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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

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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Marketing Tactics

How Is Influencer Marketing Going To Change In The Future?

How is influencer marketing going to be in the upcoming time? Read on.

Maulik Patel

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Influencer marketing is definitely not a new story. It’s been more than a decade now that it is immensely dominating the world of digital marketing. While being extremely cost-effective, influencer marketing strategies have very soon ended up with a great exposure. The businesses are building an immense level of reputation and earning various links with the help of this innovative marketing concept. In fact, the influencer marketing agencies are coming up with new approaches of implementation with each passing day.

Moreover, like any other type of marketing, the trends of influencer marketing are ever changing. Like how the story was five years back is not the same now and it is going to further evolve in the future.

The anticipated influencer marketing challenges

With the continuous growth of social media, influencer marketing is definitely going to face a myriad of obstacles. A few of the most expected ones are as follows:

Expenses

The demand for influencer marketing is continuously on the rise and eventually, the cost is going up. If you want to enter into the market of influencer marketing and establish yourself as an influencer then you need to give a lot of efforts while building a personal brand and earning the reputation for yourself.

You want to become one among such influencers who’ve already amassed a great following means that you’ll need to make it worth it- sometimes paid promotion could be the right tactic. In the future, this scenario is going to be even more prominent as people will have to spend huge bucks to be a worthy influencer.

Customers faith

In recent times, consumers have gradually started distrusting the huge brands when they realised that the corporations are working for only profit without having the user’s interests in the mind. So, for them, influencers are now no more than some mere conduits for big commercial names. So, it is going to be really tough for the influencers to get the trust of consumers back.

High level of competition

Social media is no doubt such a place now which is teeming with massive competition and threats. Many influencers who are already thriving and the people who have an urge to become influencers turn it into a complicated scenario for you to enter in this space as an influencer in your own right.

Related: 6 Reasons Why Influencer Marketing Really Works

How can influencer marketing unfold in the future?

Of course, there are multiple ways in which the entire story of influencer marketing can change in the coming years. Let’s check out some of the most expected developments:

Exchanges will be ahead of favours

The chapter of influencer marketing is probably going to be a pretty much an impartial marketplace in the coming time. The brands are more likely to enter into a mutual collaboration with the influencer marketing agencies in terms of interchanging shares, posts, audience visibility while being more organic rather than asking for the favour of mentioning the brand’s name to the influencers

Networking will be preferred over individuals

Gone are the days when influencer marketing used to be the story of respective individuals. Now, markets are assumed to start focussing on the entire networks or industries. The future influencer marketers can get rid of the problem of being based on individual interactions by getting the insights of blog comments, forums etc.

Change in the concept of disclosure

Why has not native advertising sustained over the long term?

It’s because the publishers always negate to disclose which posts are the paid promotions. In such a scenario, influencer marketing strategies can move a bit ahead of this transparent problem in the future. All that they are expected to do is formally announce the sort of partnership or arrangement that is existing behind each and every content. The experts believe that this process might end up being quite a tedious one. Howbeit, the consumer trust will not be hampered at all.

Limited and sensible partnerships

Influencers might lean more towards self-preservation in the coming days. Rather than establishing a relationship with hundreds of marketers or products, influencers are expected to focus more on developing authentic professional relationships which really make some sense. For examples, the influencers are intended to concentrate more on such relationships which can be profitable for themselves as individuals and also seem to be appealing to their followers. Say, a move towards quality over quantity!

Winding Up

No doubt, the evolution of influencer marketing is not only dependent on the aforementioned factors. There’s much more that can happen. The time can only reveal that. Influencer marketing is certainly going to change on its own in either of the two ways, a more sophisticated one or become a mere peripheral strategy which won’t be completely accessible.

Let’s just wait and watch how it comes up to us in the future!

Aren’t you taking an advantage of the current extraordinary status of influencer marketing in the meantime?

Related: 4 Young Marketing Influencers You Can Learn From

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Marketing Tactics

Top Marketing Trends For 2019

When you reflect on marketing trends that have taken centre stage in 2018, what stands out?

Emma Donovan

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Maybe it’s the proliferation of Instagram stories or  influencer marketing? Or the fact that video content has become even shorter and simpler with the rise of GIFs.

The real question is how have you incorporated these trends in to your marketing strategy, and what should you focus on in 2019? Here are six up and coming trends that you don’t want to miss:

1. Say hello to the social CEO

Customers want ‘real’ brand stories and to know what drives them. Leaders who are successful on social media show their companies’ human side and give their brands’ credibility and personality. This builds loyalty and, in some cases, an emotional connection that goes beyond the product or service.

Customers who feel this connection may even go on to become brand ambassadors.

Tip: Share stories that demonstrate your leadership style as well as company culture.

2. Initiate conversations

While 2018 brought the chatbots, the trend for 2019 is really using these bots to gather information about consumers by engaging with them on a personal level and steering them towards a sale. Bots are being trained to be authentic and sound more like people than the robots they are.

For example Facebook Messenger becomes more and more useful for brands as the platform allows customisation of automated messages and the ability to initiate a conversation at the right time.

Tip: You can also integrate this with Facebook shopping and increase conversion rates by enabling the bot to sell products to a consumer through the Facebook platform.

Related: Pay Per Click Advertising. When, How And For What?

3. Keep it local

Influencer marketing can be short lived or a little superficial. So try to identify and partner with local influencers that are happy to work on long-term campaigns. Also use multiple touch points including podcasts, YouTube and Snapchat as well as Instagram and Facebook.

Tip: Before you reach out to an influencer, follow them and learn a bit about the way they represent brands and engage with their fans to see if they’ll be a good fit. 

4. Try Instagram ads

As Facebook ads continue to dominate our feeds, advertisers are looking for a new place to stand out and get noticed. Instagram ads are on the rise, according to the Merkle report that showed that while Facebook ad spend grew 40% year-on-year in the second quarter of 2018, Instagram ad spend jumped 177% in the same time period.

Tip: Do some A/B split testing with different styles of images and calls-to-action.

5. Personalise email communication

Make sure to use automation and personalisation to really make your customers feel that you are listening.

Using hyper-segmentation, you can target very specific parts of your market. This will ensure that they receive personalised emails based on what they have expressed interest in or actions they have taken with regards to your brand.

Tip: Use automated campaigns after a first purchase; to request a review on social platforms; or just thank customers for shopping and remind them to share their purchase online.

Related: Free Sample Marketing Plan Template

6. Post in real time

In an effort to bring offline marketing into the online world, Instagram TV or IGTV allows brands to create a place for consumers to watch live events or brand content in their own time.

In addition, IGTV replaces the need for YouTube in some cases as brands are able to upload 10 or more minutes of footage directly to Instagram for consumers to watch as ‘episodes’.

This will become more prevalent in the years to come as businesses include this in their strategy. IGTV videos are less formal and will typically cost less than a traditional TV advert to create.

Whatever trends come our way, the key is to remain agile and adapt to how customers engage with your brand. And more than ever before, it’s important for all marketing touch points to align and communicate the same message.

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