The business landscape is fierce and if you aren’t clear on the direction of your business, who your customers are and how you’re going to reach them then you might as well get ready to fade into the background while your competitors reap the rewards.
Every business needs to know what sets them apart and how they’re going to let their customers know just how great they are so including a marketing strategy in your business plan is the best starting point for achieving success.
Before You Write Your Marketing Plan…
It’s a bit difficult to simply start creating your marketing strategy if you aren’t too sure about your offering, your market and your key differentiators, which is why market research is such an important step.
When you are done with your market research you should be able to answer the following questions:
- Who are your potential clients?
- Where do they reside?
- What kind of people are your potential clients?
- Will they be interested in and willing to buy the product or service you’re offering?
- Are your prices attractive to your clients?
- Are your products and/or services available at the right time and place?
Divide your research up into primary and secondary categories in order to explore all of your available options. Start with secondary market research, this involves looking at information that has already been published and can be used to get an idea of your industry, market trends, competitors and potential customers. Below are a few ideas on where to obtain secondary data:
- The internet
- Industry magazines and trade journals
- Newspapers and magazines
- White papers
- Pooled data collected from interest groups
Turn to primary data sources if the secondary data didn’t quite give you all the information that you needed to develop your marketing strategy and plan. Primary data is collected from scratch and if you can’t afford to pay someone to do it then it’s simple enough to gather it on your own. You can collect primary data using the following methods:
- Interviews (Web, telephonic or personal interviews)
- Questionnaires and surveys
Developing Your Marketing Strategy
Now that you have a better idea of the market you are targeting you can start writing your marketing plan. Marketing strategies are there to map out an action plan for your business. This plan is not only useful for keeping track of progress and strategic direction but it’s a part of your business plan that investors will be interested in too.
Aim to include the following elements in your marketing plan to reap the best benefits:
If your marketing plan is going to form a part of your business plan then there is no need to create a second executive summary as it will be a repeat of information. If your marketing strategy is going to be a separate business tool then you can briefly describe your business and what sets you apart as well as touch on your vision and mission statement.
Start this section of your plan by explaining the current status of your business. Provide a few details on what you do, how you do it and how long you have been operating to date. Next you can provide answers to the following questions:
1. Who is your market?
This should be quite in-depth so it’s not uncommon to write up to two pages on your target market. Describe who your customers are, their demographics, needs and habits. Look at trends and growth in the market place to give investors an idea of where your business fits in and how you can cater to the needs of these clients.
2. What are your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
Take a page to explain what your strengths and weaknesses are as well as where opportunities and threats lay in your specific industry. You can download a SWOT analysis template here.
3. Who is your competition
Define who you are going up against by entering into your industry. What are your competitors offering your potential customers and what are they doing differently to you? Will they be a threat in the long run or won’t this be an issue for your company? Click here to view a competitor analysis example.
4. What are your key differentiators?
How do you stand out from your competitors and what will you be doing to ensure that you continue to be a top name in your industry? Are there any issues that you need to address in order to be successful in the short and long term?
When you develop your strategy, keep in mind that the main goal is to establish how you aim to increase brand awareness, create a relationship with customers and ultimately grow your business.
In order for a strategy to be effective it needs to be realistic, so this means taking your resources, time and budget into account. It also needs to be continuously implemented, tested and changed if required. Your strategy needs to contain the following information:
1. Marketing goals
List your objectives and what you want to achieve in the next month, year or 5 years. Your objectives can include anything from providing your customers with top-notch service to the increased profitability that you would like to achieve in the next 6 months.
What is your current position in the market and what do you need to do improve it? You might be competing against two top brands and you want your business to be one of those brands. How will you do it?
3. Marketing Mix
Now that you know what needs to be done you can explain in detail how you will achieve the goals that you set out above. This information is one of the most important parts of your marketing strategy and it’s important to note that your mix might change every now and then depending on trends and growth in your market. You need to list the following points in this section:
- Product strategy – What will your exact offering be
- Pricing strategy – How much will you be charging clients for your product or service and why?
- Distribution strategy – How will you make your product or service available to your clients?
- Promotional strategy – What will your marketing efforts be in order to create brand awareness and generate interest around your product or service?
The best guideline for deciding how much to spend on your marketing is anything from 1%-10% of your annual sales. This is mainly dependant on the industry you are in as well as how established your business is. The catch is that sales are dependent on marketing and vice versa so it’s important to put enough time and effort into this area of your business.
Go into some detail on the amount of money you will be assigning to marketing, how often you will be engaging in marketing activities and how you will monitor the effects. Some of the financials that investors might want to see and that will be useful as a monitoring tool are:
- Your break-even analysis
- Sales forecasts
- Expense forecasts.
There are many ways that you can also cut down on marketing costs and still get the most bang for your buck. Here are some ideas:
- Aim to attend industry events where you can network with potential customers and partners
- Make use of free online social media platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Facebook
- Decide whether it’s necessary to hire outside creative help for the project that you have in mind. A headshot for your newsletter and a photo for a magazine advert have two different requirements. Try and do as much as possible yourself, within reason of course
- Your business cards can be an affordable and memorable marketing tool so don’t overlook this
- If you want an online presence there are tons of free platforms that you can use to design a basic website
Implementation and Control
This is the part where you give yourself timelines and deadlines. Define what needs to be done and by when so that you can monitor progress and make any necessary changes. Some of the areas that you can monitor are customer satisfaction, repeat business and the cost of acquiring new business.
Marketing Plan Resources
If you feel that you want more information on developing marketing strategies and devising a plan here are some useful links:
- Download a free marketing template
- (Video) Tips for building a great marketing plan
- Topsy – Search and analyse the social web
- Survey Monkey – Create online surveys and polls
- Access sector stats and trends on the DTI website
- Access South African white papers and reports from the SA Government website
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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