Most of my coaching clients and subscribers are new business owners. Like many business owners, their chief concern is marketing. They're understandably worried whether or not their marketing plans and activities will successfully launch their business and attract the right customers.
While this is an important strategic concern, I believe that the way you think about your marketing activities is more important than being told what to do. If you understand your business, understand your product or service, and understand how to lead your firm, it is much easier to design and implement a successful marketing strategy. From there, creating a tactical marketing plan is an organic process.
To help you think about marketing in a positive light and encourage you to think more about your attitude towards your business and customer, check out these 30 top marketing quotes from some of the biggest marketers around.
Schemes, tricks and scams don't work for very long. If you want longevity in business, be honest with your customers and ethical in your business practices.
Many people measure their success by what other people think about them, the things they acquire, the things they do. While those may be accurate measures of how well you follow-through on tasks, true success is founded on who you are. Whether we succeed in life or not, is largely determined by who we are, not what we do.
What you don't measure you cannot improve, manage, or control. Analytics are important to every aspect of your business. Do you know your numbers?
Marketing is about relationships. Your relationship with your customers, your suppliers, your vendors, your employees. You will quickly find out that even the best links don't connect if you haven't established a relationship with the person on the other side you hope to engage with that link.
Do you know your target customer intimately? Have you created a customer avatar---a customer demographic profile---for the audience you intend to reach? If you haven't taken this important strategic step to identify your audience and get to know who they are, what they are about, where they are, when they need you, and why...you're missing out on a major opportunity to not only connect your brand with your potential followers but to convert them into loyal clients and customers.
Your marketing should be able to speak directly to your customers. You want your offering to seem like it's come directly from the mouth and thoughts of your consumers. In many cases, the best way to do that is to ask. Monitor your social channels, question your email subscribers, create polls and surveys to find out what your audience needs. Then develop your offerings around the pain points they've expressed---and then they'll pay.
If you're just beginning your business, you may be very tight with the purse strings. That is advisable. But, being frugal without purpose will cripple your fledgling operation. You need to spend money where you need it; marketing is one of those investments. If you want your business to grow and you want to build brand awareness, drive lead generation, and increase conversions, you must invest in marketing. It may seem expensive (and can be if you spend on the wrong things, check out Resource List for suggestions), but the potential returns are worth it. If you cannot or are not willing to make investments into your business, you may need to take an honest look at whether or not being in business is the right thing for you to do at this time.
As said above, spending money in your business is imperative for your business to thrive and grow. Often people cut corners to cut costs in the very areas they need to spend more money in to generate more revenue and create more profits. You don't have to have a huge budget in the beginning. But, you must have a budget. Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, and Twitter Ads will help you get off the ground.
Nike, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook have proven this true. Simplify your branding and your message and it will become sticky and resonate.
This applies to everything in life; the smartest people aren't always the most successful people, the best products don't always last. You have to put your product and service out there continuously. That's how people will remember it.
You should have a separate personal and professional brand. You should also have a professional brand that is separate from your business's brand. What you do in your personal space should be personal, however, sometimes things spill over. The best way to avoid this is to keep your personal pages private and open only to close friends and family. Use a personal branded page (such as a Facebook fan page or LinkedIn) as a professional page for all other colleagues, associates, and acquaintances who want to interact with you as the face of your business. Lastly, your open and public business brand should deal solely with your business. You can tie in your personal-branded professional pages and business brands as needed, but at least there will be some delineation.
Under promise, over deliver.
Strategy is the foundation for your business. Without it you won't have a clearly defined value proposition, understanding of your market positioning, be able to articulate your competitive advantage, or chart a course for the present or future. Strategic planning and management must be interwoven into every aspect and function of your business. Knowing who you are, what you are, why you are and where you are will help you know what you should do at every stage and level of your business.
Consumers have changed. As generations are shifting, so have consumer trends. Customers are no longer loyal to brands because they grew up with them or because they feel they should. Millenials are more inclined to shop around and want more input in the product/service lifecycle so that products are more of a depiction of who they are than what the company believes they represent. Companies have to adapt to these new customer expectations; more evidently companies need to prove that they are in fact aligned on the "right" side (and this varies) of social, political, cultural, and environmental issues to keep certain segments of customers. It is important that you know intuitively what your customer values and how they want you to execute it to remain relevant.
When marketing to Millenials and Generation Z, and the younger cohort of Generation X, it is important to note that even though their expectations for companies and their decision-making process has changed, they are still extremely loyal to the brands they support. How you win their loyalty is what's shifted from previous generations. To reach these customers influencer marketing is important. As are social media, mobile, and video marketing. Creating social proof (the tendency for people to look to others for validation or assistance in making choices) and speaking in an authentic voice are premium selling points.
Content is your story. People love a good story. Make sure your story is good and worth the read every time.
Having a content marketing strategy is important. Most of your marketing activities will derive from or include some aspect of your content marketing strategy. It's good practice to spend time at least once a month planning your content strategy. One way to do that is to create a marketing calendar and a log or planner with your content ideas, an outline, the dependencies, and other deliverables needed to execute it.
Your content marketing strategy will inform your email content, your social media posts, your video scripts, advertisements, SEO, and so much more.
The customer is always right, or at least they should feel they are.
In simple terms, when promoting your products and services, focus on the benefits your customers and clients will derive rather than the features the product or service offers. People want to know what's in it for them.
Your brand is to your business like your reputation is to you as a person.
Hire people who are passionate about the work they do, not for the positions they've held. If you hire people who are passionate you can train them to do things your way according to your system. But, if you hire people solely for the positions they've held or prestige they seem to have, you may end up with a pretty person in a role where they don't produce the results you need.
In his book, The E-Myth Revisited, Michael Gerber counsels against hiring "managers". Instead, he suggests you hire people who are pliable and willing to learn who have displayed characteristics that are beneficial to the task that needs completion. He doesn't say you need to hire someone who is grossly improper or unfit for the job, but that when you hire people who think they already know how to do the job, it's harder to get them to do the job your way. (Note: You should hire to delegate tasks, not to abdicate responsibilities.)
The best way to reach people is to engage them. It's really that easy. Let them break through the noise for you. Word-of-mouth is still the best form of advertising. If you "love on" them, they will spread their love for you to others.
You won't start your blog today and get a million hits by tonight. It's possible but highly improbable and implausible. You have to execute your strategy with the understanding that you are starting a long conversation with someone you are meeting for the first time but intend to become lifelong friends with. Your content marketing needs to come across as a long conversation. How that conversation goes (tone, style, topic) is individual to each business, brand, and audience. But, regardless of the specificity of your conversation, remember it is a long conversation, not passing chit-chat.
Customers can be demanding. Yet, their demands at their core are quite simple---they want you to meet their needs. They want their desires fulfilled. If you know your audience, you will learn and understand their needs. Meet them.
It is important to remember the purpose of your efforts. It is imperative to consider the outcomes of your efforts. Marketing without great design is pointless. No one will want to look at it much less engage with it. Conversely, no matter how pretty your widget looks, if it isn't produced or promoted properly no one will ever know.
It's about balance. For many of you, design is not your strength. Be that as it may, there are several apps and websites that can help you with that. Apps such as Canva and PicMonkey are great for quickly creating graphics and they provide templates and stock photos to get you on your way. Sites like Creative Market (click here for a sample of their products and six free downloads) and Unsplash feature the work of creatives that you can either download for free or purchase at low prices to give you a more professional look. Lastly, Fiverr is an excellent site to find freelancers who you can hire for one-off jobs or on a continuing basis to handle both your design and marketing.
Your content marketing and your social media strategies should work in tandem and drive one another. You create content and promote it through social media. You track what your audience responds to on social media and develop your content marketing around those insights.
How are you marketing? What are you innovating?
It doesn't have to be revolutionary, but it must be impactful. You don't need to create the next iPhone, but maybe your innovation is the systemization and automation of recurring tasks in your business. Are you a physician? Perhaps you can innovate around patient scheduling, medical records delivery, and prescription requests. If you're an accountant, innovation may be using a bot that will automatically send an email reminder to clients about upcoming dates for tax filings, reminders about sales taxes, or requests for expenses. As a lawyer, it can be around document review and boilerplates for motion filing and contracts, an architect may innovate RFP delivery, and nurses, practices in patient visit scheduling.
Whatever you do repeatedly, find can be done more easily, or performed efficiently/effectively is an opportunity for discovery and innovation. Whatever you innovate, market as part of your competitive advantage.
Have you met (watched) Gary Vee? He tells a story, often without the audience noticing. But, it is a story nonetheless. Oprah Winfrey is a master at storytelling. Bill Clinton, Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King, were all great storytellers. Even Steve Jobs.
To sell your product or service you need to take the customer on a journey, and along with that journey, you need to tell them a story. A good one. It doesn't have to be a "once upon a time in a land far away..." kind of story, but it should answer who, what, when, where, why and how in such a way that your audience is enthralled and wants to continue on the journey with you. It is for this reason that brands that appear transparent and authentic do so well. The perfection of personality is not required, just be authentic, and let your story speak for you.
Marketing is an integral part of your business. You know this already.
However, what you may not realize is that marketing is a dynamic, living, breathing part of your business. It must adapt, it must change, it must grow with you and your business. Every time you develop a new product or introduce a new service, you must create new content, social media, email, direct, and mobile marketing. As you bring in new customer segments, you must adjust your retargeting strategies. As you improve your customer focus, you have to improve your SEO.
Maya Angelou says, "I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better." This should apply to your marketing, too.
It's ok to follow your gut, as long as it informed by facts. Let facts create the framework that your intuition and instinct make decisions in.
Do you struggle with analytics? There are several great sites that can provide you with marketing analytics for your business with simple, easy-to-understand language and graphics. Many of the best ones are even free and most networks provide built-in analytics and/or tutorials and training.
At the end of the day, things don't need to be complicated to be effective. The K.I.S.S. method applies even to your marketing efforts. To make things "sticky" as Malcolm Gladwell preaches, simple is best.
Hopefully, as you think of your marketing campaigns these nuggets of wisdom will guide you. Developing a strategy doesn't have to be hard. If you know what to do it can be relatively easy once you have all the pieces in place. Keep these suggestions in mind as you develop your marketing strategy and formulate your organizational strategy. If you need help schedule a strategy session today. You can book your session via the link below. Talk to you soon!
This is a partnered post which may contain affiliate links.