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Want Effective Marketing? Here Are 5 Steps You Can’t Skip

You’ve got a great marketing idea. Maybe it’s new video content to share over social, or maybe it’s the purchase of a new list of leads. Whatever the idea it is, you’re sure that it’s going to make a huge difference in your business.  

You put it into action, but things didn’t go well and you don’t get the results you wanted. Should you throw it away as a marketing plan failure? 

Let us stop you right there. Your marketing plan may need adjustment, but abandoning it altogether (or staying the unsuccessful course) is not the right answer. Truly effective marketing plans aren’t set in stone, but instead create processes and timelines for re-evaluating and adjusting.

But that isn’t as simple as changing tactics at the drop of a hat. You need to create a plan with flexibility and reaction built in—here’s how. 

1. Take Stock of the Situation 

Revisit who your audience really is, and more than that, what they want. In old school product marketing strategies, we build customer personas and design campaigns targeted to each archetype. Is your customer a people manager? Do they spend all day writing T-SQL? Do they start their day with hope and fear that nothing breaks? Or do they spend every second dreaming of a vacation when they’re not on-call? These factors are important when outlining your campaign.  

If you’re in a highly competitive market (hello IT MSPs!), consider how you want to position yourself from your competitors. If everyone talks about “outsourcing” or “partnerships”, could you launch a service that is more packaged, with up-front pricing? Could you add services that your competitors haven’t even considered?  

Mapping your position in a competitive market can be a huge win. Start with where you and your competitors currently are, then look for the gap and how you could fill it. 

2. Make Real Objectives 

Of course, your first objective is for your campaign to generate tons of qualified leads. But before your customers are filling your inbox, you need to take steps to build a sustainable pipeline that will pay dividends over time. We recommend the 5Ss of digital marketing. It’s a great starting point to make sure you’re focusing on the entire funnel, not just capturing the closest sale.  

Sell – Grow your sales.  

These campaigns focus directly on your transactions that lead to sales calls. This can be in form of a discount on your training website, a health check engagement designed to sell a deeper retainer, or a giveaway that leads to the first lead. For a sales campaign to be really effective, we recommend streamlining the contact-us process, and having clear, direct calls to action.  

Speak – Get closer to your customers.  

This is where thought leadership becomes critical to your sales process. You may have a Twitter account where you can directly engage with your audience, or you make frequent visits to conference and events where you can interact face to face. These are never more important than in 2020 where we’re all craving connection.  

Serve – Add value and communicate your purpose  

Participate in your communities, speak at user groups, lift people of color up and become a champion of diversity. Do it because serving your community is the best part of being human, and you’ll reap the brand equity and more dedicated customers over time. Give away your knowledge through well-thought out lead magnets. You’ll capture email addresses to further nurture, but more importantly, you’ll help your community be better versions of themselves.  

Save – Show value  

Show your leads and customers the value they get when they hire you. Talk about the stakes involved when they decide not to do business with you. What kind of time and headache will they avoid when you’re involved in helping them solve their problems.  

Sizzle – Delight your customers  

Experience is everything these days, and when you take time to think about how each touchpoint can really impress your customers, you can get leads much further into the sales process. Make signing up smooth, signing contacts easy, and proposals a pleasure to read.  

3. Set Your Strategy, then Your Tactics 

If the objective is what you want to accomplish, your strategy is HOW you’re going to do it. Take a large objective, like doubling your number of sales calls, and break that into the number of unqualified leads you need. Then break that number down further into how many visits/clicks/engagement points you need to reach that goal.  

As much as you can use data in your decision making. Start with the easy metrics: Google Analytics and Crazy Egg to better understand how your website performs, then email marketing metrics and social engagement data. If you can, use a dashboard like Dashthis to make it easier to see all your metrics in one place, or develop a PowerBI dashboard to truly customize your reporting.  

From there, take a look at the marketing mix to figure out where you’re going to make a change to reach your objective: 

Product –Develop packages and standard delivery processes around your services that directly relate to the pains you are solving for your customers. If you’re building software, decide on feature sets, add-ons and product levels that align to use cases.  

Price – Does the pricing you’re launching fit within the competitive marketplace? How will your customers perceive it, and when should you reveal it? 

Place – Decide which channels fit best with your customers. There will be many to choose from, so select those the appropriate for your budget and campaign  

Positioning – Communicate your products and services in a way that truly solves a problem for your customer. Show the success they’ll have when they buy, and remind them of the failure that could happen if they don’t.  

4. Assign Actions 

How do you eat an elephant? That’s right: one bite at a time. The best plan is one that breaks down large tactics into smaller, actionable pieces that can be assigned with a specific due date to multiple team members. Add all assigned actions to a project management timeline (best practice uses software such as Asana and Monday).  

 For example, if SEO is a tactic for your campaign, you may break that down further into: 

  • Identify keywords using existing URL structures and conduct full keyword strategy 
  • Execute on-page optimization of our landing pages 
  • Build a content plan that incorporates the new keywords into our strategy 
  • Identify a targeted group of websites we can reach out to and target for backlinking 

5. Design Controls  

Monitor and measure your progress. Set quarterly meetings to review core programs, and be prepared to assess smaller campaigns and tactics, and trash them. A good digital team will test emails, keywords, tweets, and content daily, then change them based on their performance. As long as you have clear organizational objectives, your people can measure what tactics become the most important, and drive closer to the goal with every small alignment change.  


It’s fine to dream big, but getting there is nigh impossible if you keep that dream ‘big.’ Break it down into what specifically change or result you want to achieve—including how you plan on measuring that success. Make sure that your dream is realistically achievable, and that you’ll be able to break your plan down into actions. And, most importantly, set a timeframe in which you want to this to happen. When  you have a specific end-point in site 

If you are clear about what you want to improve, by how much, using whose efforts, and in what time-frame, it’ll be much clearer what worked or didn’t work. 

Want us to help take your marketing to the next level? Book a call with Blythe Morrow of Paper Sword B2B!