When we work with clients to create a communications plan, some of the first questions we ask are about their business goals and where they are in relation to those goals. After all, it helps to know where you want to go in order to successfully get there. Some businesses spend a lot of money on marketing — buying print or online ads, paying for SEO services, or creating a new website — without really digging into what they’re trying to accomplish and how that specific marketing tactic will help achieve that goal. Too often, small business owners get caught up in shiny object syndrome, where they get distracted by a sales pitch for marketing services that they don’t really need. Why? Because often they’re focused on growing their business but aren’t specific about how and where to grow their business.
Start with looking at your current mix of services by percentage, either by percent of time spent delivering that service or percent of revenue received from that service. Let’s say you’re a dentist. What percent of patient services are routine dental cleanings, cosmetic dentistry, or alignments? Once you know the current percentage breakdown, think about what you would ideally like that breakdown to be? What areas would you like to see grow? What services would you like to be a lower percentage of your total business?
As you dig deeper into your current business mix and set some goals for how you want that to change (or not change), you can apply that knowledge and those goals to your marketing and communications efforts. Want to increase your cosmetic dentistry patients? That becomes a more targeted focus than “increase number of patients,” and it helps guide your messaging. If the goal is to increase cosmetic dentistry patients but social media posts only touch on cosmetic dentistry once a month, it’s time to increase that frequency and strategically target some posts. It’s probably also time to remind existing patients about your range of cosmetic dentistry services, because they may just not be thinking about it.
Knowing where specifically you want to grow your business and focusing your communications efforts on that goal also helps you avoid shiny object syndrome. When the convincing salesman comes calling with an incredible offer for a print ad, you can consider that offer in light of your focused goals and communications plan. Is that ad going to reach the audience you need to reach to grow your business in the specific areas you’ve identified?
If you feel like your communications efforts are scattered or your business isn’t growing in the right areas, let’s chat about how a communications plan that matches your business goals might be able to help.