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Marketing Tactics

21 Smart Marketing Secrets

To outwit, outsmart and win in business you need to sell more products and services. These 21 marketing know-how tips are guaranteed to help you find the customers you need.

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1. Create quality marketing tools. This doesn’t mean you need to allot 75% of your budget to printing costs, presentation slides and a website. It means you need to put deep thought into the cohesive image you want to present. “Sit down and make a list of everything you’re going to need each time you make contact with a prospective customer or client, including a stationery package, brochures and presentation tools,” advises US marketing expert Kim T. Gordon. “Then, if you can’t afford to print it all at once, at least work with a designer and a copywriter to create the materials so you have them on disk.”

2. Greet clients with style. Voicemail may not seem like a component of your marketing plan, but if a potential client phones and your voice message is curt or the receptionist is not professional, that prospect or client will be gone before you can blink an eye. So get yourself a professional voicemail system (even the phone company offers options) with several boxes, advises Gordon, so callers can press “1” to hear more about your services, “2” for your web and email addresses, etc.

3. Focus as narrowly as possible. Instead of trying to reach all the people some of the time, narrow your target audience to highly qualified prospects. Instead of going to seven networking groups once every two months, go to the two groups with the best prospects every week. “Instead of marketing to 5 000 companies, find 100 highly qualified companies and make regular contact with them,” says Gordon. Phone them, mail your marketing materials and then ask to meet them. It will save you money and time.

4. Make the most of trade shows. Trade shows are ideal marketing platforms. Rick Crandall, a speaker, consultant and author of marketing books shares some of his secrets. “If you don’t get a booth beforehand, try to find someone who will share their space with you. You help them run the booth, and they get a local who can show them the town. If you decide not to get a booth, go anyway. You can always do business with the exhibitors; just be sure to respect their time with “real” customers before you approach them as a peer looking for some B2B action. After the seminar, be absolutely, positively sure that you follow up on your leads. What’s the point of attending if your leads end up in the trash? A study in 2000 found that 88% of exhibition attendees weren’t phoned by salespeople after the show.

5. Conduct competitive intelligence online. As one entrepreneur points out: “As a home-based business in 1978, how would you ever find out what your competition was doing, what they were charging or what kind of clients they had? Today, that information is completely at your fingertips. So find your competitors’ sites and get clicking”.

6. Offer your help. If you want to be known as a good business person, be helpful. The word of mouth value of someone you’ve assisted is worth its weight in marketing gold. Another way to help out your community and your business is to align yourself with a non-profit organisation. Patrick Bishop, author of Money-Tree Marketing, offers this idea: “Set up a fundraising programme that benefits a school, like a discount card. At the same time the children are selling the cards, they are promoting your business.”

7. Offer samples of work. For example, if you’re a Web designer, surf the Internet, find a potential client and send them a few tips they can use to improve their site. Or you can offer to do a small job for free just to show the potential client the quality of your work and to get them used to working with you.

8. Get out there and network. If this piece of marketing advice sounds like something you’ve heard before, there’s a good reason: it works. Join your local industry association or a networking club. When you go, ask the people you meet what leads they’re looking for and really listen to what they have to say. They’ll repay you in kind.

9. Cross-promote with other businesses.Who do you share customers with? Find them and figure out how you can promote one another. If you’re a PR person, hook up with a copywriter or graphic designer for client referrals. Or you could take note of collectives like a group of several wedding professionals (a caterer, DJ, dressmaker and photographer) for example, who work together through referrals. Another option is to add a brief note at the bottom of invoices referring your accounting clients to “an excellent computer consultant”, and have that consultant do the same for you.

10. Join a chat forum online. Find news groups that cater to your audience and join the fray. “I didn’t start participating in online discussion groups to generate business, but as a way to find information for myself on various subjects,” says Shel Horowitz, owner of the Massachusetts, US-based Accurate Writing & More and author of several marketing books, including Grassroots Marketing. “But it turned out to be the single best marketing tool I use. It costs only my time. One list alone has got me around 60 clients in the past five years.”

11. Offer an e-newsletter. Again, this establishes you as an expert, but it also provides another very important marketing tool: email addresses of potential clients. You’ve opened up the gates to creating a relationship with them by offering free information. Now they may approach you to do business, or you can use these “opt-in” addresses to offer your services.

12. Don’t wait for customers to find you. Rather than purchasing an email list for mass, impersonal advertising, spend some time surfing the Web for businesses that have some sort of connection to your own business. Then write them a personalised email telling them why you think they should build a business relationship with you. “Those letters have a high tendency to get answered because they are personal,” says Crandall. “And I’ve opened the door to business with people who were total strangers before I emailed them.”

13. Follow your best prospects. This is called play-space marketing. If you have a pet-sitting business, ask your local vet and groomer if you can display brochures. Are you a landscape artist? Offer to do a display for the local nursery. Do you throw children’s birthday parties? Buy a slide at the local movie theatre to be shown before family films. “Just be sure the environment is appropriate,” cautions Gordon. “If you’re a business consultant, you’re not going to run adverts on the movie screen. Advertise where people are likely to be thinking about what you’re selling.”

14. Become an expert. Develop business know-how into a marketing tool by writing online articles. “Write articles to show your talents and give them as fillers to any website owner who you feel is fitting. Not only does it bring you more traffic and potential customers, it also provides you with an international business portfolio to demonstrate your business sense and your product or service. Other ways to establish yourself as an expert: answer questions in online forums; send tip sheets to local media outlets; write a book or pamphlet; or do the next tip on our list.

15. Host a seminar. It’s cheap, it’s easy and it’s agood way to get over your public-speaking fear. Crandall offers the story of a business broker who conducts free weekly seminars. People selling businesses don’t want to attend as they aren’t new to the business brokering process, but they do notice his advert and call for his services. Business buyers attend, and the broker now has “pre-qualified” prospects. “You’re getting free publicity, you’re getting prospects to call you, and you’re building on your level of expertise,” says Crandall, who hosts his own seminars on marketing.

16. Get local news coverage. Play up your locale as much as possible with personalised news releases. Which sounds better to your local press: a successful home-based caterer with a national contract, or a caterer from the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, with a national contract? Crandall recently promoted his mother’s children’s book by sending letters to the newspapers both where she currently lives and where she previously lived, and both picked up the story

17. Get ready for your close-up. Does TV sound remote for a business owner on a budget? Not so. If you’re the type of person who adores an audience, get onto a business show or lined up for an interview. “You can’t blatantly advertise a product or service, but it’s a good way to become better known,” says Bishop. “For example, if you sell crafts, you might start an instructional craft show. You could give away something for free or have a contest. When people phone or write in, you can start a mailing list and then contact them about your business.” Another bonus is that it adds to your expertise and gives you a great hook for your publicity efforts.”

18. When in doubt, pick up the phone. Instead of lamenting a lack of business, drumming your fingers on your desk and forming new worry lines on your face, call a customer. Touch base, see how they’re doing, visit their office when you’re running an errand, see if there’s anything you can do for them, even if it’s not a paid piece of work. It will improve your relationship, and you may jog their memory. After all, you’ll never hear “I’ve been meaning to call you!” if you don’t pick up the phone.

19. Thank you, dankie, ndiyabonga. Shower the top 20% of your clients who yield you the most sales (either in volume or rands) with appreciation, whether it’s via gifts, personalised notes or lunch. “It doesn’t cost a lot of money,” says Gordon, “but it’s a great way to let your best customers know they’re special.”

20. Offer a guarantee. More people will be willing to try out your business and recommend it if you offer “satisfaction guaranteed”.

21. Get them talking about you. Word of mouth marketing is just about the cheapest thing you can do to boost your business. The main way to attract referrals is to do a great job: impress your clients, and they will tell everyone they know. But there are more aggressive tactics you can use too. Ask everyone you know to refer to your business. Hand out several businesscards to people rather than just one so they’re more likely to pass them on. Even go through your favourite client’s Rolodex (with his or her permission, of course) to find potential leads.

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Marketing Tactics

Useful Marketing Tactics For Growing Businesses

Customer acquisition, customer experience and content marketing can be identified as the three most important marketing strategy areas to focus on.

Jandre de Beer

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Digital marketing offers the business world so many advantages, including the ability to communicate with their target markets quickly and easily. Unfortunately, digital marketing has also opened doors for companies to flood mail boxes, news feeds and ad spaces with junk mail and spam resulting in customers tuning out to anything irrelevant and suspicious.

Customers have become less likely to trust companies and less receptive to messages. The only way for valuable messaging to stand out from the noise is if a business knows how to market itself properly.

Over and above advertising, there are a lot of other aspects that contribute towards an effective marketing strategy, these include research, email, content creation, list curation, social media and even customer service. To be a successful marketer it isn’t necessary to become an expert in every single marketing tactic, but it is important to master the most important areas. Customer acquisition, customer experience and content marketing can be identified as the three most important marketing strategy areas to focus on.

1. Customer acquisition

Of course, not all customers are the same. Some customers are only interested in buying products on sale from a particular brand and then never interact with that brand again. Acquiring, and of course retaining customers with a high lifetime value should be the overall objective for businesses, but this requires more time and money being invested in better, more qualified leads. While the upfront costs might be higher, in the long-term this investment will pay off with continued business from these lifetime customers.

2. Customer experience

Competitive pricing can’t be the only aspect that businesses focus on in order to stand out against competitors. In the current digital era customers expect a good customer experience when they deal with brands so this should be an important focus area for all businesses. Customers expect fast and seamless experiences such as intuitive user interfaces and processes, fast websites and service response times, as well as accurate information about the problems they face.

Customers don’t want to waste their time on websites that require them to jump through hoops, and they definitely don’t want to feel misled by anything a business is communicating. Customers will quickly move on to other sites that offer better experiences as well as other businesses that are more trustworthy. Good customer experiences can go a long way.

Offering more personalised, interactive engagement tactics and improving the customer technology interface should be high priorities for businesses.

3. Content marketing

Marketing is no longer about telling customers that your brand is the best. With the movement towards content marketing, marketing has become about showing customers why you are the best. Content marketing is a legitimate, effective strategy that every business and brand should make use of. While content marketing is a lot more cost effective than outbound marketing, it also generates three times as many leads and offers many other benefits.

Content is a key feature for growing businesses who want to survive in an information rich environment. Customers are looking for brands that provide value beyond their products so creating high-quality content can help you grab your audience’s attention.

In conclusion

Although there are many other factors that are involved in an effective marketing strategy, seeking out customers with a high lifetime value, providing them with a great customer experience while also providing them with valuable content is a recipe for success.

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Marketing Tactics

An ‘Outside-the-Box’ Approach to the e-Commerce Unboxing Experience

Get started by keeping three elements in mind – recyclable/re-usable packaging, personalised thank-you notes and free samples.

Daniella Shapiro

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With a predicted 24,79 million e-commerce users in South Africa by 2021, online shopping is here to stay, making it impossible to escape the predicament of perfecting the art of product packaging. It’s time to think outside the box when it comes to creating a meaningful unboxing experience. Get started by keeping three elements in mind – recyclable/re-usable packaging, personalised thank-you notes and free samples.

Recyclable/Re-Usable Packaging

Certain types of product packaging are having a tremendous negative impact on our environment, with 5.35 trillion pieces of plastic debris littering the world’s oceans, and with 269,000 tonnes of this amount floating on the surface – and plastic isn’t the only culprit. Did you know that it’s impossible for Styrofoam to ever be broken down completely? And that 1 million single-use coffee cups wind up in landfill every single minute of every day? These statistics make it obvious as to why it’s becoming so important for business owners to be more conscious about the type of packaging that they use.

Many business owners wonder if their customers really care whether their business is doing its part to protect the environment. According to Forbes and a 2017 Cone Communications CSR Study, the answer is a resounding ‘YES, they most certainly do!’.

87% of the consumers surveyed stated that they always have a more positive image of a company that supports social or environmental issues, and 88% claimed that they usually feel more loyal toward a company that they know supports social or environmental issues.

Thoughtful Thank-You Notes

The unboxing experience should be a unique and personal one, and it should be just as memorable as the experience of utilising the product itself! So, make it all the more special and build customer loyalty by including a personalised thank you note. Address the customer by their first name, thank them sincerely for their patronage and end off by giving them some helpful advice regarding the product, or share an interesting benefit of using it. Go the extra, extra mile by hand-writing the letter too.

Free Samples

Everyone loves getting free stuff. Why not bolster the unboxing experience by sending over a little bit more than expected? Not only will a free sample put a big smile on the face of the receiver, if they actually enjoy using it, there’s also a good chance that they’ll be coming back to order more. According to Shopify, free samples have the potential to boost sales by as much as 2,000%.

When it comes to packaging, make the right choice. Sustainable, thoughtful, memorable. Your customers, and the environment, will thank you for it.

 

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Marketing Tactics

The Facebook Ads Strategy That Can’t Lose

It’s a numbers game.

Entrepreneur

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Running a profitable Facebook Ads campaign is simple. Not always easy, but simple.

There is a formula that can guarantee a profitable Facebook Ad campaign. Once you know the formula and the values to plug in, you’ll never sink money into a losing digital ad campaign again. I know it sounds too good to be true, but stick with me…

The Guaranteed Growth Formula

Here’s the entire formula: CPA < AP

Were you expecting coefficients, remainders and dividing by polynomials? Nope, there are only two values that matter when assessing your digital marketing funnel.

1. CPA – Cost Per Acquisition

2. AP – Average Profit Per Client

If your Cost Per Acquisition, the amount you pay to generate a paying customer using Facebook Ads, is less than the Average Profit you make from each new customer you’re guaranteed a profitable campaign.

Calculating Average Profit

To get average profit per client, sum your total revenue from new clients and subtract what you spent to serve them. Divide the result by the total new clients. For example, if you made $75,000 from 10 new clients over the past year and it cost you $40,000 to serve them, your average profit is:

 ($75,000 – $40,000) / 10 = $3500 Average Profit Per Client

If your average acquisition cost for similar future clients is less than $3500, your campaign will technically be profitable.

Of course most businesses won’t want to spend all of their profit on acquisition. An average business can expect to invest at least 7 percent but no more than 15 percent of revenue in sales and marketing. If Cost of Goods accounts for 60 percent or more of total revenue, your low profit margin may make it difficult to afford successful advertising. Decrease operating costs by increasing efficiency or adjust your margin by raising prices.

Don’t make the mistake of calculating Average Profit based on revenue only from the first sale. Use at least six months of revenue or your lifetime client value as the basis for your calculation, or you risk underfunding your marketing and sales budget.

Related: Here Is Why Your Facebook Ad Campaigns Aren’t Producing Results

Calculating Cost Per Acquisition

Let’s assume you’ve considered all of your marketing and sales costs and determined you can spend $350 per new client on Facebook Ads. Let’s reverse engineer your ad campaign to see if a $350 cost of acquisition is reasonable.

The simplest Facebook ads funnel includes four metrics that build upon each other to determine your acquisition cost. I’ve included standard benchmarks for use as a starting point, but your results may differ:

1. Click-Through Rate (CTR) – Percentage of people clicking on your ad. Your CTR should be near or above 1 percent.

2. Cost Per Click (CPC) – The cost of one website visit. CPC should generally be below $3.

3. Lead Conversion Rate – The percentage of site traffic that becomes qualified leads. This value should be 20 percent or above.

4. Sales Conversion Rate – The percentage of leads that convert to a sale. Aim for sales conversion at or above 5 percent. (E-commerce companies often skip the Lead Conversion stage and have a Sales Conversion Rate of 1 percent or greater.)

If 10,000 people view your ad at a 1 percent CTR, you’ll get about 100 website visits. At a $3 CPC, you’ve spent $300. Since 20 percent of your traffic will become leads and 5 percent of those leads become closed sales, we can calculate that you’ll generate approximately 60 leads and three new customers.

Your estimated acquisition cost using Facebook Ads is $100 per client, which is well within your budget of $350. This cost may rise as you scale and target less optimal prospects, but as long as your acquisition cost is less than $350 you’ll make an acceptable profit.

Complex funnels can include several ads and conversion points, but the Guaranteed Growth Formula of CPA < AP still applies. There’s no immediate reason for concern if your metrics differ from the benchmarks. You can and should split test ideas for improvement if your numbers are far from what you expect, but don’t mess up a good thing until you’ve got a better one.

Optimising Your Guaranteed Growth Funnel

If unhealthy metrics cause your acquisition to cost more than what you’ve budgeted, start with these adjustments:

Click-Through Rate Too Low or Cost Per Click Too High

If your CTR falls far under 1 percent Facebook may stop showing your ads or show them to second-rate audiences causing your traffic to tank and CPC to increase. To improve your click metrics, adjust your ad copy (headline and body text), ad creative (image or video) and highlight the benefits in your offer.

Refine your audience. Tailor your copy, images and call-to-action to the audience you’ve selected and ensure that your audience has the desire and means to act.

Lead Conversion Too Low

If leads aren’t converting at 20 percent or more, either the promise made by your ad isn’t congruent with your landing page, or the process of moving forward is too difficult. Try using the same image and headline in your ad and reduce the form fields in sign-up forms to the bare minimum. Also try retargeting visitors who don’t sign up with ads stating the benefits of acting now, or with a different offer.

Related: Staying Relevant In The Facebook Age Of Meaningful Social Interactions

Sales Conversion Too Low

If you’re an Ecommerce brand with sales conversion below 1 percent your shopping cart or sales process may have too much friction. Simplify the sales process to decrease clutter, or increase trust by adding testimonials and trust signals near important calls to action.

Your sales process may need improvement, but that is beyond this article. In the meantime, you can still increase revenue by cross-selling and upselling those who convert. You may also improve client retention with recurring contracts. Yes, that’s why many software companies are switching to cloud-based subscription models.

When used properly, The Guaranteed Growth Formula of CPA < AP makes Facebook Ad marketing an investment, not an expense. Using the formula, the most you should ever risk is a small initial budget to test whether your estimated calculations hold true in practice.

If your net profit is 3X your acquisition cost, your funnel returns $3 for every $1 you invest. Instead of asking “How much should I spend on marketing?” The question becomes, “How much do I want to make?” I’ve built a Facebook Ad Growth Calculator that incorporates the Guaranteed Growth Formula to help execute your growth strategy. Input your revenue goal and it will estimate the Facebook Ad impressions and traffic required to reach it.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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