Posts from "June, 2015"

Why Every Business Should Follow a Marketing Strategy

Most businesses will not get off the ground without a marketing strategy. This involves analyzing the market and finding your target audience, deciding on the best methods of reaching these potential customers, all while keeping your current customers satisfied. Throughout the process you also need to be recording data, monitoring what does and doesn’t work, and refining the strategy accordingly.

Having this all down on paper (including the steps you need to take to reach your goals) is a smart way to ensure you stay focussed on growing your business. While there is no set format for a marketing strategy, it should at the very least involve a bullet point list of the marketing methods you plan to use and things you hope to achieve.

It is also important to remember that marketing is only half the battle. You need a well thought out strategy, backed up with solid research, in order for that marketing to be effective. There’s nothing worse than burning through an advertising and marketing budget, only to find that sales have not increased.

Here are some key reasons to follow a marketing strategy:

Marketing Strategy

Maintains Focus

Without at least a basic list of things to focus on, your time is going to be scattered and unproductive. You will already need to spend time on your basic day to day business responsibilities, but couple that with the wide variety of marketing methods and tools out there, you’re quickly going to become overwhelmed without a strategy to keep you focussed. Hiring a professional internet marketing company to manage your online marketing is the perfect way to save time so you can focus on other areas of your business.

Helps You to Achieve Goals

If you haven’t formalized your goals you’re not going to feel rewarded when you achieve them. And without a strategy you’re not going to achieve them at all. The goals outlined in your marketing strategy will set you down the path to success and allow you to monitor progress as you go.

Invaluable Insights

Marketing is not just what you put out, it’s what you get back from the customer. Collecting this data helps you learn what they like and dislike, which types of marketing are effective, and in turn allows you to create an even more efficient strategy that pinpoints only the methods that work and the customers willing to spend.

Internet marketing in particular allows you to track users across your advertising campaigns, social media accounts, and website, in order to closely analyze their responses and behaviour.

Saves Money

Whether you’re hiring an internet marketing company or paying for advertising in a local newspaper, unless you do proper research that money might be wasted. A proper strategy will help you target the right audience, which in turn will bring you more conversions, and make your marketing budget go further.

Convey Your Brand

Developing a detailed marketing strategy will also put you in a better position to convey your brand in the way that you want. Or in other words the way you want your customers to see you. Is this professional or laid back? Family friendly or appealing to single males? Without thinking things through you may end up sending mixed signals to your customers, which is not good for your brand image.

So What Are You Waiting for?

You wouldn’t go on a long journey without taking a map or using a sat-nav. Your marketing strategy is that sat-nav for your business. It’s the guide that will help you measure your success and stay on track for meeting your objectives. And if you haven’t developed one already, now’s the time to start!

6 Steps to Build Your Brand Name Using Social Media Marketing

From selling products, to providing a service, to running an online magazine or information site, reaching any kind of success online is dependent on people knowing and respecting who you are. That’s where your brand comes in.

The likelihood of closing a sale or creating a consumer rests in your brand’s authority – and there’s no better way to build that name than through social media marketing. In fact according to the Pew Research Center 52% of online adults now use two or more social media sites, so the potential for generating traffic to your business cannot be overlooked.

If you want to build your brand using social media, here are 6 important steps:

The Right Platforms with the Right Name

One of the key elements of branding is consistency, so if your website is called Widgets R US, but your Twitter handle is Widget Man people are going to be confused by your brand. Furthermore certain social media platforms are more fitting for certain businesses than others. Pinterest for example is great for online stores because you can share photos of products with a direct link back to the product page. You should however always maintain a Facebook and Twitter account because these are by far the most used social media platforms.

Social Media Marketing

Define Your Brand

What’s good about social media is it forces you to describe your business in only a few characters on your profile pages. But don’t waste these lines with something generic. This may be the first thing a future customer will learn about your business, so you need to be able to define your whole brand in an striking and clear manner.

Formulate a Strategy or Hire a Professional

Nobody should go in to a new marketing campaign blind. It is important to know your goals, formulate a strategy to reach them, and have a mechanism for measuring success. Hiring a professional internet marketing company to handle your social media presence is a wise way to ensure you’re doing it right. But there are still some basic principals that everyone should understand.

Interesting and Shareable Content

Social media marketing is not just about linking to your products or making press releases, posts need to be interesting enough that your followers will want to engage and share them with others. This will increase your brand image and exposure. Of course this is easier said than done, but a link to the “Top 10 Cleaning Tips for Busy People” will draw more of a response than a link to your vacuum cleaner sales page. You need to find the right balance between hard-selling and community engagement.

Promote Your Accounts

Even though you’re using social media to market your business you should also use your business to market your social media accounts. With every sale, email, offline letter, or interaction, you should make note of your profile names or links. This marketing loop will keep your brand in customers’ minds.

Leadership

If you want brand authority, you should demonstrate authority and leadership in your posts, and if you’re in the right niche you should be an expert anyway. For example if your market is hiking equipment, you should be able to post in an informed and critical manner regarding the latest hiking news, and be ready to offer detailed answers to people’s questions about hiking and hiking products. If your competitors (or worse your customers) are more knowledgeable than you, they’re not going to want to spend money at your store.

5 Best Ways to Attract Customers to Your Business

Any business owner knows that the more people you get to visit your store or browse your website, the more likely you are to make sales. However attracting customers to begin with can be a difficult task.

Despite the changes in marketing over the past 10 years, especially with the increasing use of the internet, there is still one core business principal that remains… the service:

The Service

No amount of marketing is going to pay off in the long run if your service or product is simply not that good. Word of mouth is still one of the most powerful tools at your disposal, and the only way to get people talking positively about your business is to make sure your current customers have the best possible experience.

Attract Customers

In the online realm this involves promptly answering email or social media queries, following up to see if the customer is still satisfied, offering continued support and perhaps even coupons and discounts for being loyal. The rest is just common sense… meet deadlines, dispatch products quickly, have a simple returns or refund policy etc.

Here are 4 other methods to attract customers to your business in 2016.

Less Hard Sell

In 2016 the one thing the public can’t stand is being sold something. So where does this leave small businesses? The truth is people still want to buy products and use services, they just want to be reassured that a real person is behind the business and are being honest. This means you should cut down on your sales-speak and engage your customers/potential customers like a community. This is especially true on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. The difference between somebody buying from you or the competition may come down to whether they like your personality in a post.

Be Active Online

Some people think that signing up to all of the big social media platforms and making a few posts is enough to attract customers. However to attract customers consistently you need to post regularly, keep your site updated, and share information not even directly related to your business but that your customers will find interesting. One of the reasons many people get lazy with their online presence is because they already have day to day commitments in other areas of the business. A good way to get over this hurdle is to hire a professional internet marketing company to handle all of your accounts.

Search Engine Optimization

Whether your business is online-only or you have a site that serves as a marketing tool itself, the only way it will take off is if people can find it. One of the primary drivers of online traffic is search engines, so it is important to optimize your site for relevant keywords so it will show up high in search results. It also needs to have quality content that real people would want to read and will find valuable.

Special Offers

One method that has been attracting customers since the dawn of business is the special offer. Call it a psychological trick or a thank you, but temporarily knocking down your prices, offering an extra gift, or running a rewards program, is always a good way to get people to take notice. In the age of social media you can also think outside the box.

How about the following idea?

“Tweet an image of yourself inside our store and get 10% off your purchase”

The customer gets a discount and promotes your business at the same time. What other unique promotional methods can you think of?