Wouldn’t it be nice if there was an easy button for everything? Unfortunately, there is not. However, there are almost always simple solutions when it comes to simplifying your most complex and time-consuming tasks. Fortunately for you, marketing is no different. While there is no sure-fire, easy method of marketing, there are effective steps you can take to increase the efficiency of your efforts and maximize the impact that your brand and your business make on every internet user, customer, and potential customer that comes into contact with your marketing channels.
In this article, we break down some simple, effective steps that you can take to maximize your business’ potential starting today. With just a little bit of self-examination and an entrepreneurial spirit, you can speed up or jumpstart your existing marketing efforts into a highly efficient, results bringing system.
If you’ve ever read any of Simplicity Marketing’s articles before, you should be uncomfortably familiar with this step by now. The reason we harp on this step so much is because it is genuinely the most important step in any successful venture. Unfortunately, however, it is also one of the most frequently rushed or ill-advised. Too many entrepreneurs and business owners are operating on the “ready, fire, aim” model for marketing, not taking the necessary time to draft an effective plan that covers all of their bases.
When you plan effectively, you should cover all of the steps we are going to talk about below. In fact, you should cover even more than the tips we’re going to talk about in this article. Marketing is a multifaceted operation, and it takes time to plan adequately. Don’t get dazzled by instant profits and get rich quick schemes, take the time to plan out your marketing model and give your business a solid foundation to start on.
Vet your Channels
You can’t market without having appropriate channels in place. Why? Because marketing channels are the spaces with which you display your products, advertisements, and presentations. Marketing Channels can be physical, digital, and even a mix of both. It is crucial to operate with multiple channels. However, not every business is suited for every channel available to it. Not every industry can be marketed the same way and not every business in a single industry can be marketed uniformly either.
Whether you are evaluating current strategies or looking into new ones, it is crucial to vet each platform before you launch with it. Whether you’re considering creating a new social media account or taking out a billboard on Broadway, make sure you do your research. Are similar businesses finding success this way? What are they doing with the channel? How can you use that channel to similar effect without having to outright copy their efforts? Ask yourself these questions and make sure each channel you choose to manage is the right channel for your business. There is no sense in maintaining a channel that isn’t bringing in results.
Lookout for New Opportunities
Vetting new channels is a great way to seek out opportunities. You may find that the channel you initial desired isn’t a good fit, but perhaps it reveals ways to better utilize the channels you’re already managing. The best way to find these new opportunities is to keep your ear to the ground. Research isn’t a once and never again step in marketing effectively. Rather, research should be a continuous exercise. You don’t need to perform thorough research on your competitors and similar industries every week, or even every month. However, a quarterly or semi-yearly commitment to research can keep your brand fresh and help establish your business as a trendsetter. It is always better to be in front of the trend than behind it, so do your research and jump on those new opportunities when they arrive.
Control the Choices Your Customers Make
You can control the majority of your customers’ interaction with your brand. In the age of social media, it becomes even harder to maintain this control, but you are still in charge of your profile(s), your website, and your sales funnel. You have the ability to make creative and entrepreneurial changes without their influence. You also have the ability to define which choices they are allowed to make during the sales process. The idea here is to limit these choices and to keep them simple.
How do you limit these choices?
Don’t go crazy with options, deluxe packages, or product variants. When you present a customer with fifteen different iterations and options for a single product, you force them into an extra choice. That choice is one that slows down the sales process and prevents their purchase from completion during a crucial time when they are especially susceptible to buyer’s regret or indecision. Keep your customers’ purchasing options simple and they’ll not only make them quicker but are likely to make them more.
Entice your customers. Everyone likes to feel good about a sale. If your customer leaves your checkout with regret, they are unlikely to return. But, if a customer leaves your checkout feeling satisfied, and taken care of beyond expectations, they are likely to return time and again. A simple step to help increase their satisfaction and the level of care they feel is to incentivize sales.
This doesn’t mean bombard the customer with “buy now or the price will go up” tactics. This means that you need to provide extras for them to latch onto. Offer freebies right before and/or after the moment of checkout. Surprise them with extra bang for their buck. Add in a how-to guide, offer an exclusive Facebook group, or even just send them a thank you note. Make them feel valued and their sale appreciated.
Questions should always be welcomed in the marketplace. Unless you’re a conman selling a shell of a product, you should always strive to keep your customers well informed about what they are buying. And if you are a conman selling a shell of a product, well maybe this article isn’t for you. None the less, your primary role in marketing is to inform. However, you will often find that there are either gaps or disconnects between what you present and what the customer is able to glean from that information. So, what do you do when a customer asks a question about your product or service?
Answer it. Better yet, answer them directly. After you’ve answered their question, and if it’s relevant to a larger audience, work that answer into your future marketing endeavors. You’ll find that serious customers ask serious questions and if your answers help ease them into the sale, those same answers will likely help ease others into the sale as well.
Automate When You Can
Automation has never been easier than it is right now. As an added benefit, it keeps getting easier and easier as social media platforms and websites continue to become more advanced. If you are not using automation to market your business, you are wasting your own time and money. Email, Social Media, and even website content are all primed for automation. If you are not taking advantage of this, you are wasting valuable time publishing content when you could be creating content. Don’t let yourself get bogged down with tasks that a computer can handle in seconds. Look for existing automation plugins available through your existing marketing channels and start putting your time and energy to its most efficient use today.
If you cannot evaluate the success and/or failure of your marketing efforts, you are not going to find continued success. As an entrepreneur and a business owner, you have to make a concerted effort to understand when your business is strong and where it is weak. You must also develop an eye and an ear for evaluating your competition. Where are you beating them and where are they beating you? How can you turn the tables when necessary? What strategies of their business can you adapt to your business? Analyze yourself, analyze the competition, and put your findings to good use. Keep practicing your self-analysis skills and you’ll see results, guaranteed.
Listen to Your Customers
People like to know that they are heard, and your customers are no different. Whether they have complaints, compliments, or questions, it is crucial that they come away feeling like your business or a representative of it, genuinely listened to them. While not every customer will provide you with profound insights, you’d be surprised at how much you can learn and grow from what they have to offer you.
Not only can you hone your marketing strategies by listening to customers, but you can ensure satisfaction with something as simple as alike, a retweet, or even a brief “thank you”. Let them feel heard and appreciated and they will return.
Respond to Your Customers
As important as it is for customers to feel heard, it is equally important that you respond to them. This doesn’t mean you need to have an automatic response to every time your business is tagged or @’ed, although this can be helpful. What this means is that customers need to see that their comments made an impact on you and changed the interaction. They need to understand that you not only heard what they had to say, but you were willing to rectify the situation if a complaint arises.
Don’t be afraid to send a private message either. Hear the issue out and offer solutions that keep the customer happy and help smooth over any previous issues they had.
Poor image quality, spelling errors, and improper grammar are not conducive to a successful marketing strategy. Further, than that, you need to ensure that you are delivering content that doesn’t beat around the bush and that genuinely adds something to the conversation. If you are posting just to post or talking just to talk, you aren’t likely to resonate with anyone. People would much rather read one article they genuinely connect with a week than five that they don’t take anything away from. Make sure that you put quality before quantity. The kinds of posts and effectiveness of them is vastly more important than the number of posts you can push out in a single day.
While quality is more important than quantity, quantity is still something to take into consideration. Regardless of how well your content is created, users will become detached if you are not consistently delivering. How consistently you deliver really depends on the type of content you’re broadcasting. Simple things such as memes and recipes should be done much more frequently than complete how-to videos or training sessions. The key here is to find a happy medium with your content. Perhaps you only release capstone pieces once a week, but that doesn’t mean you should be silent the other six days. Find smaller content, still of quality, to work into your channels and keep your target demographics consistently in contact.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
You can reuse old content. You shouldn’t rely too heavily on existing content, but it is an asset that can be used more than once. Quality content is something that retains relevancy even after it has aged a bit. Don’t be afraid to use older content to keep your social media uploads consistent. Take advantage of your library of content and reintroduce it in-between new content uploads. The odds are, not all of your target base will have seen it the first time, and even those that did are apt to find something new.
Marketing is a vast, multifaceted aspect of business management. It may often seem daunting or unmanageable. However, there are ways to increase efficiency with your existing content and content you’ll come up with in the future. Continue to plan and to analyze and to take full advantage of the tools at your disposal and your business will start to thrive.