What is the world wide web, in marketing terms, it is pure heaven with endless limits. Creating and managing your online presence has never been easier or more practical than it is right now. New companies are always popping up and making their presence known to anybody who is in their niche market. Having said that however, sustaining your online business and reputation is still easier said than done.
The internet is full of powerful and useful information right at the fingertips of your potential customers. Therefore the trick has to be, how to get your products or services directly in front of your customers and clients. Over the years the landscape for marketing has changed considerably and keeping up with those changes can be hard work, combine that with the economic melt down we have all had over the last few years. It has been a tight budget for every body and one area that normally see’s the brunt of cut backs is marketing. Have you noticed how even TV commercials are looking cheaper and shorter. Therefore we have put together several great little Marketing tips that we can all use no matter how tight the budget is.
Know Your Consumers and Market
You can spend weeks and days planning out your online marketing strategy, but all of that will be a waste of time if you do not know or understand your direct market audience. Before you even consider spending a penny on marketing, you plans must clearly define who your audience is and their locations. As you have reached this point, you will obviously know your product and be preparing to tell the world. As you know your product, you should be in a position to work out your market group without the cost of a fancy marketing firm. A few basic statements to keep in mind follow:
Who will be most interested in your product?
What is their age group?
Men or women?
Children or Adults?
What are your customer’s interests?
What is their likely financial situation?
Once you have a complete understanding of your market audience and their profile, you are in a far better place to determine how and where to communicate with the maximum response. Whilst it may take some time to truly understand exactly who your market audience are and how to communicate correctly. By understanding the above points, you will have hopefully saved yourself a nice little budget and perhaps even avoided making some serious marketing mistakes.
Setting Goals and Moving The posts
When you set out on your marketing plan, it is important that you understand exactly what you want each section of the strategy to gain. Each aspect of the plan should cover different results and resources. Whilst your primary objective may be to increase revenue, the basic fact is through your marketing that will be the last factor to analyse, simply because in order to get to that point, you have to cover the following:
Increase brand awareness
Raise your business profile.
Raise your public profile.
Promote the product.
As you can see any marketing plan should have multiple goals, with methods in place to measure the results. Once you believe you have reached one goal, you should always look for and set new goals to ensure that the company is able to be successful, hence the goal posts are always moving.
Set a Marketing budget.
We have all heard the old saying before, “Set a budget and stick to it“. Having now reviewed both your consumer group and your marketing goals, you are in the position to start making positive decisions about “How to market” and setting your budget accordingly. Whilst planning your budget, it is good to know that perhaps your online marketing could be the one of the cheaper methods if carried out correctly and you are able to reach that target audience. There are now so many online marketing platforms at your disposal, it is perhaps more of a question of choosing the right one for you. You may also find that many of these platforms are also free, but always keep in mind, the free systems might not always be the best for your plans. Carry out some research and determine the best suited for your product and be prepared to spend some money to get the results you require.
Branding your business.
We all know that branding your business and making it stand out from the competition is hard enough, but then throw the internet into the mix and without a doubt its has just become harder still. There are thousands of companies out there all trying to do the same thing. The question is what is it about your brand or business that is different, what makes your brand unforgettable. At this point, it has to be time to go right back to the basics, starting with your main line of contact with potential customers, your website. Does your website and domain name truly reflect your brand and product. Where possible a domain name should be the companies name, due to the domain names markets, it might even be worth considering changing your business name to reduce the competition and therefore any confusion. A perfect example of this issue has recently been highlight by comparethemarket.com, they had no idea there was a spelling issue with the domain name and found their customers were in fact going to comparethemeerkat.com’s web site. They had to spend thousands in educating their potential customers, (although they soon turned that around and made a fortune from the meerkats). Purchasing your domain name does have a slight fee attached, but even the smallest of budgets can cover that cost, especially if you ask and shop around.
Now that you have your website/domain, it is obviously up to you how your customer view your brand. Having the professional website, is simply the beginning. Once you have the brand designed through your website it is important to then follow that design/brand through with any other marketing or branding that you do. Regardless whether you use social media or printed marketing methods, you want to be sure that when customers view your brand, they know exactly where they are and if they are in the right place. Once you have your brand identity established you are able to then focus on conecting with customers/clients, paying particular attention to take the time to interact with potential customers and build relationships with them. Whilst building relationships with customers is generally free from a marketing perspective, it does however have the man hours required to build that process well, which will be drastically reduced when you’ve established your brand.
Search engine optimization, (SEO).
In this day and age, anybody in business should know the basics behind how a search query works and how to obtain from a search engine. But it is time to work out how to get your business ranking well in the results page, so that your company is visible to your customers. The basic art is to make your website and the content as unique and appealing to the search engines as possible, use the correct keywords that your customers are using, customizing your headlines and content to suit your customers.
SEO is without a doubt a complicated and pretty time consuming process, but in order for your site to be a success this time will be well rewarded with an increased traffic flow to your site. If time is not one your side here, you should consider breaking loose a little more of that budget and hire the right people to do the research for you.
Websites are no longer simply about having an online presence as much as they are now building into having an online community and activity. Behind us are the days of simply adding your latest products and showing them off. Search engines are now looking for content alongside your products and many large brands have taken to using blogging systems to do this. By having blog style content within your website you are increasing your chances of being picked out by the search engines for relevant and up to date content. Blogging in its most basic form is “free” and can be added onto most websites. Blogging will enable you build on your leads and links into your site. However there are some basic rules to follow with blogging, the most important of which has to be to add content that is original and directly connected to your products/brand. Don’t just blog to add content to your site as the search engine will notice any lack of quality. Always ensure that your content is quality rich and will engage with your customers and readers.
Social media, (SMM).
Perhaps one the hardest marketing area’s to understand, let alone get it working for you. We all know that Social Media is exactly what it says on the tin, “A Social Network“. Perhaps fair to say, we all have a personal social media presence online and perhaps even have a strong following of friends and family. However using Social Media for a business, changes the rules a great deal and this is where businesses go wrong on a daily if not an hourly basis. The art of engaging your “Customers” in social media is more complex and perhaps more importantly time consuming during the early days. People within social media, do not generally follow a company unless they have good reason to do so, it is therefore important that you provide that reason to them, whilst also keeping a social marketing spin on your content. SMM is not all about the business, it is more about making the business social friendly.
As always we hope you enjoyed our tips and find some of them useful.
Looking forward to your insights, feedback or questions in the comment section below