Without any marketing plan or strategy, businesses are simply offering their products or services, in the hope that whatever they are doing will work. Let’s face it, you might have the best widget, that your target customers would love, if only they knew about it. But if they don’t know about you, then your widget will be the best kept secret. Having no marketing plan is like navigating anywhere without a compass, maps, your satnav, and your mobile phone! So, what are the right marketing activities?
Your business is unique. When you’re offering a service or a product that’s similar to your competitors, you need to differentiate to generate leads and win new business. And keep your existing customers too.
You won’t be surprised to hear there isn’t a silver bullet or magic wand to selecting the right marketing activities for your business. But remember that you are unique and you need to elevate what makes you different and better than your competitors. Here are some tips that might help.
Don’t waste marketing time and budget
This might seem obvious, but its important to understand what your goals and objectives are. You need to understand why. Why are you sending emails, buying ads, delivering webinars, and the list goes on. Take the time to step back and make a plan, your compass for the business.
Keep it simple, achievable and SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time Bound). Capture the major objectives and goals for your business.
The goal is to avoid wasting money on activities that do not contribute to achieving your overall goals. With a simple plan you can see what you are doing and why.
Your website is your digital shop front, and should remain one of your key marketing activities, but what are the goals and objectives you’re looking to achieve? Remember to apply the SMART model to your goals.
- Marketing – drive traffic, engage your prospects, generate leads, start a conversation with a prospect
- Sales – help close sales by supporting sales team activities and communications
- Customer support – improve customer satisfaction, re-engage customers, support cross-sell and up-sell
Is your website delivering against these goals. Make sure you visit your own website on a regular basis and take the journey that a visitor might take, someone who doesn’t know you. Do this on a mobile as well as desk top, so you can experience your website, in the same way as prospects.
Make sure you have enough CTA’s (call to action), to encourage visitors to stay longer and see more of your website. In addition
- Make sure your website doesn’t look out of date, appears current
- Add content to support 1, 2 and 3 above
- Check the load speed of your website. If its too slow, people will move onto another website and your search engine results will be very poor
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Search engine optimisation (SEO) increases awareness. And will help your website being found by appearing in search results for keywords and phrases that your prospects might use. Try to use words and phrases that speak the language of your prospects rather than your own technical jargon.
Create content around these words, which will give you a far greater likelihood of engaging visitors and increasing your visibility. Seek out tools that can help you with this; there are a lot of tools that are low cost that work within your website environment.
- 75% of people never scroll past the first page of a search engine results page
- 61% of B2B marketers state that SEO and organic traffic to their website generates more leads than any other marketing activity
Advertising – search engine and social media
Search engine marketing can really help drive traffic to your website. But its important to make sure you are driving this traffic to website pages that converts and is contributing to your goals (see above).
One of the most popular is pay per click (PPC) in google and other search engines. Ads can be created that appear when keywords relating to your service or product are entered. Every time the ad is clicked, you will be charged. For this reason, its important that you get your wording accurate, so you don’t pay for clicks that you don’t want (aim for quality rather than quantity). Make sure you constantly monitor performance and results and check your return on investment (ROI). Paid ads can be highly successful, but they can also be expensive.
Ads within social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can be very targeted and can deliver great results. You have great ability to further refine your target audiences on LinkedIn, to a greater degree than you do for google ads, as a result they tend to be more expensive.
Email marketing still has its place. You can really reap the rewards, but you do need to make sure what you are sending is of interest to the recipient. Your emails can promote new blog articles that are supporting your objectives (see website above 1, 2 and 3)
Check out our guide ‘How to stand out with your email marketing’. It’s a good way to build your engagement, support conversions for marketing and sales activities and be highly targeted and personalised. No one likes to receive an automated email with missing information and unrelated content. This is also a very low-cost activity.
Content marketing activities
Content marketing is focussed on education over selling, which will influence your buyers behaviour and support your activities on your website, email marketing and social media. They key is to create and use content to attract and convert your prospects. Create content that can be continually used too, such as cheat sheets, guides and how-to’s.
Focus on creating content that is relevant to your prospects, that focusses on their pain points, their biggest challenges and support your leads and sales activities and your ’buyer journey stages’.
Tailored content can include blogs, videos, podcasts, webinars, ebooks and check lists.
Your content will support the marketing activities on your website, SEO, social media, and email marketing.
This is one of your owned channels, so there is zero cost to you, unless you choose to advertise (see above). Social media marketing focusses on providing the reader with content they find valuable or interesting. Content can be tailored to the audiences on each social channel (Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, and twitter).
Check that your posts are engaging your audience by looking at the analytics for each platform and that this is contributing to your goals. Social media can also contribute to the success of your SEO.
Review performance and adjust
How much time and effort you put into each of these activities will be directly related to your goals and objectives. Setting a target number for increasing the size of your audience on LinkedIn is great, but how does that contribute to your goals?
Always make the time to look at the analytics you have available to you for email performance, website traffic (google analytics), social media and ad metrics. If they’re not working for you, pause, refine and adjust. Don’t be afraid to stop.
If you need some help refining where to put your marketing effort or putting your plan together, please get in touch.