If you look up the definition of ‘marketing’ it is very dry and unexciting - 'the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising'. However marketing can definitely be an interesting and exciting exercise – and in the competitive business climate, it’s also essential for companies to stay relevant and in control!
Types of Marketing
You might recognise the traditional outbound marketing methods such as television, radio or print advertising, letterbox drops, trade shows, cold calling etc. While those methods can still have their place, they generally require a high investment to gain what can be little return.
I find the most effective marketing tactics now tend to be online, and they have the bonus of generally being the most cost-effective. The trouble is the options are almost endless… so where do you start?
Firstly every business has different variables to consider, such as whether they are targeting an individual or business, as well as the geographic location they are in just to name a couple. However there are five key marketing tactics that I believe are important to start implementing on an ongoing basis to gain results, without needing too much monetary investment.
If you know that you can find your audience online, then these five ínbound marketing tactics can provide a higher opportunity to, not only reach the right potential customers and gain their business, but also keep the lines of communication open with your current customers.
Top 5 Marketing Tactics
Responsive & Current Website
Start with the basics! A responsive website means one that scales itself to suit mobile viewing as well as desktop. Mobile phones are not just for messaging and calling now, they are the primary method of searching the internet, so if your website isn’t easy to view on a mobile phone then you could be inadvertently turning customers away.
Your website also needs to stay up-to-date, relevant… and change. I don’t mean changing the design or functionality, but changing the content, and adding to it. By updating your website with new content, you have a better chance of getting noticed by search engines, having it crawled more often by them, and therefore benefitting your SEO ranking. There is more to SEO than this, but content updates are certainly a good place to start.
Cost: There could be some monetary cost involved here if your website isn’t already responsive and needs to be updated, but it is a long-term investment that will only benefit you. In regards to updating the content, your website should have a content-management system (CMS) behind it that you have access to, so content updates should not cost you anything.
Publish Great Content
As mentioned above, creating new content on your website is beneficial for your SEO. This also applies if it’s ‘great’ content because it brings more visitors to your website. Blogs or articles are a prime example. Posting these to your website regularly creates an opportunity to draw current and potential customers to your website. If this information is relevant to them and offers them a great source of information, it could lead to customer conversions and increased customer loyalty.
Cost: No dollar amount, just some time to create the content.
The most successful way to receive new business if via word-of-mouth, otherwise known as referrals. If your business is well-regarded and you have a number of customers who you have a good relationship with, it’s worth asking if they would be willing to contribute a testimonial for your business. While direct word-of-mouth is always the most effective method of referral, a customer testimonial is the pro-active approach that enables you to control where it’s published and on a larger scale.
Cost: Generally none! Just some time to speak to the customers involved for their feedback. This only varies if you hire a content-writer to create in-depth testimonials, as they will charge a fee which can vary depending on your requirements.
Find out what social networks your customers use and invest some time each day or week (depending on the social media platform) to connect with them by posting updates, photos, links to your website content, videos. Whatever creates a connection with them.
If you work with a team of people then they can get on board by ‘Liking’ or ‘Sharing’ your posts as well. Keep track of the posts that tend to receive the highest levels of engagement and keep those types consistent. Social networking is just that, a networking opportunity, so if your followers engage regularly, your posts and business name will reach their contacts and the trend continues outward if your posts engage with them.
Cost: The beauty of social media posts – they’re free!
Email remains the most available, and used, communication channel, so it makes sense that businesses of every size are utilising this channel for email marketing.
Email marketing is a powerful way to connect with people if it’s done right. It involves developing and growing an email marketing list of subscribers who have signed up to receive emails from you, either because they are interested in what you offer or because they are a customer. The emails they sign up to receive may be information-based or promotion-based, and you should be clear about what you will be sending them so as not to alienate them. It then involves creating emails that capture their interest and depending on the aim of the email could result in sales (promotion-based) or click throughs to a website that generally build a relationship over time (information-based).
There are a number of email marketing platforms that are created specifically for the purpose of building subscribers, creating emails and providing analysis reports. If you are interested in email marketing systems but aren’t familiar with them, taking a look PC Magazine’s email marketing review for 2018 is a good place to start.
Cost: This varies depending on the size of your subscription or whether you pay-per-email, but the rates are generally reasonable.
Please keep in mind that everyone’s business is different and so using the digital angle may not reach your audience if technology is not easily accessible to them. However if your target market is very much online-based then this is a good place to start.
So do you have this top 5 list in place? Do you have other ideas? We would love to hear from you, so please share your feedback in the comments section below - and best of luck in your marketing endeavours!