No matter how you look at it, Spring housecleaning always feels like a chore. But, once you get it behind you, everything seems fresher and you come away with a sense of real accomplishment. The same can be said about refreshing your marketing. However, the stakes are usually a lot higher. In the household, you can get around to freshening things up at your own pace. With your business, procrastination and complacency are not options. Things are moving too quickly, and you don’t want to find yourself playing catch-up.
Here are five things you should consider to tidy-up your marketing.
1. Get Tuned into Your Competition.
Have new competitors entered the marketplace? How are they presenting themselves? How does your business stack up? Listen to what they’re saying and make sure you can respond or pre-empt. Learn from their smart moves and, more importantly, their mistakes. (Knowing their shortcomings uncovers opportunities to distinguish your business from them.) Check out their website, look at their ads, see how active they are on social media. What are they doing, what are they saying and how are they saying it? Are they offering specials, discounts or other incentives? Maybe you should consider doing the same … or, better yet, something different, something more.
Your competitors are likely not going away anytime soon. So, the more you learn about them and find ways to fit in while distinguishing your business, the better chances you’ll have of getting noticed and standing out.
2. Revisit and Review Your Promotions.
If you’ve been using the same promotional channels for a while, revisit them. Determine if they’re working for you and whether or not you need to change things up or consider alternatives. If you’ve been running the same ads over and over, you’ve likely benefited from frequency and recognition. (That’s assuming you’re running them in the right places.) But, there’s a fine line between being consistent and getting stale. People tend to gloss over the same ad they’ve seen time after time. So, consider a tweak or two. Be sure to maintain the same brand voice and general look and feel. Drastic changes can send the wrong message or demonstrate a lack of focus.
Making a few changes here and there will breathe new life into your promotions and give people a reason to pay more attention. Maybe it’s a new spin on your message. Or a limited-time offer. Or something seasonal. Try to react to current events and market shifts. Most of all, make sure any campaigns you run are showing up where your prospects are. The days of taking the shotgun approach are over. Instead of blasting ads everywhere and hoping something sticks, you need to be where people are looking.
3. Adapt to Changing Social Media Habits.
If you’re active in social media, it’s vital that you stay on top of the latest trends. Social media is moving very quickly as users are becoming more sophisticated. What may have been a good tactic a year ago might be yesterday’s news now. Make sure you’re following your audience and understanding their habits. For example, younger users are quick to switch platforms. So, they may have moved away from where they spent their time a year ago.
Pushing posts, launching “like” campaigns, adding links from your blog and running ads are some ways to create a buzz about what you’ve been up to. These can be very effective tactics to get the word out, build awareness and reinforce your brand. You don’t need to go full throttle. Running ads on social media allows you to start slow, see how they perform and make adjustments. It’s not that expensive and could bring in some quick returns if you have the right message. Remember, the traction you gain is often determined by the incentives you offer. (More about incentives below.)
4. Make Sure Your Website is Working for You.
In many ways, your website is the face of your business. If you still don’t have a mobile-friendly website, you are hurting your business. What’s keeping you? If you rely on organic web searches to generate leads, you must have a mobile-friendly site. If you don’t, your website will be penalized in mobile search results and be ranked after all of your competitors who have mobile-friendly sites. And, believe me, they do.
Keep your website from becoming stale. As search engines continually index the Internet, they can see which websites are changing and which aren’t. Those with more activity get ranked higher. Those that become stale get penalized in search results. Try doing simple things like adding new photos or videos to your home page (search engines love video), or something more adventurous, like creating a blog and sharing your expertise. Client testimonials are very effective. If you’re doing things right, why not solicit testimonials from your best clients and create a new web page for them?
Usually, the most important part of a website is the call to action. Free consultations are meaningless, because everyone offers them. You need to offer useful incentives to your audience to give them a good reason to provide their personal contact info. It could be coupons, new client specials or useful downloads that position you as the go-to source. Create a unique landing page with a simple form for each offer. But, keep the contact forms simple. The more info you ask for, the less inclined people are to provide it. You likely won’t get this right the first time. So, take a trial-and-error approach. A good rule of thumb is to redirect all contact form submissions to a thank you page to show your appreciation, provide next steps and offer freebies.
5. Consider Hiring a Professional
Nothing beats home-cooking, except when it comes to your marketing. If you’re not professionally trained and have been getting by doing your own marketing, it might be time to get more serious. Sooner or later, you’ll need to bring in the pros to help raise your profile. This is simply the cost of doing business. It should be viewed as an investment, not an expense. Going cheap will reflect poorly on your brand and hurt your business in the end.
If you don’t think you can afford to hire a professional, work out some trades or payment plans. You might be surprised how willing people are to work with you. By doing your own marketing, you’re taking time away from the things you do best (like making money to pay for marketing) and devaluing your time. And, it usually shows.
Spring is right around the corner. It’s a season of renewal and rejuvenation. So, shake off the rust, get out the broom and add some polish to your marketing. If you’re not sure how or where to start, let’s talk.
Common clichés, tired sales pitches and unrealistic claims no longer work. In fact, they’ll likely be viewed as disingenuous and undermine your marketing efforts. Here, we’ve outlined five ineffective marketing messages and what you can do to avoid using them.
In order to be an effective marketer, it’s imperative that we continually remind ourselves of the true value we bring to our markets. Usually, that customer benefit is intangible. Quite often, we learn that it’s an emotional one.
Even if you’ve been able to put a check mark next to that spanking-new website on your marketing to-do list, get out your eraser. Your work has only just begun. A successful website is never once-and-done.
Evolving technology keeps all of us on our collective toes, makes us more aware of our competitors and presents more opportunities to distinguish ourselves than ever before. Moreover, it adversely impacts those who fail to embrace it.
Your circle of influence should not be confined to your immediate sales prospects. That’s not what marketing in the 21st Century is about.
To succeed in marketing, we need to avoid the distractions and focus on the fundamentals. We need to pull ourselves out of the bubble in which we live to see ourselves the way others see us. It’s this uncluttered view that helps bring the clarity and objectivity that lead us to a sound strategy.
Never Make Assumptions about Your Audience. That seems like an obvious rule, right? But, we all do it to some degree. It’s human nature. We follow our gut instincts. We proceed without having the data to back up our actions. Remember New Coke?
It’s always a good idea to take a step back and be more introspective about your unique qualities and strengths. By looking beyond short-term distractions, we often discover that we still have a place to fit in.
You seem to be great at what you do. You have a terrific product. Your media coverage has been impressive. You’ve been serving the industry for decades. But, what does it mean to your customers? What’s in it for me?