You know you need marketing but Marketing has become so big these days, that you have no idea where to start.
You have mastered the basics but you do not fully understand how to adapt your marketing to work with unprecedented situations, or how to best measure your campaign efforts.
Or, as most businesses will certainly be, maybe you are worried about the future, with Covid-19 having already forced us to adapt in ways we probably never imagined possible, and with no signs of it slowing down.
Well, worry not, because that’s exactly why we’re here:
We know that 2020 has been a stressful and shaky time for everyone, and the business owners, e-commerce experts and marketing masters of the world are definitely no exception.
However, we also know what it takes to keep your business afloat in an increasingly remote-dependent working world.
No longer can we rely on face-to-face events or physical stores.
But that's also why we are here - to show you the Top 5 things that you, as an established business owner, should know and do, in order to both prepare for, and take advantage of, the uncertain year ahead of us all.
1. No Marketing = No Growth
One of the first and most important things that you will come to learn about marketing is that your product or service cannot and will not speak for itself.
You cannot simply create a product or service and expect the general public to develop a deep psychic awareness and know about it without ever seeing or hearing about it.
Brand or offering awareness takes a hell of a long time to master, a great deal of strong patience, and an incredible amount of trust in the process.
If you want people to buy into you and your offering for the long run, then you will have to establish a long-term plan detailing exactly how you will consistently share who you are and what you offer with your target audience.
To spread awareness about your business and get people consistently returning for what you provide, you must always have a marketing plan in place.
Marketing plans are vital in securing loyal clients, recurring readers that stick around for years, and customers that keep hitting that all-important ‘Buy Now’ button like their life depends on it.
Marketing plans let your entire marketing team know the exact strategies and steps they need to take within different given timelines, so that you can stay organised and run your business effectively, preparing you for such unprecedented times as these, and boosting your returns tenfold.
Another vital aspect of any marketing plan or campaign is the ability to sell yourself as the best available option. What makes you better than all of the other competing business out there? Why should your audience invest in you above everyone else? What makes you special, necessary and inevitable?
If you can paint in your audience's eyes, the perfect picture of paradise after they purchase your product or service, and do so consistently, then you have what it takes to keep your business afloat throughout today’s changing world.
To do so effectively, you must have a solid, comprehensive marketing plan in place well ahead of time.
To learn more about what a marketing plan is and to understand the differences between a marketing plan and a marketing strategy, read on…
2. Strategy Or Plan
What is a Marketing Strategy?
A marketing strategy is a reflection of your marketing goals, it’s the approach you take and the method you intend to use in order to accomplish your key goals and missions. This can include the various campaigns, content, channels and marketing platforms that your business will use to execute your mission and track your success.
One such marketing strategy could be social media marketing: promoting valuable content across platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or Youtube; collaborating with influencers to build brand awareness (influencer marketing).
What is a Marketing Plan?
A marketing plan is a strategic roadmap that documents, in detail, how your business aims to achieve your S.M.A.R.T. marketing goals.
Every marketing plan will link your business’s different marketing objectives and goals with the marketing activities that will enable you to achieve them.
These marketing activities typically include:
- Affiliate Marketing
- Content Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Pay-per-Click Advertising (PPC)
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
- Social Media Marketing
- Physical Marketing
...and they all go hand-in-hand towards helping to establish your business - or businesses - as a reputable brand. This, in turn, will generate a steady income of new clicks, conversions, and thus, loyal returning customers.
3. The Most Commonly-Used Marketing Strategies
SEO (On and Off-Page)
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, which is an approach that uses organic methods in order to get your site, social media accounts and ads to appear in various Search Engine Results Pages, or SERPs.
This includes Google and Bing, but also less popular search engines such as Yahoo and the Chinese answer to Google, Baidu.
Email marketing is the highly-effective strategy of sending emails to prospects and customers. Effective marketing emails convert prospects into leads and leads into one-time buyers that transform into loyal, unofficial brand ambassadors over time.
Social Media Marketing
Social Media Marketing is the strategy of promoting your knowledge and brand across social media with valuable content in the form of text, video or image posts and stories that engage and build your following and potential client base.
Some popular social media platforms include Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit, YouTube, LinkedIn and, most recently, TikTok.
Search Engine Marketing
Search Engine Marketing, also known as SEM, is an approach that uses paid methods in order to appear in the Search Engine Results Page(s), or SERPs.
SEM involves using Pay-per-Click (PPC) advertising platforms such as Google Ads or Bing Ads in order to reach your target audience.
These ads appear at the top of the SERPs, and can be easily identified by the ‘Ad’ label displayed to the left of the site title.
The SEM tactic involves setting up and optimising paid ads, managing your Ads account to increase conversions and returns, identifying low-cost, high-return keyword phrases that will pay off, and much much more.
SEM Campaigns include:
- Search Ads (text)
- Shopping ads
- Display ads
- Gmail ads
- YouTube ads
Benefits of SEM:
- SEM drives clicks and conversions in a short time period
- You have full control over when your ads show and who they show to, making it the perfect channel for testing out new strategies, sending traffic somewhere, or accelerating traffic during quieter periods
- The visibility of your website and relevant links in the SERPs will be greatly improved
- SEM drives a higher amount of relevant and quality traffic to your site
- With SEM, you can gain a deeper understanding of your target audience
- SEM allows you to use keyword research to discover and target the best and most relevant keywords
- There’s always scope for ongoing testings, optimisation and improvement
Influencer Marketing is the strategy of using various social media influencers within your niche and other relevant niches to promote your product or service in return for a commission or flat fee.
To promote your brand through influencer marketing, you first need to find an influencer with:
- a high enough follower/subscriber count (the higher their audience, the more awareness and exposure you will gain)
- make sure they work within your niche or a relevant niche, because their audience needs to be interested in the product or service you have to offer.
4. How to Measure the Effectiveness of your Marketing Campaigns and How to Calculate your ROI
What is ROI?
In marketing, ROI, or Return on Investment, is the practice of attributing profit and revenue growth to your marketing initiatives. ROI allows businesses to measure their progress by measuring the degree which their marketing efforts contribute to the growth of their revenue. In other words, ROI is the extent of the financial or audience return you get for the marketing effort that you put in.
As logic would dictate, your ROI should always be greater than the effort you put in.
How Do I Track My ROI?
The best way to track your ROI is to track your Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs.
A KPI is a measurable value that demonstrates how effectively a company is achieving key business objectives.
Organisations usually use KPIs at multiple stages in order to evaluate their success at reaching their targets:
- high-stage KPIs focus on the general, overall performance of your business
- low-stage KPIs focus on the performance of the specific strategies your individual departments implement, such as sales, human resources, customer service, accounting, marketing, support, and more.
Some examples of the important KPIs to track in 2021 could be:
- the number of visitors to your site per day, week or month
- the conversion rate from lead to sale
- customer acquisition costs
- customer lifetime value
- churn rate
- Many, many more
5. There Are ALWAYS Ways to Optimise and Refine The Product or Service you Provide
In the age of uncertainty , and with Google’s imminent algorithm update which will place increased emphasis on user experience, it’s important to remember to optimise and refine your content to make it as concise and as valuable as you can.
One major way to do this is to optimise all of your content for SEO, making sure all of the relevant keywords are identified, targeted and included, and that your titles, urls and slugs are optimised for the Google’s SERPs.
Another key method for refining your content is proofreading and updating your existing content so that it is always contextually relevant. If you have a blog post that seems a little outdated, add an update and promote it across your social media as an updated piece of content.
This way, you don’t need to create anything new, but you can still gain engagement and new followers by drawing your audience’s attention to news relevant to your niche.
As we head into another uncertain year, it’s important to make sure you’re well equipped for any changes that might come in the way of you and your business(es).
One of the best ways to ensure that you’re prepared for such an unpredictable future is to familiarise (or re-familiarise) yourself with the fundamentals of digital marketing, especially since we are moving into a world which is increasingly reliant on the world wide web.