If you want to put together a kickass marketing campaign, there are a few things you need to keep top of mind: who are you, who is your customer, and how are you reaching your customer? It’s no longer enough to just advertise. You need to engage with your clients and deliver on your promises. And most of all, you need to give them products and services that they want and need.
Entrepreneur spoke to marketing experts from across the local marketing industry on what they believe the hottest trends for 2012 will be, and how you can leverage them for your brand – and grow your business.
The art of focus
Before you embark on your marketing journey, keep in mind the golden rule of marketing: maintain focus. Choose one area to focus your energy on, and allow the campaign time to develop. If something really isn’t working, rather abandon it than throw good money after bad, but before you make any snap judgements, give your campaign time to gather momentum. Well strategised campaigns all have the following ingredients in common:
- They are based on realistic goals
- They are well researched and planned
- They are based on what the customer wants
- They are backed up by great products and services and a strong focus on the customer
- They are measured and adjusted accordingly.
But over and above these points, they are achieved through a dedicated commitment to the campaign and remaining true to the core message.
“Instead of doing dozens of campaigns half-heartedly or with a very limited budget, rather focus on your most promising marketing activities and give 100% to that campaign,” says Axel Rittershaus, founder of Targetter. Lorna Powe, founder of Sales Partners agrees. “Many people start a marketing campaign, only to change it a week later in favour of something else. The problem is that people don’t listen every time they see an advert or read something. Politicians have a saying ‘Tell them, tell them and then say it again.’ Marketing is exactly the same. People need to hear your message three times before they begin to remember it. But once the momentum begins all you need to do is keep it going.”
1. Set goals
Know what you want to achieve
Successfully implementing a great marketing strategy all begins with keeping the end in mind. What do you want to achieve? Once you know that, you can start planning how you are going to get there.
So what does this mean?
According to Powe, determining your marketing goal is all about deciding why you are marketing in the first place: Are you looking to create brand awareness?
An increase in sales? Are you launching a new product? What is your ultimate goal? If it’s an increase in sales, how much of an increase? These are all questions you need to consider before you waste time and resources on a campaign that doesn’t achieve its objectives.
What’s your strategy?
John French, communications specialist and founder of Corporate Intelligence, advises that you start by setting simple and SMART marketing goals:
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Achievable
R – Realistic
T – Time-based
“Once you know what your goals are, you can start putting an action plan together,” he says. “But don’t only look at what you want to achieve – evaluate any threats and obstacles that may prevent you from achieving your targets and goals.” This will allow you to prepare for any eventuality, but it will also force you to examine your target market: are you giving them something they want or need?
2. The planning stage
Moving from the general to the specific
Traditional marketing was general. Its aim was wide rather than targeted, and so strategies were designed to appeal to as many people as possible. Today there is so much choice available, that strategies have needed to change. “In the past few years, marketing has become more focused on the individual,” says Tim Shier, MD of BrandsEye. “This allows businesses to better align their marketing strategies and make better business decisions.” It also means that you need to really think about who your consumer is.
So what does this mean?
According to Scott Gray, head of Quirk’s strategy department, planning before embarking on any campaign should be a priority. “It’s something that people don’t do enough of,” he adds. “SME owners and marketing departments often jump headfirst into wherever the shiny object might lead them, and that ends up being a waste of effort. Have relevant goals in mind before embarking on any campaign – and then use those goals to come up with a plan that you can implement.”
This requires keeping the consumer top of mind as well. Greg Kockott, MD of PenQuin International, believes that marketing strategies are determined by how the potential target market is consuming and engaging with various media. “The most important aspect is to understand who your target market is, where they are, how they consume media and how best to talk to them. Too often the term ‘everyone’ is used when trying to define a target market. South Africa is a country of many demographics and psychographics. To create a strategy targeting ‘everyone’ would cost more than the GDP of a small country.” It would also be ineffective. This is true of large corporations and SMEs alike. Who is your target market?
What’s your strategy?
“Strategies need to be tailored to suit your consumers,” says Kockott. “For example, selling bricks through a massive TV campaign will be costly and largely ineffective because you’re missing your target audience. You need to rather target the building industry through the use of trade magazines. First off, understand who purchases bricks and understand what media they consume.” In other words, marketing isn’t industry specific, but consumer-specific. Who is your consumer?
“When you start the planning process, you need to think laterally,” says French. “The old marketing paradigms and formulas for making money no longer work in our fast-changing economic climate and landscape. You need to reinvent yourself and your business, spot new opportunities, be ahead of the pack and have a ‘marketing differentiator’ that makes your business stand out above your competition. Making money is a creative, intelligent process.” French adds that you need to understand your market. “What is the prevailing mood? What are the current trends? Where is the market heading? Are you one step ahead? You need to anticipate the market and not be behind your competitors in responding to trends.”
Finally, how are you going to reach your market? “Communication will make or break your business,” says French. “Your market needs to know about you and your business. A website, blog and social media platform does not guarantee anything. Find the easiest and most effective way to reach your target market, and communicate with them.”
Quirk’s eMarketing textbook: eMarketing: The essential guide to digital marketing covers everything you need to know about online marketing.
Download it for free from www.quirk.biz/emarketingtextbook/
3. Measure, measure, measure
Do you get a return on your marketing investment?
Marketing is an investment, and like all investments, you need to be able to measure your returns. “Check the success of your recent activities and pick the best ones,” advises Axel Rittershaus. “If you can’t check them, you have to implement a system to measure their success – otherwise you’re just playing around doing what you like.”
So what does this mean?
The basic rule of thumb? Measure everything. “What you can measure, you can manage,” says Gray. “Know what you spend in terms of time and resources, and be clear about what you get in return. Web analytics can help you get results, even with the most basic of these tools.
“You also need to keep in mind that your consumer stays your consumer. They sit at their computers and do the same thing. It’s not a question of you changing their behaviour, but understanding their behaviour. What is their mind-set the moment before they engage with your brand? It’s about trying to predict what that is and adjusting your strategy to suit it. There should be no defined law or rule on what you can use, as long as you can measure how it’s working.”
What’s your strategy?
“You need to understand the full measurement landscape,” advises Shier. “Research done by the Digital Media and Marketing Association in 2011 found that far too few South African corporates were measuring all elements of their marketing campaigns.
Setting up key performance measures across all social media, marketing, digital and advertising channels, and subsequently benchmarking success around these points should be the starting point. Businesses that perform particularly well will take this one step further and use the collective insights and reports to drive better strategic marketing decisions.”
But the whole point of measuring the impact of your marketing campaign is so that you can constantly adjust your strategy. Don’t change what your are doing entirely, but react to changes in the consumer. “The secret to marketing is five-fold,” says Susan Hansford, business development manager, Primedia Online. “You first need to understand your audience. This will help you explore new opportunities and distribution channels in marketing to your audience. You then need to revisit your marketing mix to ensure it’s still delivering the results you want. If there are areas you haven’t explored, test them within the overall campaign. This will ensure an integrated approach in which your brand is delivered across all the media your audience consumes. But most importantly, you need to constantly be recalculating and then adjusting your strategy to changes in your
BrandsEye: For online reputation management and insights. www.brandseye.com
Radian6: Social media monitoring tools, social media engagement software and social CRM. www.radian6.com
Adding value is the secret to selling
Here’s the deal: even the best (and most expensive) marketing campaign will not work if your products and services do not support your campaign. “All industries are driven by consumers and although consumers vary, one thing they have in common is that most decisions made are based on an emotional rationale,” explains Ryan McFadyen, co-founder of word-of-mouth agency, HaveYouHeard. “No matter what the industry, if you can emotionally engage with your consumer, you will drive purchase, loyalty and advocacy.”
Put another way, this means you will make sales. The opposite is also true though. If you don’t engage with your customer and don’t deliver on your promises, you face not only losing one sale, but also the risk of your unhappy customers talking.
So what does this mean?
If you want to make sales, you need to add value. “We see 2012 as the year when outstanding performance becomes the central theme for all brands,” says McFadyen. “Gone are the days when consumers lacked choice and big brands dominated. Marketers will need to ensure that every aspect of their mix performs better than that of their competitors, whether it be product attributes and performance or customer service. Consumers are becoming ever more vocal. If your product does something exceptional they will tell people, whether through face to face communication or social media. To this same point, if you do something wrong, they will be even more vocal about it.”
It’s also important not to forget your bread and butter. “It’s far easier and more cost effective to retain existing customers than get new ones,” says Kockott. “Far too often companies and individuals spend too much time and money trying to acquire new clients and forget that current clients are core to a successful ongoing concern. It’s critical to spend enough of your time and marketing budget servicing existing clients.”
What’s your strategy?
“The most important rule for 2012 is this: Do not market your product,” says Rittershaus. “Forget it. Understand that nobody wants your product. As consumers we only buy products and services to get a result – and that’s what you’ve got to promote! Nobody wants to buy a protein drink or a new gadget – we want to have the hottest body on the beach and be the trendsetter amongst our friends. If you market the value your customers are getting, you will be way ahead of your product-centric competitors.”
Over and above demonstrating value, it’s important to keep in mind that a business does not sell itself. “You and your sales staff need to have phenomenal sales skills to break into the market and increase market share,” says French. “Hard selling died in the 90s and consumers today are far more informed and have far more choices than in the past. Sales people need excellent communication and emotional intelligence skills to build rapport and sell to customers. Those who go for training excel and succeed.”
French also believes that it’s easier to sell and succeed with people you already have a relationship with than to cold call and sell to strangers. “So, get out there and create new business friendships. Sadly, most traditional networking groups tend to be desperate support groups for people who have no network. Great networkers go out there and make the connections they need to succeed.”
Another important part of selling is improving client experiences. “Customers today simply do not tolerate bad service. You need to offer better customer service than your competitors in order to grow your business. By up-skilling your staff you will ensure that your customers enjoy a better customer experience with your company, and you in turn buy customer loyalty.”
Finally, keep lifting your game. “I know it’s a cliché, but the word ‘success’ really does only come before ‘work’ in the dictionary,” says French. “If you don’t continue to grow your business, it simply stagnates and decays. The best sports stars go for more and more coaching the better they become. So continue to ‘sharpen your saw’, strategise continually to up your game, and find ways to improve your performance and market offering.”
Online sales funnel management.
5. Create brand fans
Garnering passion for your brand
Part of adding value is building rapport. Your consumers need to trust you, and this requires starting and maintaining conversations with them. “You need to make your customers proud to be your client,” says Rittershaus. “This begins with really caring about them, which equates to outstanding customer service and making them happy whenever they interact with your company – even when they complain.”
McFadyen agrees. “Be honest in everything you do. If you make a mistake, acknowledge it and rectify it. You will be surprised how passionate people can be when they
receive unexpected service.”
So what does this mean?
“2012 will see marketing become less about broadcasting your message and more about creating a relationship with your consumer,” says McFadyen. “The vast majority of our consumers shop with their emotions. They will look for a rational reason to purchase a product, like what the product does or why it is superior to the next and then take an emotional decision to purchase it. The key in 2012 will be to build that relationship and emotionally engage with your customer to build success. This will also drive loyalty.”
What’s your strategy?
First, understand that while marketing used to have a very general aim, in the past few years it has become more focused on the individual. While this allows businesses to better align their marketing strategies and make better business decisions, it also means you need to focus on that individual and speak directly to your clients.
“Story telling is the new brand opportunity,” says Shier. “As more customers move online, the role of storytelling around brands will increase. Research conducted by Edelman, a full service global public relations firm shows that traditional advertising trust is in decline. This means that brands have to engage their customers in a more meaningful way, while illustrating their positioning and values.” You also need to treat customers as if they were shareholders. “In the last few years there has been a massive change in the role customers play in the business landscape. They are better informed and actively engaging with customers provides an opportunity to integrate their insights, needs and recommendations into the business strategy,” says Shier. “This is a great, real-time means of informing business and marketing strategy to better align with the identified needs.”
Once you have built a solid client base use it. “Tap into your existing database and turn them into brand advocates,” says McFadyen. “Use them to spread your message through their social networks. You can even go as far as using a selected number of your consumers to help you design new products or drive innovation within your existing portfolio. After all, who knows better what your consumers want than your consumers. As you relinquish control and involve your consumer within your marketing mix, your brand will succeed.”
The key to consumer involvement is creating great content. “Before you know it you’ve got yourself very far on very little or even no budget,” says Gray.
“The real trick is filling these spaces with content that engages and ultimately serves to change the behaviour of your consumers so that they buy your product and believe in
The SA Consumer Initiative: Communicate with your specific target audience via email or sms. The SACI database comprises 22,5 million South Africans. www.thesaci.co.za
MailChimp:Free email marketing for up to 2 000 contacts. www.mailchimp.com
Google Feedburner: Free email marketing. Feedburner.google.com
How To Localise Your Marketing Campaign
Here are some of the best tips to help you understand how to localise your marketing campaign without a lot of effort.
No matter which market you are trying to reach, localising the content you use for your marketing campaign will help you achieve a much smoother outcome. Localising your marketing campaign as a whole can have a number of benefits on the way your audience views your company to how effective the strategy actually is.
If you’re interested in starting to localise your marketing campaign as well, keep reading.
Make sure your products are compatible with the new markets
You might have noticed that there are certain big companies which have spread all around the world and offer their products and services to many different markets.
One of the things that all of these companies are very careful about is making sure the products they provide each geographic area with are compatible with the tastes and traditions of the people.
For example, many big fast-food chains such as Burger King, Pizza Hut and McDonald’s have stores in Asia where they offer dishes which contain seaweed or tofu, which are local to this certain market.
If you want your marketing campaign to become a success, you will need to make sure that you promote these new, special for each location products, so that your customers will know they were made especially for them and their needs and they can then look for them either online through your website or in their areas.
Related: Free Sample Marketing Plan Template
Work with the right professionals
In order to localise your marketing campaign, you will need to work with professionals who will be able to provide you with all the right information and tools you need in order to make it successful.
The most important person to look out for is a professional and preferably native translator. Machine translations can never produce the same outcome as a professional translator who is a native of a certain language.
Many online professional platforms for translators such as TheWordPoint note that “There will always be certain words and phrases which are native and can’t be translated unless a language is your mother tongue”. This is why a human translator will always be far superior to a machine,
Along with that, you will want to invest in a professional who will be able to help you localise your keywords and make sure that you are targeting your marketing campaign to the right audience around the world.
Get feedback from your new audience
Last but not least, it is important to remember that you should always work hard to improve the content of your marketing campaigns. When trying to create certain products and services available for other parts of the world, it is normal for you to make mistakes and have to correct things as you go.
If one of your customers has some feedback to give you, kindly accept it and work hard in order to correct any mistake. You can even have a short poll on your social media accounts or website and ask your customers whether you could improve your localised services in any way.
Not only will this help you show your professionalism, but your customers will also appreciate how much effort you put into pleasing them with your services. This tactic will help you attract more potential customers and turn your marketing campaign into a success.
Adjusting your marketing campaign the right way
Localising your marketing campaign will be a little difficult at first, but the good news is that you will only keep improving your tactics if you decide to put enough effort into it. Working with local, native professionals and adjusting your products to your customer’s needs, will help you succeed and stand out in your field.
What do you think is the most important thing when localising a marketing campaign?
5 Content Marketing Tips For Small Businesses
5 Content Marketing Tips for Small Businesses.
A small business owner struggles with a lot of challenges in his journey to success. One of his major concerns is related to content marketing. You need to promote your products and services and reach a larger audience to strengthen your brand on the market. However, in comparison to large businesses, small business owners struggle also with limited budget and workforce. In a small business, the business owner is usually multitasking, doing everything he can to save money and stay in control of his business.
The truth is that your content strategy can help or break your business. You may have the best product in the world. It isn’t enough if your target audience hasn’t heard about it. You need content to promote yourself and spread the word on the market. Furthermore, when it comes to acquiring new clients and expanding on new markets, there’s nothing more powerful than content. This article is going to show which content marketing tips you can use to promote your small business.
5 Content marketing tips for small businesses:
1. Start with a good plan and steady flow
Your content can take many forms. You can impress your target audience with various forms of content like:
- Blog posts
- Case studies
- Press releases
Before you start creating your content, you should have very clear in your mind what you want to achieve. Therefore, once you know which are your goals you can organise your marketing strategy and decide what type of content you are going to post and when. What is more, once your clients become loyal to the type of content you are producing, they will want more.
This means that you should be consistent in publishing different forms of content. You can post relevant content on a daily basis, or if you want to keep your clients in suspense, you can schedule your posts to be published every two weeks. Irrespective of the form you choose or the frequency, Trust My Paper advises that your content should be informative, actionable, and relevant.
2. Trust evergreen content
Yes, this might seem a cliché, but it is 100% guaranteed. Your content should deliver value regardless of the time your customers are going to read it. What does evergreen content mean? This type of content is always fresh, relevant, and valuable for your reader irrespective of the period when you will publish it. For example, it is important to keep your readers updated with the industry’s trends and development. But, this is not evergreen content because if your readers will find it after a while, it will not give them any relevant information.
To make sure that you build evergreen content, you can go for long tail keywords so that your content will rank high on the search engine for a long time. Plus, try to target beginners in your area of expertise and stay away from technical jargon.
3. Conduct a survey or a poll
If you feel you do your best to create relevant content for your buyer persona but the results still don’t appear, then it means that you should research more on what your customers really want. And, what is the best way to find what your target audience wants? You can organise a poll or a survey where you will ask them what type of content they would like to find on your website.
Based on the results you will receive you can organise your content strategy and the posting frequency. What is more, you can introduce some open questions where you ask your clients about the most interesting topics for them. This is a great exercise which will help you when you feel stuck and lack ideas for relevant ideas for your audience.
4. Do more content re-marketing
If you have some already published topics which were very successful, who says that you cannot re-publish them after a while? Re-using the relevant content you published in the past is definitely easier than creating new content from scratch.
What is more, if you shared your content on social media and tagged some of your most loyal clients, this is a great way to reach out to those customers after a while. This is a good method to reactive existing users and involve them in your story. In addition, you can refurbish past ideas to create even more exciting posts for your potential readers.
5. Use verifiable facts in your content
In today’s reality, it’s perfectly okay if you produce interesting content. But you will be even more interesting to read if you add facts and clear data to your content. This is how you will show your readers that you are professional, and you did a deep research before publishing your posts. People like numbers and concrete ideas.
What is more, numbers have a higher impact on them, making them understand the reality and context. So, if you back up your content with facts, you can rest assure that your number of readers will increase. You will consolidate your position on the market as a serious business owner who is constantly updated with the market’s progress and trends.
There is no magic recipe for successful content. It takes a lot of effort and research to produce that type of content that makes people click and drives traffic. You can use the tips above and make your life a bit easier. Moreover, if you evaluate your content before distribution, you will be less exposed to errors. Your readers deserve error-free and relevant content. This is how you can keep them engaged and transform them in loyal clients.
7 Secrets For Websites That Convert Like Crazy
When it comes to making more sales through your website you have 2 options:
A. Get more people to visit your site.
B. Convert a higher percentage of your existing web visitors into active customers.
There are many ways to increase the amount of visitors to your website. For example: increasing your ad spend or investing in a long-term strategy like SEO, but that’s a topic for another time. Today we will be speaking about option B and the art of conversions.
Secret 1: Leverage Urgency
When someone is on your site looking at your products, undecided, and they make the decision to “think about it”, it is super unlikely that they will ever make that purchase.
Urgency is a tool you can use to force the issue. Urgency is cultivated by some of the most successful and effective companies in the world on their websites.
Neil Patel — the guy Facebook & Google hire to do their online advertising — noticed an 11% increase in conversions on his website when he put a countdown timer on his website set it to the expiry of his online offer.
Or take Amazon.com: Ever noticed how next to the product you’re looking at it says something like: “Only 3 left in stock – order soon”?
They don’t do that to be helpful to you. They do it to get you to make your mind up. Fast. To get you to complete the purchase without thinking about it too much.
And if you implement this on your own website, you will start to notice an improvement in your sales.
Related: Converting Leads Into Sales
Secret 2: Use Geotargeting
What is Geotargeting you ask? It is the method of detecting where in the world a particular web visitor is located, and serving them content specific to their location.
It’s one of the best ways of creating a personalised website experience for your visitors.
An example of well-executed Geotargeting is a retail store showing different clothing items based on what country you’re in. It would be pretty pointless selling swimming shorts to someone in Greenland in mid-winter. Just saying. By serving relevant content, you improve sales. Simple.
Even just using the visitor’s City in the page headline can significantly improve conversions and click through rate. You’ve probably seen a headline like: “How Cape Town Mom Makes 6-Figures Working From Home”. That’s Geotargeting in action. And it works.
Secret 3: Use the word “Free”
Say you want to capture your prospects’ email addresses so you can continue to market to them on an ongoing basis.
Use the word “free”. Contrast these 2 CTA’s for a newsletter signup:
- Signup to our newsletter.
- Signup to our newsletter — it’s free.Studies show that “B” will consistently perform better.
Secret 4: Trade value for action
How do you go about getting anyone to do anything you want them to?
That’s right. You offer them an incentive.
Why should it be any different on your website? You want people to sign up for your newsletter? Give them a reason to. Simple.
This can be anything: a free trial of your digital product, a promo code for your store… You get the idea. You can also get super creative with this.
For example: Say you run a garden landscaping company…
Offer a free personalised report on how the visitor can improve their own garden at home. Create a little questionnaire and when they’re done, make them submit their email address to get their free report.
This works because after they have filled out the questionnaire they are already invested. They will now be much more likely to give you their email address.
Secret 5: Nurture Leads
By the time people hit your site, most of them aren’t ready to buy just yet.
That’s why it’s vital that your landing page nurtures their interest and guides them gradually from uncertainty, to answering their objections along the way, and eventually to their buying decision.
This system is called a “sales funnel”. You’ve probably heard of it. The funnel starts as soon as people hit your landing page. As they scroll down the page you lead them on a journey until they finally make their purchasing decision.
Along the way people will drop off and leave the site. Through website analytics, you can see at which points of the funnel people begin to drop off and you can tweak these sections to make them more effective and keep more traffic locked into your funnel.
Adding a video to your funnel can be a highly effective tool for retaining traffic.
Secret 6: Make it relevant
Running an online business without knowing your target audience inside-out is a bad idea.
You need to figure out everything you can about them and then figure out any possible objections they could have to using your service or buying your product.
One way to find out what people in your niche want to know is to hop on a site like Quora. Pop in your niche and you’ll instantly see what kinds of questions people have about your business.
Then you want to preemptively address these possible concerns or questions in your content. You will be rewarded with better sales. The point is to make your content as relevant to your customers as possible. If it’s off-point, you’ll lose conversions.
Secret 7: Master the upsell
So your funnel has worked and a lead is about to become a happy customer.
Why not offer them another product to go with what they’re already buying?
Write a little line of copy saying something like: “people who bought this item frequently buy these related products”.
Then feature a couple of related products.
You’ve now given yourself a decent chance of turning 1 sale into 2. Since the upsell is so effective, why don’t you try a downsell too? That’s when you offer a person a more affordable alternative to your product when they drop off from your sales funnel.
As you now know, there are some simple and super intuitive techniques you can begin to implement right now to make your website convert better.
This article was just a brief overview of a very broad field. There’s plenty more to learn like re-marketing and a/b testing which I would like to cover in more detail down-the-line.
Remember you need to get people to your website to be able to convert them so these tips should be used in conjunction with your existing marketing efforts.
There are plenty of free (& paid) tools and plugins that can help you implement everything mentioned above. The best way to get started is to implement them one at a time. If you have any questions, please leave them as a comment below.
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