As a marketer, you know that the concept of useful marketing is still about connecting people with a brand in the hope that they will buy something.
If you have been a marketer for many years you probably use a marketing approach that has worked to-date. This post, therefore, may serve as a checklist for you or hopefully will give you some ideas to try. For people new to the industry, start-ups or SME owners I’ll include some tips that can start you on the road to success.
There are plenty of useful smarter marketing activities that are being lost in the sea of buzz words such as – content marketing, digital marketing, strategic marketing etc. It is becoming more and more obvious, to us anyway, that despite the description of the method used, successful marketers realise that people will always have different relationship needs.
If marketers want to be able to focus on these needs, they really need to be much more flexible in their approach and thinking. This requirement is even more pronounced in our ever-shifting digital world.
In addition to traditional one-to-one communication, this flexibility also means having the ability to adapt to social media insights, behaviour analytics, personalisation, big data, etc. You could argue that never before has it been so easy to deliver the right kind of messaging to the right person at the right time.
So yes, building relationships are nothing new, but it has never been as important as now if we are to create a positive experience for our brand (or that of our client’s brand).
Marketers need to be much more flexible and this requirement is even more pronounced in our ever-shifting digital world.Click to tweet
In many of our previous posts, we stated that the smarter option for success is to link marketing objectives to business objectives. The challenge for marketers, however, is not to get caught up in the trap of only focusing on quantifiable business results. In doing so, we forget that regardless of the result, marketing remains about the one thing mentioned above – relationships.
Here’s one more complication, relationship types don’t remain fixed. Depending on outside factors people may change their relationship needs daily, hourly, weekly etc. especially when they encounter your marketing message. No, it’s not as easy as it used to be but if you get your focus right – you will be successful with your marketing activity.
Useful Smarter Marketing and Business Priorities
So what am I saying here? Firstly, we don’t have to learn and undertake new types of marketing. We just need to be smarter about what we currently do and use the tools available. Some specialist skills might be required but these can be learned or outsourced. Secondly, if we are genuine about building relationships, we have to think about people’s priorities and not put our own first.
If you can message people according to their priorities, you have a better chance of being successful. Caution is required when engaging people many times with the same messages because most of them will not be at the same part of the buyers’ journey. The danger is that while your messaging can be establishing or cultivating a relationship, it may also be damaging it.
Here is a useful checklist that we put together that may help you reconsider your business priorities. The idea is to put relationship building front and foremost in your objectives.
As marketers, we should realise that how each time we touch a person with content is important because it forms part of building a relationship. If you are doing this right, therefore, it means that marketing campaigns would change, in real-time, to individually fit/ respond to the customer’s needs.
On this point, here is a link to a related article on just-in-time marketing that’s well worth a read.
The downside of this relationship building is that there is no definitive way to measure the impact of relationship building. From a sales point of view, we can check metrics such as leads generated and conversions but this can’t be directly quantified to the nurturing element of our engagements.
What is becoming the norm though is that people want to deal with a brand that is human-friendly. They do not want to be seen as leads, opportunities and in-the-pipeline. No, they want to have a relationship just like every other aspect of their life. For an established brand this is a challenge and for start-ups, it really needs to be up front and central in their planning.
6 Useful Smarter Marketing Approaches for Start-Ups.
- Market your product/service before it is ready
- Explain why you’re different (the benefit), don’t compare
- Listen to your customer (sometimes they defy logic but are usually right)
- Test fast. Fail Fast – think outside the box (live streaming etc.)
- Connect multichannel advertising and PR activity (builds credibility)
- Provide a place for customers to engage with you (website etc.)
Useful Smarter Marketing Essentials to Grow Your Business
I’ve often been asked at networking events, to provide a quick list of essentials in a marketing approach, for start-ups and established organisations alike. Here are 5 main marketing approaches that I suggest they should really be using.
Create a Marketing Plan
We have mentioned the importance of a marketing plan in many posts before e.g. ‘Marketing Plans: Who Needs Them Anyway‘ and the main reason for it is consistency. Sending out flyers, using social advertising and building a website on separate occasions do not make for a concerted effort – results will be unpredictable. Create a plan for 6 months at a time and keep the priorities in the graphic above, in mind.
Build a Mailing List
All traffic directed to your website or landing page takes time, effort and money. If you don’t secure people’s contact information while they’re there, you are throwing money away. Building an email list is the easiest way to stay in touch with your customers/prospects. Use a monthly newsletter or lead magnets so as to offer value in exchange for their email address.
Have a Mobile Presence
Every day we are seeing statistics on how using a mobile device is the main way that people are searching online. If your site or content isn’t mobile friendly, your business will not survive in the long term. Even if you are a bricks-and-mortar business you should allow your prospects shop from their mobiles.
I don’t need to quote all the statistics for social media usage in Ireland here, but suffice to say that almost 50% of the population have smartphones and 700,000 of them use Twitter, for instance. People use social media for various reasons but from a business point of view, relevant automated posts and a presence for answering queries is a must to stay in the conversation with your customers and prospects.
Search Engine Optimisation
The blogosphere is awash with posts that delve into the specifics of Search Engine Optimisation. Whilst it can’t be gamed anymore, it should definitely be incorporated into any marketing campaign so as to make sure your efforts are recognised by the various search engines.
Of course, not all of your marketing ideas will generate a profit. In fact, you might lose money at the start of a campaign. But as long as you know what factors to measure, you will be able to adjust your approach.
Tips to getting your marketing plan on the road to success.
We believe that you can certainly be a better marketer in this day and age by working smarter and not necessarily harder. Here are 7 smarter marketing tips to contemplate, that might help you along you along the road to success:
- Be professional – have a unique and descriptive business name with the online domain to match.
- Don’t be boring – build your brand on being remarkable, authentic and realistic.
- Have professional branding – consistency is the key word because first impressions count.
- Deliver your message in different ways – use multi mediums (social, radio, referrals, online ads etc.).
- Make sure everyone knows you – ensure you/your business is the most recognised in your market.
- Out-serve your competition – market where your competitors aren’t
- Always improve your digital visibility – social media, website, landing pages, SEO etc.
No business can succeed really, without good marketing. While nobody has the ultimate cheat sheet that propels us up to the next level, being smarter about your marketing can definitely contribute to success.
Instead of copying everybody else in your marketing plans, be remarkable in what you do. Look for unique ways to appeal to and reach new audiences. If you are to build a relationship with your customers/prospects, it is essential that you talk with your customers and not at them. If they have a complaint, deal with it and if they have a question – answer it.
Finally, admit to yourself when something isn’t working. You have to make changes if your marketing isn’t creating the impact that you want it to have on your customers. If people didn’t respond to your first efforts, you can be sure they will dislike having you repeat the process for the second time.
Plan to be smarter about your marketing and you will eventually see some real return for your efforts.
“Thank you for reading our blog post today – Aidan & Jim.
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