No matter what industry you operate in, which products or services you offer or who you offer them to; having an effective marketing strategy is essential for developing and maintaining a successful business. To make the most of your marketing opportunities you need to be using a range of methods for generating leads and appointments, increasing brand awareness, promoting deals and events, and just growing your business overall. Finding the right methods for your business is the first step to developing an effective marketing strategy, and balancing is the second.
What can happen with an unbalanced strategy?
Say you are the marketing manager of a small website development business; you have multiple choices when it comes to marketing, you could use email marketing, social media marketing, content marketing, telemarketing, search engine marketing and more. Let’s say your main marketing channel is email marketing. You have attempted content and social media marketing, but you didn’t see a great deal of engagement. You stick to email marketing for the most part, but you post the odd social media update and rare article on your website. You are generating a good amount of business through your email campaigns, but you would ideally like the number of leads and enquiries to be a bit higher. One mistake that you have already made, is letting your marketing strategy fall out of balance by writing off other methods that haven’t worked so well. This has led to a decline in leads which results in a lower income and slows down your progress towards your business goals and targets. If you find that a marketing method hasn’t been as effective as another method that you use, don’t give up, re-evaluate your approach.
Why is re-evalutating your approach important?
Re-evaluating your approach to different marketing methods is a vital part of the planning and execution phase of a campaign. By re-evaluating your approach, you are able to get an idea of whether your previous approach was as successful as it could have been, or if there are any changes that you need to make in order to create a more effective campaign next time around.
To give an example of how important re-evaluation is, imagine you are taking a look at a content marketing campaign in which you posted articles on your blog and shared them via social media. You need to look at when you posted it, where you posted it, who your audience was and what the content was about.
In the campaign, you posted the articles onto your blog and shared them to LinkedIn and Twitter with a link back to the blog. You posted to your blog weekly and included a relevant call-to-action at the end of each post.
You used a range of tags on both LinkedIn and Twitter including #wesbitedevelopment, #webdeveloper, #business, #website, #webdesign, to target people who were either looking for web development companies or hold an interest in web development.
Your blog posts mainly focused on your business, the services that you offer, the benefits they provide and testimonials from past customers.
With this information, you will want to take a look at each variable and see if it could have factored into the success or failure of the campaign.
During that particular campaign, you posted consistently, used relevant tags and included a relevant call-to-action. However, you weren’t providing anything of value to the reader as you were too focused on promoting your offerings. Because of this, the readers lost interest and clicked away from your post causing them to miss the call-to-action at the bottom. Simply by re-evaluating your content, you are able to see what has worked and what hasn’t which gives you key information that can be used to create a more effective campaign next time around. In this case, you focused too much on yourself and what you offer, rather than creating something of value for the reader. So, from this, you can decide to change your content approach to be more focused on the audience and their needs, rather than promoting your business. So many businesses trial marketing methods and then write them off due to underwhelming results. Re-evaluating your marketing methods allows you to find the right approach that fits your business and more importantly, your audience.
What are the best marketing methods to use?
Having a range of active marketing strategies is a great way of generating leads, increasing online presence, growing and engaging with your audience and growing your business.
Most large companies use a wide range of effective marketing methods such as social media marketing, content marketing, email marketing, telemarketing, search engine marketing and more.
Each of these marketing channels provides a unique impact on customer acquisition and retention, which of course are vital for business success.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is a great way to engage with your target audience and grow your online presence through brand awareness. According to Statista, the total amount of social media users will rise to 2.77 billion by the end of 2019, which means over one-third of the world’s population can be reached via social media, making it the perfect tool to engage with and grow your audience.
Some of the other benefits of social media marketing include:
Low to no cost
Great for increasing brand awareness
Can be used as a promotional channel for your content marketing activities
Helps to build a relationship with your audience
Makes competitor and audience research simple and easy
Can be used as an effective customer service channel
Content marketing is one of the best ways to show off your industry knowledge through valuable content in multiple formats and platforms. Creating content is great for audience building and engagement as well as customer acquisition and retention. Providing valuable content to your target audience and prospective customers helps to guide them through the buyer’s journey and helps with your inbound methodology which ultimately leads to complete strangers becoming qualified leads.
Whether you are creating how-to guides in an article or video format, developing in-depth eBooks to aid your audience, or creating case studies to be used in other marketing methods, content marketing is a great way to engage, attract and convert your audience into leads. Some of the other benefits of content marketing include:
Working hand-in-hand with multiple marketing methods such as email marketing, social media marketing and telemarketing.
Low to no cost for the creation and promotion of content.
On-site content is great for SEO.
Creating content for guest-post blogs is a great way to expand your audience and improve your SEO.
Old content can be re-purposed to provide new value and context.
Email marketing is one of the most used marketing methods for generating business opportunities. According to the DMA, Just over 76% of UK businesses have said that email marketing is ‘very important’ to them.
Email marketing allows a business to contact hundreds or even thousands of people in their target audience in one go, to provide information about events, services, changes to products, offers they might like, new blog posts and more. When used correctly, email marketing can be one of the most effective tools in a marketer’s arsenal.
Other benefits of email marketing include:
Campaigns can be put together relatively quickly.
Instant engagement reporting.
You can provide relevant call-to-actions in the email and track engagement and conversions.
Depending on the style and context, email campaigns can be simple to create.
And more… Telemarketing
Telemarketing is one of the most effective ways to generate leads and appointments for your business. Despite the stigma surrounding the business-to-consumer side of telemarketing, in the business-to-business world, it’s a great method that allows both you and your prospects to develop a long-lasting business relationship. Telemarketing allows you to get know your prospects in a more personalised and in-depth manner. Hearing the wants and needs of your prospective clients from them directly means the chance of misinterpretation is a lot lower than if you were communicating via email or social media.
Telemarketing can be used as a more natural way of running lead generation campaigns as you can have a real conversation with your prospects and build a relationship that mutually benefits both the prospect and your own business. Other key benefits to telemarketing include:
Fast connection and interaction with targeted prospects.
A more personalised and natural approach to lead generation and appointment setting.
Cost-effective outsourcing options.
Can be used in conjunction with other methods such as email marketing, boosting efficiency even more.
The results can be seen much faster than methods such as social media or content marketing.
Has a range of uses such as market research, lead generation, appointment setting and event registration.
Search Engine Marketing
Search Engine Marketing or SEM is a great way for businesses to target people who are actively looking for their services. Search Engine Marketing involves creating adverts on search engines such as Google, Bing or Yahoo. These adverts are displayed at the top or bottom of a search results page and follow the same design as a typical search engine listing. Here is an example of an SEM advertisement:
SEM gives a business the opportunity for their website to appear at the top of search results for a fee. Each time the advert is clicked the business will be charged and the total number of clicks will give the total cost of the SEM campaign. The adverts are targeted for specific keywords and phrases, depending on the competition these keywords will range in terms of cost-per-click. Keywords with a considerable amount of traffic can become quite expensive to target whereas keywords or phrases that see less traffic will be considerably cheaper.
Advantages of search engine marketing include:
Can be low-cost depending on the targeted keywords or phrases
Easy to set-up and relatively low maintenance
The campaign is run automatically which means there is no need to take on more staff to manage the campaign
Easily measurable due to tracking and reporting from the SEM platform (e.g. Google Ads) which helps to ensure that a keyword is optimised
It can be used as a way to get to the top of search results without the work of SEO
Why is it important to use a balanced strategy?
As you can see, each of the above marketing methods have their own unique benefits and have a multitude of uses. Just because one method doesn’t work well for a particular purpose, does not mean it will not work well for another.
Attempting to use content marketing in a customer support aspect, might not be the most effective option, however, using content marketing for engagement and customer retention is something that will prove much more effective.
It’s important to use a range of strategies to support a particular target or goal. For example, if your goals are to generate leads but build a relationship with your prospects at the same time, you can employ at least 3 marketing strategies to convert complete strangers into long-term clients.
How can a mix of methods be used to acquire customers?
Content marketing can be used to build and engage with your audience which will generate interest in your brand. By including a call-to-action for your audience to join your mailing list, you are offering them the chance to receive email notifications about your new content.
In your emails, you can include links to multiple pieces of valuable content, this will show your audience the value in your emails and give them a reason to stay subscribed. By including a call-to-action relevant to your content, you can generate interest in your products and services with people who are already interested in that topic.
After the email call-to-action has been clicked, it could take them to your website where you have in-depth information about your products and services as well as demonstrated industry knowledge and content exclusive to your website.
Including call-to-actions for free demonstrations or no-obligation quotes around your most valuable content will give your site visitors a nudge to take the next step and enquire about your products and services. You can then give more information via email or over the phone and close the sale.
What was used in the approach?
In that particular approach to customer acquisition, you have used 4 different marketing methods. You started off by turning complete strangers into members of your audience through valuable, relevant content. You then used email marketing to improve their content experience and promote your products and services at the same time. Through the promotion of your products and services, you have directed your audience to your website, where you have a plethora of in-depth information about your offerings and how they will benefit your audience. You have also posted a lot of exclusive content on your website, which gives your audience a reason to keep coming back to your website. When they have made an enquiry after seeing a call-to-action about a free product demonstration, you use telemarketing to provide more detailed information and close the sale. That is just one strategy, there are a lot of different methods that can be used for customer acquisition, retention, support and engagement.
To sum up, using a limited number of marketing strategies can affect your business’ revenue and slow down progress towards and goals. Rather than writing off methods that haven’t worked so well, re-evaluate your approach as a different angle may yield better results. There are a range of effective marketing methods each with their own unique advantages and uses. Rather than choosing one or two methods that work best, employ a variety of these methods to ensure that your marketing strategy is time efficient, cost-efficient, and is helping you get closer to achieving your business targets and goals.