How I got my small business marketing wrong (Part 2)

When Small Business Marketing Goes Wrong!

As any business owner or director will confess that much of what we encounter in the daily working life requires a degree of adaptation and the ability to learn as we go. This is especially true in the case of small business marketing, and as I’ve explained before, this has caught me out on several occasions. But what happens when we get it right? When all the efforts we put into marketing our businesses pay off?

This is a short account of how we got our small business marketing right and also how this nearly caused us a problem that threatened to send the company into meltdown.

Firstly I should start by noting that if you ever wanted proof of the importance of digital marketing then this story should be testament to its power and effectiveness.

As video marketing experts it goes without saying that we employ video as a significant part of our marketing strategy. However we also have a robust marketing mix and utilise a wide range of ways to bring new clients to our door. In early 2013 we embarked on an ongoing campaign to attract as much new business as we could. We used a diverse spread of digital marketing techniques and allocated time and resources to the campaign on a monthly basis.

small business marketing

Small business marketing

We understood from the outset that successful small business marketing requires a slow burn effect and I’d therefore committed us to the campaign indefinitely. Right from the start our online visibility increased significantly due to initial SEO activity on our site, as well as our blogging and newly updated social media pages.

New customers slowly started to appear and we retained ones we already had (hopefully thanks to the quality of our service!). We stuck to our marketing plan and regularly updated our site, we blogged, posted video and also employed more traditional methods such as face to face and telephone marketing.

I should mention here that after 15 years of running a successful company, I possessed a degree of scepticism about the volume of new business we would attract. This led me to take an organic approach to growing our staff and my intention was to increase our core personnel once I’d seen a steady increase in business.

Demand For New Video Content

However what had initially been a steady trickle of new business quickly turned into a tidal wave with multiple new enquiries landing in my inbox daily and existing customers increasing their demand for new video content. The demand created by our digital marketing campaign had gone from a gentle start to an overwhelming surge in a short space of time.

As with many sectors, recruitment in video production is a lengthy process and because this surge in trade demanded all of my time to manage, I simply couldn’t find time to bring more helping hands on board.

small business marketing

This started a process where the business very nearly spiralled out of control, as our volume of work increased to the point where we couldn’t upscale to meet the demand. We were working literally day and night 7 days a week for a six-month period just trying to keep our heads above water.

To be fair, as business problems go this isn’t necessarily the worst, and it’s always better to have too much work than not enough. But the danger we faced was that the quality of our work would suffer as a result of running way above our natural capacity for an extended period of time.

Digital Marketing Does Work

The mistake I had made was to implement a robust digital marketing strategy but not put in place an internal growth strategy to ensure we could meet any new demand created. As a business we got close to meltdown through this period and ultimately the growth in sales we achieved could have all been for nothing if we had lost both existing and newly won clients by not providing the quality control aspect of our service due to stretched resources.

So there are really two messages to this story.

Firstly, yes, digital marketing does work. Very well!

But secondly, if as a business owner or director you commit to a robust digital marketing strategy you also need to commit in turn to a well-timed and considered process of increasing your resources to meet the increased demand you desire.

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About fortyfoursixteen films

fortyfoursixteen films has over 15 years experience producing high quality video content for leading brands and organisations throughout the UK. Headed up by lead producer Neil Waddington we aim to create innovative, inspiring and engaging video for a wide variety of digital delivery platforms.