Marketing is a vital part of any business, no matter the size. It is a discipline evolved from market stands in ancient civilisations attempting to find new ways to attract businesses and flog their wares. In the digital age, marketing no longer takes place with shouting on bustling streets, but the premise is the same: attract those that would find your product useful and show them why you are better than your competitors.
However, in our time, it can be difficult for start-ups, many of which are more comparable in size to a market stand, to successfully compete against larger corporations and conglomerates.
This should stress to you the importance of low cost, high ROI marketing, as well as the necessity to be creative and stand out against the crowd in the same way that the owner of the new stall would have had to shout the loudest. Here are some strategies for you to implement to help make that happen.
What is the best thing about sending emails? They’re free to send. Sure, you may use a paid-for third-party email marketing manager, but the costs still remain very low. They’re a great way to nurture leads down your marketing funnel as they give you a chance to show your customers how much the characteristics of your brand falls in line with their belief system and personality.
There is a distinct danger when conducting email marketing that you become banded in with ‘spammy’ senders. This should be avoided, and you should do everything you can to stand out. A common way of doing this is by offering free stuff (which everybody loves) –make sure that you make this clear in the subject line so that your emails actually get opened.
Alternatively, grab a viewer’s attention in the subject line and follow it up with some frank messaging. Almost everybody is going to understand that you are trying to sell them a product, so don’t try to beat about the bush; there is nothing better than an honest, creative and good-humoured salesman that you can trust.
Just make sure that your messaging is fully consistent with your brand personality and archetype, see these great examples to guide your thinking.
Online Experience Engineering
You can’t control what people will be doing when they engage with your brand, but you can control the experiences surrounding brand touchpoints. This is Marketing 101 in business school: the customer journey is everything.
As experts Invanity Marketing articulate: “Everything from the experience someone has on your website to the reviews they see on your social media will impact their purchase decision”. It is so essential that you have a clear idea about what your brand represents, and you massage this in at possible interaction a potential customer can have with your brand. There will be areas that you cannot control, such as reviews.
Still, you can certainly influence them by targeting those users who clearly identify with your brand and specifically encouraging them to review. With every decision you make to design, operation, messaging, and function, ask yourself if this will enhance your customers’ experience of your brands.
Blogs are a great example of how to provide value to potential customers at the top of the funnel. Businesses with blogs generate 126% more leads than competitors without any blogs. They are a great way to position yourself as a trustworthy expert, show off your knowledge and demonstrate your brand’s values and personality. The ideal blog is one that
- provides useful information to draw in viewers who are looking for a solution to a problem
- isn’t a sales pitch, but provides genuine value for free
- piques interest in your brand for viewers that fit into your target market
- is linked to by other websites and blogs to corroborate their argument (that’s why original findings or clear, creative explanations are brilliant)
If you blog with these in mind, your leads will start to increase dramatically, and you will be compensated for your hard work by search engines, which will detect that your website brings value to people and position it higher up in the search engine results page.
Use Social Media Efficiently
Likely, one of the first marketing basics that you have looked to implement is a presence on social media. If you are considering launching a social media campaign, stop! Before you take any action, you need some demonstrable evidence that engaging in social media will be a good use of your time.
In the vast majority of Business-to-Customer models, it is a good idea; but you need to pay attention to the demographics of the social medium. Do they align with your brand, and do they align with your strategy?
Even though Facebook has many more users than Pinterest, you might find a Facebook campaign much less effective and impactful if your brand looks to engage with US mothers, as 80% of US mothers that use the internet use Pinterest. Of course, in most cases, it will be worth it to be active and coordinated on several different channels at once to reach the maximum amount of people more than once.
The paid search might seem quite old-fashioned when there are many new and exciting marketing channels out there, but it’s great if you occupy a very specific niche due to its tight targeting ability. It involves you selecting a keyword or phrase, a search engine displaying adverts to those who search for that keyword and you only get charged when your advert gets clicked.
The fact that people can see your ad without you paying anything should scream value to you; as well as the fact that as you’re only charged by the click, you can optimise this channel in line with your strategy to maximise your ROI. With this advertising medium, the more specific niches do best as they have fewer competitors and hence their clicks come at a lower cost.
It can be helpful to check the benchmarks for your industry to get an idea about what you should be aiming for. As with all the above strategies, this needs to be used thoughtfully and effectively: you should be testing different wordings and solutions frequently and above all, making sure that all your messaging is on-brand.