basics of your company. What is your business? What are your short term goals? Long term? Who needs your product or service? What is the benefit? Once you have that figured out, the next step is determining how you’re going to get your product or service out to the people who need it.
A strong business and marketing plan will determine the success of a company. This, however, does not mean that your original plan is your be all and end all. More often than not, you’ll need to make some tweaks.
Nurturing the Sprout
All great things take time and effort. Social media accounts, email marketing campaigns, paid advertising – all of these need attention. Consumers’ attention spans are decreasing and if you don’t do a good job of immediately sparking their interest and holding it, you’ll lose them.
The idea behind social media is all about interaction and getting your product or service into conversations. You can’t realistically expect a large amount of interactions if your posts are irrelevant or inconsistent. Email marketing campaigns work just the same. Customers subscribe to feeds and newsletters for a reason. Take the time to make sure you give them reasons to stay. Enough spam comes in on a daily basis. Don’t add onto the pile.
Do research. Figure out what your customers and followers are looking for. Provide relevant, useful information and tend to customers’ concerns.
Some people might think that digital marketing is easy and low maintenance, and when they finally realize that 5,000 Twitter followers, 10,000 Facebook page likes, or 1,000 email subscribers in month one is near impossible, they start to turn away from marketing.
Protecting the Pumpkin
Let’s say your pumpkin has been receiving some unwanted visitors – crows. What do you do about it? You’ll probably try putting a scarecrow out to keep the birds away. What if it doesn’t help? Do you keep the scarecrow there and just hope for the day it starts working? Do you remove it and just let the birds keep coming back? No, you’ll probably try out a new tactic, right?
Marketing is one of the most important pieces of a business. And, it’s one of the first things owners cut back on when a business might not be working. Instead of completely eliminating marketing from your game plan when you don’t see it working to your advantage, first find out WHY. What is it that isn’t working? Why isn’t it working? Can you fix it? Is there something different you can do? Figure out what is hurting your plan and modify your strategy or try something else. Whatever you do, don’t keep doing the things that aren’t working – you’ll only prevent your pumpkin from growing.
A marketing mistake that business owners make is creating social profiles for every platform in existence when they don’t actually need them or know how to use them to their benefit. They have a Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube, etc. and only have a handful of followers on each. Spreading a marketing plan too thin can be detrimental to a business. While all platforms can be formed to fit your marketing needs, they don’t all work the same, nor will they provide the same benefits.
Whether you’re working with a new business project or improving an existing one, there is a process. Planting, nurturing and protecting – Pumpkin Hacking.
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