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Marketing Tactics

Become a Master Marketer

3 Simple, cost-effective marketing steps that will get you to the top of your game.

Nadine Todd

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Targetted-Marketing

Entrepreneurs go into business for many reasons. You want to change the world, solve a burning need, help a community, or simply realise a dream. Whatever your personal motivations are, business is your chosen tool. Vision alone cannot sustain a business though – profits do.

And the way to earn profits is to sell your products and services for more than it costs to produce them. That’s finance 101, so where does marketing come into play?

Marketing has two primary aims: It ensures you are offering your consumers something they really want, and it gets your message out there so that customers know what you’re offering, who you are, and where to find you.

It’s not rocket science, and it doesn’t need to cost you an arm and a leg to achieve. In fact, a great marketing strategy isn’t only cost-effective, but simple to follow as well.

Here are three steps to creating a killer marketing strategy.

1. Create a product or service customers will clamour for

Are you offering your customers something that they really want?

Marketing research can tell companies whether they are meeting their customers’ needs and expectations. With research, SME owners can learn whether they need to change their packaging, tweak delivery methods, or even offer additional services.

A good market research plan indicates where and who your customers are. It will also tell you when they are most likely to purchase your goods or services.

Use the results of research to create a business and marketing plan or measure the success of your current plan. That’s why it’s important to ask the right questions to the right people. Poor research can steer a business in the wrong direction. Here are some research basics to get you started, and some mistakes to avoid.

Types of market research

Primary research

The goal is to gather data from analysis of current sales and the effectiveness of current practices. Primary research also takes competitors’ plans into account.

Collecting primary research can include:

  • Interviews (either by telephone or face-to-face)
  • Surveys (online or by mail)
  • Questionnaires (online or by mail)
  • Focus groups gathering a sampling of potential clients or customers and getting their direct feedback.

Questions include:

  • Why would you purchase this product or service?
  • What do you like or dislike about current products or services on the market?
  • What areas would you suggest for improvement?
  • What is the appropriate price for the product or service?

Secondary research

The goal is to analyse data that has already been published. With secondary data, you can identify competitors, establish benchmarks and identify target segments. Your segments are the people of a predetermined age group who fall into your targeted demographic – people who live a certain lifestyle and exhibit particular behavioural patterns.

Collecting data

No SME can remain competitive without understanding its customers, its products and services, and its market. There are two categories of data collection: Quantitative and qualitative. Quantitative methods employ mathematical analysis and require a large sample size.

The results shed light on statistically significant differences. Find quantitative results in your web analytics (available in Google’s suite of tools). This can help you determine where your leads are coming from, how long visitors are staying on your site and from which page they are exiting.

Qualitative methods help you develop your quantitative methods. They can help define problems and reveal customers’ opinions, values and beliefs.

2. Bring your brand to life

Simple steps to effective marketing.

Marketing isn’t sales. You aren’t pitching your product. What you are doing is letting your customers know what you do in such a way that they not only respond to your brand, but want your brand to be a part of their life. This starts with step one – you need to produce something that they really do need in their lives. Once that’s done though, they need to know you exist. Enter our four simple steps to effective marketing. (See checklist)

Marketing is all about deconstructing your business and vision for everyone else. It’s not about dumbing things down (your customers don’t ever want to feel like they’re being talked down to). What it is about is taking the complex and making it easily understood, while tapping into the core values of your customers. What do they really care about? How does your business fill that need?

An often-used example is Harley-Davidson, which doesn’t focus on the complicated technical aspects of its products. Sure, many of its consumers are petrol heads, but many more want to feel the freedom of the open road, while showing they are able to afford that freedom in style. Harley-Davidson markets a lifestyle – not a machine.

Keeping it simple

Products and services (especially digital ones) can be complex. Your job as a marketer is, in part, to make the seemingly impenetrable easily understood, to lose the corporate ‘Frankenspeak’ and convey your business’s value in human, accessible terms.

Businesses that develop buyer personas for their products or services exemplify the ‘keep it simple’ mantra. A buyer persona is a representation of the type of consumer you believe will be interested in what your company is selling.

The idea is to address customers’ wants and needs directly – speaking to their specific pain points from their specific points of view.

More broadly, it can be handy to envision intended prospects as people who demand clarity and simplicity. This will help you to market effectively.

Let’s take Steve as a great local example. While we can all agree that FNB’s Steve ads that flooded the airwaves throughout 2012 were more than a little annoying, the campaign was also very effective. Steve’s prospects touched on our pain points, we have a clear understanding of FNB’s offering, and we associate with the bank as one that speaks our language – not banking lingo.

3. Keep the momentum going

Instead of jumping from trend to trend follow these six steps for marketing that really works.

Feeling bombarded by all the theories on the so-called newest, latest and hottest trends in marketing? You’re not alone. Jumping from trend to trend in pursuit of the latest idea is the last thing a smart entrepreneur should do in this economic climate – particularly when we’re not out of the woods yet.

Now’s the time to keep a level head and chart a course that’s guided by what really works. Take a look at this list of six tried-and-true steps you can take for a successful marketing programme in today’s marketplace.

1. Put finding prospects first

How do your best prospects find what they’re shopping for? Chances are they begin by using a search tool. Having a strong presence in the online search engines or directories is a must, and you can also purchase links in the resource sections of third-party websites your prospects frequent.

Traditional search tools, including the printed Yellow Pages, industrial directories and newspapers have moved online as well and offer increasingly affordable solutions. Magazines with ‘shopper’ sections also represent smart search corridor options for advertisers.

2. Don’t drop out of sight

It’s always a huge mistake to stop communicating with customers: Out of sight = out of mind. So while the recession may have shrunk your marketing budget, it’s essential to find a good mix of tactics you can sustain over the long haul to reach out to clients with sufficient frequency.

Develop a database of prospects and customers, then retain and up-sell them through ongoing communication via email and direct mail. And coordinate this effort with acquisition tactics to bring in new prospects.

3. Separate from the pack

Economic hard times have changed the way people shop. Today’s big motivators include low prices and savings. Free shipping continues to be a strong incentive for example. Green practices or aligning with a charitable cause can also help positively differentiate your business from its competition.

After all, you can’t always differentiate based on what you sell; but how you sell, who you are and what you do can make all the difference to prospects.

4. Invest in relationships

In uncertain times, consumers want to buy from companies they trust and believe in. That makes one-to-one customer relationships essential. Wherever possible, increase in-person selling, networking in business and professional groups, and online social networking.

Use experiential marketing, such as events that bring you into direct contact with customers in small groups, to foster positive client relationships with your company, products or brand. Create several great letters that can be customised to follow up each interpersonal contact – and send handwritten thank you notes.

5. Get people talking

Recommendations and positive word-of-mouth are extremely important today. Cautious shoppers want to know they’re making safe and smart decisions. A public relations campaign that includes savvy article placements or product reviews can give your sales a lift.

For example, a well-placed article that runs on a respected website can quickly be spread friend-to-friend across the web. Another strategy for building word-of-mouth is to create an advisory group of influential clients who are the first to receive your new products, info and special offers. If they like what they see, they’ll pass the word along.

6. Expand your website

Customers are shopping on more websites and viewing more pages in less time than ever before, so your site has to immediately grab and hold them with information they want. Highlight special pricing, offers and incentives at the top of your homepage.

Include background information about your company, its principals, media coverage and charitable giving. And create a space for customers to share their experiences through a message board, or post their stories and testimonials somewhere visible for a website that works hard to help you close sales.

Nadine Todd is the Managing Editor of Entrepreneur Magazine, the How-To guide for growing businesses. Find her on Google+.

Marketing Tactics

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.

Pauline Farris

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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.

Related: Beginners Guide To Digital Marketing In South Africa

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?

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Marketing Tactics

5 Content Marketing Tips For Small Businesses

5 Content Marketing Tips for Small Businesses.

Marie Fincher

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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
  • Infographics
  • Case studies
  • Visuals
  • Press releases
  • Videos

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.

Related: 10 Content Marketing Tips For Start-ups

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.

Related: 3 Ways To Build Your Brand Identity Using Content Marketing

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.

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Marketing Tactics

7 Secrets For Websites That Convert Like Crazy

Happy converting.

Kiran Wicksteed

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When it comes to making more sales through your website you have 2 options:

A. Get more people to visit your site.

OR

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.

Related: 5 Research-Backed Strategies To Increase Your Sales Revenues

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.

Conclusion

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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