Using effective marketing strategies for your business is essential for success
An effective marketing strategy ensures that your time and money are well spent. You are likely bombarded with the hype of many unqualified ‘marketers’ who are only selling a poor quality automated system or single-focus strategy. Here’s what you need to know before hiring a marketing firm (the great ones will work with you on each of these):
- Know your audience. The time you spend developing your ‘ideal client’ personas is well spent. You’ll be speaking directly to these people as individuals – know them well. Understand their demographics and psychographics. Their pain points. Their desires. Where they spend their time online and in person. What motivates them. Where they are in the buyer’s journey.
- Hire a marketing firm who understands how all the components work together! A comprehensive strategy requires more than one or two platforms. Work with professionals who will determine the best components for your unique business and can prioritize them to fit your budget. All of the following should be considered:
- Your website – this is the hub of all the online activity for your business. It needs to have smart architecture, seamless functionality, and great content. (It goes without saying that it also needs to be mobile responsive – if you haven’t read it yet, Is your Business Ready? Google is playing favorites with mobile device users.
- Quality SEO. The keywords should be planned for each page of your site individually and be updated often as your analytics are reviewed
- Writing quality, original content in a way that creates a conversation with your audience is one of the most important aspects of marketing. Speaking their language makes it easy for them to form a ‘bond’ with you.
- Social Media campaigns: the social media platforms used should be the ones your ‘ideal client(s)’ use. The demographics of users for each channel is reviewed each year by the PEW Research Center Social media requires the ability to write compelling headlines.
- Landing Pages. Your plan should include a way to build your e-mail list. Inbound Marketing strategies use ‘giveaways’ your audience really finds useful in exchange for their email address. Your landing pages should be specifically designed for the purpose of prompting your visitor to action.
- We process images 60,000 times faster than words. Using video as part of your marketing strategy can be powerful. Even short commercials, embedded on your website and marketed through YouTube and your Social Media pages will boost your authority and make you seem accessible – and help you start a conversation.
- Print media. Don’t ignore print media. Although it’s no longer the primary focus of any campaign, it can be a great adjunct to other methods.
- Use caution when working with a firm who sells automated marketing tools. There are some really good ones – HubSpot and Marketo are excellent. They are also pricey. Automated marketing can be a good tool to go along with the rest of your strategy. It is never a ‘stand-alone’ component, and used incorrectly can hurt your business more than it helps.
- Podcasts. These are becoming really popular. Your listener can download a podcast and save it until he/she has time. Often, people listen to educational podcasts while at the gym, over morning coffee, or even during a boring meeting. It’s easy to record podcasts and offer them via ITunes and Stitcher.
- A custom marketing plan with a strategy, timelines, and a way to measure success is essential. Check your analytics every month and track what works best as well as what isn’t working as well as you wish. Often those things which aren’t working can be adjusted a bit to make them terrific. Your marketing firm should provide you with an analytics report at the end of each month (or whatever period you choose) and include suggestions for any adjustments going forward.
- Conduct A/B testing. Test the success of a single campaign in two different ways. It might be as simple as testing the ‘look’ of a landing page by splitting your email list into two segments and sending a different landing page to each. You can then measure which one gets the most responses.
- Use an Inbound Marketing strategy. This brings prospects to you as opposed to you ‘selling’ them. Inbound marketing produces better results, happier prospects, more loyal followers, and a great source of referrals from your current clients.
- Your strategy should employ the ‘Marketing Tools of Influence’, made widely known by Robert Cialdini in the early 90’s. They are social proof, authority, liking, commitment and consistency, and reciprocity. Understand that we all decide to purchase based on emotion – we may confirm our purchase with logic, but virtually every buying decision is based on desire for something rather than need.
Regularly re-evaluate your marketing strategy and make necessary changes in your plan. A great marketing firm will work with you to adapt to the ever-changing business climate and will keep up with technology so you never have to worry about reaching your ‘ideal client’.
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