If you are new to the entrepreneurship game or looking to revamp (or implement) a marketing strategy, there is a quick and EASY way to hit all of the most important aspects.
One of the easiest ways to optimize your marketing dollars is through targeted marketing. Reaching out to specific Psychographics and demographic within your niche allows you to create a cultivated message with a strong call-to-action. This is much more effective than a blanket message to “everybody” that connects with nobody.
Without a “good” tracking system in place, it is impossible to measure which of your efforts are the most effective. For online marketing promotions, use tracking links and Google Analytics to measure your efforts. (tracking links can easily be set up using Google’s URL Builder.
Promo codes work both online and offline by specifically linking your customer to a promotional effort. Remember to use different codes for each platform – even if you are offering the same deal. For example, you may run the same promotion in major newspapers, local newspapers and on social media; assigning a unique promo code to each of these platforms allows you to attribute sales to specific platforms and use the information to craft new campaigns.
The same approach can be used to track phone call drivers – use a unique phone number for each platform and you will have the information you need to quickly attribute traffic to the promotion. Some businesses are resistant to trade a branded phone number for marketing data; however, sacrificing measurement is never a good trade.
The goal of your efforts is see new growth – so it is crucial that your campaigns easily transfer from smaller platforms to larger platforms. You may initially run a promotion in a small local paper and later move to a larger metro paper.
Developing campaigns that are too narrow or that are only effective on a specific platform is a common pitfall that leads businesses to quickly run out of target audiences and effective platforms. It is also important to remember that small-scale campaigns often lose effectivity when scaled up; the message becomes diluted and the audience is less targeted.
Creating a year-round marketing strategy allows you capitalize on holidays and trends throughout the year and to maintain steady growth during slow-season. Many businesses take their foot off the gas during busy-season; however, if you can afford to keep your efforts going without sacrificing service, it is well worth effort.
Take a strategic approach to your efforts as opposed to tactical – build an arsenal of effective campaigns to be sure that you always have the right one available. Don’t wait to kick-off your marketing efforts – waiting for perfection means that you are sacrificing exposure for an unknown benefit. The only way to truly improve your campaigns is to implement real feedback. Use this quick and EASY approach to evaluate your strategy and then implement as quickly as possible.
It’s Not About Making the Sale, It’s About Gaining a New Customer…
Too many businesses make the mistake of focusing on the cost of winning a single sale instead of looking at marketing as a long-term investment. For sustained business growth, it is best to emphasize relationship building – to turn your attention to the long-term potential profit that comes from repeat business.
How to Build Long-Term Customers
Long-term customer relationships are built on experiences, not on one-time sales or short-lived promotions. While a great promotion will bring someone in the door, an enthusiastic greeting and a warm, inviting atmosphere develops an emotional and physical connection. To build on this connection, construct detailed customer files so that you and your employees can be sure to ask about important events in your client’s lives. Understand the root of the reason they are seeking your service or product and use that information to make them feel nurtured.
If you are struggling to focus on the softer aspects of growing your business, it may help to think back to your motivation for starting in the first place. Most entrepreneurs started out with the expressed ambition of ministering to a specific community by providing an exceptional product or service. Re-focusing on serving your community is a great way to balance the strain created by handling the daily, sometimes less rewarding, aspects of running the business.
Why Should You Build Long-Term Customer Relationships
Building lifetime customers significantly increases margins and allows you to stay ahead of your competition. A greater initial investment is often answered with substantial returns when the each customer is approached from the aspect of building a relationship and not just acquiring a commodity. Long-term clients often become ambassadors for your business – people naturally want to share when they have found something great!
Many chiropractic offices excel in this area. There is a significant investment to meet the initial needs of a new client – the office will often provide a free consultation and layout a detailed treatment plan. When the client feels that the provider has exceeded their expectations and believes that the treatment plan will meet their needs, the decision to commit to several weeks or months of visits is much easier to make.
So the chiropractor can now afford to spend more money than the first visit might produce because their new client will be coming in regularly for the next few months. (It’s similar to the idea of a loss leader, if you know what that is.)
Part of building a mutually beneficial relationship with your customers is to reach out to them on a regular basis to thank them for their business by sending them cards, smaples, free gifts, or valuable coupons/deals. In addition to building reciprocity, continuing marketing efforts keeps your business at the forefront of their mind.
Building long-term customers is a valuable aspect of every business’ marketing plan; one that appreciably optimizes your marketing dollars.
In the wake of the “Content is King” revolution, too many businesses have fallen into the trap of creating content whose only purpose is to be content. This digital clutter does not develop thought leadership status, establish authority or build a community. Instead, it only serves to dilute your brand and your product. After all, if your content fails to provide value, what hope is there for your product? This is true for all types of content, not just blog posts. Podcasts, videos and social media posts must be created with a specific GOAL in mind.
Evaluate your content before you publish using the GOAL method.
1. Is Your Content Great?
Great content enters the conversation in the marketplace and takes a stance. It is based on real interactions and addresses specific events, ideas and concerns. It is not watered-down and neutral. Instead, it clearly takes a position, defends it and in doing so, begins to build a relationship with the reader/viewer/listener.
Great content is not 100% focused on your product.
2. Is Your Content Original?
If you’re creating Great content, originality is a by-product. Even if your opinion mirrors that of another content producer, be sure to express your ideas using your own words. The main ideas of your content must be unique. Supplement with quotes from famous and relevant experts to support your claims and grab attention as long as those quotes don’t make up the majority of your message.
3. Does Your Content Activate?
Before you write or record the first word, decide precisely what action you want the consumer to take. What is your Call to Action (CTA)? Do you want him/her to download a report? Call for more information? Come into the store? Join an email list?
With a clear action in mind, create content that naturally leads the consumer in that direction. Strong CTAs are not pushy – they are strategically placed within well-developed content to drive the readers/viewers/listeners in a specific direction.
It should also be noted that a very reasonable CTA would be to have the consumer interact with your content. You don’t always have to have them “buy something.” It’s perfectly fine to have them: “like” it, share it, comment on it, or desire the next installment.
4. Does Your Content Have Legs?
Content that has legs reaches past its original medium. It touches a larger audience through Likes, Shares, Comments, and Links; verifiable proof that your audience is interacting with the content. This sort of interaction lasts longer than a few days and allows you to see how your message travels through the community.
GOAL-based content educates, informs and entertains. It ensures that your community associates your brand and your voice with quality and value and leads them to take action.
The easiest way for you to start creating GOAL-oriented content is to survey your list of prospects/customers on what they are interested in or what their questions are. This will likely give you a dozens of ideas on what you can write about that directly relates to your customers.
If you’re looking to run a survey to your list I suggest you set up an account with Survey Monkey at Surveymonkey.com their free account will allow you to ask up to 10 questions and receive up to 100 responses. So what are you waiting for? Go set up your first survey and start creating content with a GOAL today.
Business owners often complain that their marketing efforts are not working when the real issue is not that their efforts are not effective, it is that their attention span is too short. They approach marketing with a “one and done” mentality expecting the first marketing stone they cast into the middle of the marketplace pond to reach and convert every possible target. The stone is cast and the business owner waits for every ripple to fade away before casting another.
If your desired goal is action, a more effective marketing approach is to skip a stone into that same pond; the ripples created at each touch point will collide with one another to create waves (action) within the pond.
How to Create Ripples
For starters, let your marketing efforts be the Spinal Tap of your industry…turn the dial up to 11! Invest in the eyeballs of your potential customers by hitting your target audience with a great message issued from several platforms. Each release creates another ripple that cascades throughout your audience, creating a long-lasting message that continues to have returns long after the campaign ends.
Depending on your industry it might require 30 to 45 days for your customers to make a buying decision. (I’ve seen industries that take 90 days and even a few that take 6 months to a full year.) By broadcasting your message from several platforms you are keeping your business and product at the forefront of their mind and providing them with opportunities to interact as they work through your funnel(s).
How to Optimize Ripples
Remarketing efforts optimize the messages that you have already thrown into the pond. It is cheaper than initial marketing and delivers excellent returns. In addition to having a great ROI, remarketing prevents other businesses from benefiting from your ripples. Potential buyers in the market are getting hit with ripples from a variety of sources; each ripple is bringing them slightly closer to making a decision. Conversion rates on first contacts are very low. Remarketing creates momentum.
Are the Ripples Working?
To understand how your marketing efforts are impacting your bottom line, track potential buyers as they move through your funnel and chart their path. They may have been introduced to your company via a Facebook ad and then landed on your website through a Google search (SEO) which led them to sign-up for a newsletter that contained the CTA (call-to-action) that finally produced the sale. However, without the initial Facebook ad “ripple” the potential buyer would never have found your product.
Marketing efforts resonate throughout the marketplace long after their initial release. Potential customers arrive at your site and in your store as the result of multiple interactions with your brand. Rarely can sales be traced back to a single point of contact. Instead, the potential buyer is hit with a series of marketing ripples, each one nudging them gently down the funnel.
In the daily hustle of running a business, it is easy to let handling customers, managing employees, overseeing suppliers and completing the mountains of administrative tasks overshadow the real reason you started this business in the first place…to serve the community by meeting a specific need.
How to Give Back
Too many businesses make the mistake of considering self-serving content or incentives to be “giving back.” An e-book extolling the virtues of your product offerings is not giving back; neither is an event where the goal is to show customers exactly which of your products will best suite them.
However, if an athletic shoe store holds a workshop on knee pain they are serving their community and doing so in a way that does not require the attendees to give something in return. Another great example of giving back is Home Depot’s classes for DIY-ers. Once a week, the home improvement giant holds free classes on everything from building a bird house to laying tile. The attendees learn from the event and build relationships with other class members in the process.
Benefits of Giving Back
The most obvious reason for giving back is that it helps the community your business serves; your success and livelihood are dependent on the support of this group…giving back acknowledges how much you appreciate their support.
In addition to that warm and fuzzy feeling, giving back creates a buzz through word-of-mouth and may even land you some local press coverage. Truly giving back is so rare that it often generates publicity, creates evangelists and increases the perceived value of your business as a community asset.
Finally, giving back builds relationships between your business and the community. Individual customers will be more comfortable turning to you when they have a need because your value and expertise is established. Have a new product that you are not sure about? Give it away for free and listen to the feedback. Positive feedback can give you the confidence you need to launch a new offering.
Last, but not least, there is that whole karma thing…if you want to be served, serve first. Providing value to the community often results in others wanting to do the same thing for you. Robert Cialdini discusses this phenomenon in his book Influence.
Giving back to your community is a great way to recharge your entrepreneurial batteries and remind yourself of why you started this endeavor in the first place. Surrounding yourself with positive community members in the atmosphere and environment of your business does amazing things for your outlook and brand.
As a business owner, it is easy to get frustrated when your marketing efforts appear to be to unsuccessful. Maybe you got your nephew to start a Facebook page or are paying to have scheduled Tweets released throughout the day. Yet it feels like little has changed; is seems that you are getting any traction. The problem is lack of clear definition. Operating without a defined strategy and goals makes it impossible to gauge the impact of your efforts.
To really move the needle, start by asking the right questions.
Your goals cannot be something soft; a vague feeling that you are seeing more traffic or that interest in a promoted service has increased is not enough. To use the old adage, your goals must be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely).
Specific: What are you are trying to accomplish and why?
Measurable: Include numbers that easily incorporate into metrics
Attainable: Setting attainable goals not only boosts confidence but it allows you to understand what works for your business and what does not.
Relevant: Select a goal that makes sense for your business and your current needs
Timely: Put an expiration date on your goal. Do not let your efforts go on endlessly; think in terms of weeks and months, not years.
Tie your business goals to your marketing efforts. Each set of goals help you define the strategic steps needed to accomplish your goal. Create a strategy that is based on the established goals and measurements.
|Business Goal||Marketing Goal|
|Build Brand Awareness||Increase site traffic. Gain more social media followers/friends|
|Increase Sales||Bring in qualified leads. Move more prospects through the sales funnel|
|Increase Repeat Customers||Improve business/client relationship|
Now that you have created a stellar plan with complete goal alignment, it is time to look carefully at how you measure success. Develop data tracking that clearly measures the aspects of the goals that are most important to goal attainment. Use KPIs to identify successes and weaknesses and to understand the cost of implementation versus the potential cost benefit (HINT: this will help you determine how much each client is worth in dollars).
Before you give up on your current marketing efforts, consider giving them a makeover using these strategies. Make adjustment where needed and implement adequate tracking. The clear takeaway is to create alignment between you efforts and your goals and then add in the analytics to measure your success.
In the following video Guy Kawasaki asks Gary Vaynerchuk why a company should hire a digital agency.
The part that I thought was so great was when Gary goes on to explain when a business should NOT hire a digital agency. Too many businesses think that they need the best or biggest digital agency out there and that’s just not the case for everyone.
On the flip side I’ve come across a few companies that think they need to hire in-house and run their own full-on department. Gary goes into great detail on why this is a bad idea.
Click “play” on the video below to see what Guy and Gary have to say on the subject.
As always I’d love to know your thoughts on the subject. Leave a comment in the section below.
#AskGaryVee – Guy Kawasaki wants to know why people should use a digital agency?
Posted by Gary Vaynerchuk on Sunday, June 14, 2015
In this video we go over the 6 websites you can use to deep dive into any market you want to go after.
You’ll be able to learn all about your audience from their: gender, education level, annual income, and even what websites, magazines, tv shows, and facebook pages they like.
Imagine what you can do with your marketing if you actually know what’s going through your target market’s mind while they are going through their daily routine.
The Websites that we are going to cover are:
If you have any questions or other sites that you use to dig into your target market feel free to leave them in the comments section below.