Get More Reach With Social Media Marketing Strategies That Work for You

Your business is probably already on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and all of the other platforms you need to be in order to reach out to your customers. But even so, it doesn’t feel like you’re gaining the proper traction or posting the proper media to inspire the engagement that you know you need to get. In short, your social media marketing strategies aren’t fine tuned and some might even say, non-existent.

Finding the Strategies for Your Niche

One of the main problems with many company’s marketing strategies is that they are applying the same methods as a universal solutions program for their social media team. This means that essentially, they are taking social media marketing strategies that they’ve heard about and using them “as is” instead of tailoring them to their specific niche or industry.

For example, social media marketing strategies for restaurants are going to be very different than social media marketing strategies for Fortune 500 companies. Of course, when we put it like that, it seems very obvious-unfortunately, the constant failings of social media lets us know that it’s not. The problem arises because not only are the outcomes and goals of each industry very different, the means to the end have to be as well.

Why Using This Strategy for Your Industry is Vital

For instance, in our example above, a restaurant’s marketing strategies should be to entice viewers to come in and eat. This means that taking pictures of different dishes and posting them up on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is a good ploy. That creates salivation for the food and people are likely to Like, Share, Re-Tweet, etc. the picture. That keeps the restaurant fresh in the customer’s mind and next time they are looking for a place to eat, they’ll remember how good the food looked and make reservations.

On the other hand, a Fortune 500 company isn’t going to get much interaction off of photo media. Sure, Bob in accounting might be interesting to talk to, but a picture of him analyzing graphs on his laptop in the break room isn’t likely to inspire the right kind of interaction. That’s because the goals of a Fortune 500 company on social media are likely to bring in more clients, keep current clients engaged and recruit top talent for the firm. The best way to do this would be to employ social media marketing strategies that establish the company as an industry leader. For example, sharing blog posts and articles that contain relevant and useful information is a great way to market yourself as on the forefront of the industry.

How to Tailor Your Social Media Marketing Strategies

Of course, with so many industries and niches out there, it would nearly impossible to go through each one, showing you how to tailor your marketing strategies for your exact niche. Instead, it would be more time-efficient to go through how different goals affect your marketing strategies. Simply think about what you’re trying to achieve and then match it up with some of the following suggestions. Keep in mind that interaction is the ultimate short term goal for social media, so whatever gets you to that point-no matter how strange or unconventional it may be-will be best for your company.

  • Expand your Customer Base. If you’re looking to expand your customer base through this marketing strategy, you’re going to want to post content that is highly sharable and branded. This means that the more viral potential your posts have and the easier it is for those posts to be traced back to you, the better it is for business. A great way to do this is to post links to your blog on your website, provided of course the blogs are high-value in terms of information and content. This allows people to share the link to your website, meaning the more viral it gets, the more leads will be coming into your site. Be sure there is a strong CTA (call to action) at the end of the blog leading to your contact or sales pages. If your social media marketing strategies in the past have shown to be effective when media images and video are shared, make sure the pictures are watermarked with your brand.
  • Strengthening Your Current Client List. Another great benefit of this medium is that you can strengthen your current clients’ loyalty. We all know that it cost more to bring in a new client than to retain a current one, so this is a big chunk of social media marketing strategies right here. The key is that you want to constantly provide value to your clients. This means that if you’re in an industry where new information is constantly coming out, you should be the ones providing your fans with that info first. Ask yourself this: what am I giving my followers in terms of value? If you can’t list at least five things, you need to start doing a better job right away. Alert your fans to events that pertain to their interests, share articles, posts, recipes, etc. Give opinions and loose advice but stay away from risk-the bottom line here is that you want your customers to remember why they need you in their lives every single day.

Using Your Social Media Marketing Strategies Wisely

When it’s all said and done, when it comes to social media marketing strategies, whatever works for you is the best rules to follow. Social media is still a fairly young marketing game (compared to television, radio, print, etc.), so nothing is written in stone. Even the so-called “experts” in the field are still fine-tuning their marketing strategies, so you can expect things to change on an almost consistent basis over the next decade or so.

Until that time comes and it become a science, the best you can do is keep your ear to the ground and stay afloat with all of the latest information, techniques and trends.

Direct Marketing – Proven Ways to Promote Your Products and Services

Direct marketing is a proven success for many organizations to promote their products and services to millions of customers worldwide at once. The major advantage of this kind of marketing is that it can reach a larger amount of customers with the least expense.

Many organizations are using this kind of direct marketing strategies to promote their newly introduced product or the aspiring service that they have come up with. There are many direct marketing networks available today with the high expansion of internet. Many organizations are able to send their emails to a larger number of people through email and advertise their products or services whether the customer likes it or not.

However with these kinds of marketing networks available, it is a known factor that in some countries there are some legal laws which are there to prevent these kinds of direct marketing being used as direct marketing networks. In some email service providers the option of “spamming” is available to report spam of an unwanted advertisement.

There could be some advantages for the customer as well. For instance the advertisement sent to the customer could just be what he/she was looking for and would therefore tend to make an immediate response. There are added advantages for the direct affiliate marketing network as well. For instance, they could keep a track of the responses got from the customers and maintain a database of where they have found the best responses from. They can therefore make a promotion within that state or country to sell their product. This is especially advantageous before spending loads of money to advertise and promote a product.

The most common method of direct marketing networks is junk emails. This is where the marketer will send junk mails regarding their new CD’s or any other product. These mails are of the posted forms. Leaflets could also be sent through this method. The other type of a direct marketing network is the form of telemarketing. This is where the marketer directly calls the customer and promotes the product or service. Then you have email marketing and voice mail marketing as well. These forms are also commonly used in direct marketing networks available today. Some other lesser know forms such as door to door marketing are also involved, which will take more investment on the marketer therefore getting less attention from organizations.

With all the pros and cones from both the organizational aspects and customer aspects, direct marketing networks have increased and expanded in their sizes and are somewhat been able to make an impact in the business world today.

7 Ways a Marketing Strategy Will Grow Your Business

“What is the best money I can spend in marketing to grow my business?” Without a doubt, this is the question I’m most frequently asked by small business owners. It may seem like a question that is promptly followed by an “it depends” type of answer, however, it’s actually quite easy to pinpoint one tool that is relatively inexpensive, delivers a high ROI and, sadly, is not commonly found in a small businesses’ toolbox. It’s a marketing strategy.

Why is a marketing strategy the most powerful tool for growing business? The straight-forward answer is that a solid marketing strategy will address current challenges and map out paths by which a business can grow in the future. It will audit a business’s brand and message, but isn’t limited to branding alone. Rather, a marketing strategy is a combination of big picture and detail analysis that incorporates a wide range of marketing channels tailored for that business’s industry, market, and budget. The majority of marketing strategies I write for small businesses include a high number of items that can be performed for free by current in-house staff, resulting in a plan that won’t lead to a fortune spent. In fact, a good marketing strategy is an investment in saving money because it targets a business’s efforts and helps avoid waste.

At this point I need to qualify my earlier statement; the best money spent in marketing is a smart marketing strategy written by an experienced marketer on behalf of a specific business, not something sketched out by a rep at a service shop (think printer or web firm) or from a generic, ‘small business strategy’ check list. For a marketing strategy to be truly effective, it needs to be a customized effort involving research, analysis and a careful matching of opportunities with the business’s resources and budget. This can never be a quick or off the shelf effort – a smart marketing strategy takes some time to develop properly. My own typically take less than a month and are generally under $2,000.

It’s important to keep in mind that while a smart marketing strategy won’t force a business beyond its means, it will present a mix of opportunities that meet immediate goals and show paths for growth. A marketing strategy’s advantage is that it paints a picture of a business, highlights who that business is targeting, focuses its marketing budget, and develops a schedule for reaching out to buyers. It accomplishes this in 7 key ways:

1. Develops Brand & Message

A brand is simply a business’s public look and message. Businesses all have the beginning of a brand – an official name – and some have taken steps to identify a logo, tagline, and possibly a general color scheme or style guide. In small businesses, these are often a reflection of the owner’s personal taste rather than an evaluation of the market and targeted buyers (years ago I had a client who chose her corporation’s color scheme from her kitchen wall’s paint chip). They may be a result of a family brainstorming effort or an owner’s flash of inspiration. Sometimes they are geographically influenced or an attempt at gimmickry. The point is that while it’s rare to find a small business that developed its name, logo, and message as the result of true market research, it’s a universal rule that, for good or bad, small businesses will refer to these items as their business’s brand.

And this is where a marketing strategy steps in. A smart marketing strategy will thoroughly evaluate a business’s brand through experienced and unbiased eyes. The marketer is not (hopefully) a member of the family and most likely hasn’t seen the kitchen’s walls. Instead, an experienced marketer will audit the brand as both a buyer and a marketer, and evaluate its ability to quickly convey the business’s story, whether or not it targets the appropriate buyer, and if it is unique enough within the marketplace to set the business apart from the competition. The marketing strategy will highlight any brand challenges, inconsistencies, or weaknesses before suggesting modifications and improvements.

Unfortunately, ‘brand’ seems to be a point at which many small businesses abandon their strategic efforts. A business’s brand is essential and well worth a hefty effort, but ‘branding’ isn’t enough of an action item to grow a business and isn’t where a smart strategy ends…

2. Audits Current Program

Which segues nicely into the next stage of a strategy: auditing the current marketing program. This stage goes beyond branding to review all of the business’s marketing efforts and is an essential component to any smart strategy. It’s at this stage that wasted money or effort is discovered, missed opportunities highlighted, or where I find that a client had started down a positive path in the past but either abandoned it too early or was off in its message. Has the business’s marketing program been well thought out or has it been a shotgun approach through a series of one-off efforts spread over time? This is where we find out.
My audits look for strengths as well as holes and weaknesses in a business’s marketing program by dissecting the marketing channel mix, promotional locations (both online and traditional), frequency, and more, then matching the entire program to the targeted buyer profile. I spend quite a bit of time looking through the business’s marketing tools such as its web site, brochures, newsletters, and social media and evaluate the business’s staff resources, factoring any strengths into the final evaluation.

3. Profiles Buyers & Marketplace

It may be hard to fathom but there are small businesses that face each year without knowing much about their own marketplace and the very buyers upon which their livelihoods depend. As a marketer, it baffles me how any business can hang its shingle without taking the time to first evaluate who it will sell to and from whom it will grab market share. Questions such as, “how many buyers are out there?”, “how do they like to be reached?” and, “who am I competing against?” are all fundamental to business success because it’s only through this knowledge that a company can adapt and grow. The only way to create this profile is through research!

I start by pulling information directly from my clients through a combination of interviews and surveys filled with carefully crafted questions. I’ll ask then re-ask until I’ve developed a complete profile from my client’s perspective. My work then turns to generating a buyer profile from a marketing perspective that stems from my client’s high level buyer description. I’ll dig and research until my profile is complete, then compare my profile with that of my client’s. Hopefully we’re in synch, but if not, I’ll point out where we differ and evaluate where my client can hone his or her efforts.

At this point I’ll also want to look at the marketplace from my buyer profile’s point of view, and will “shop” the competition. I’ll look at the business’s geographic reach and investigate both demographic data and local economic growth plans. All of this data will play into the final evaluation of whether my client should continue in its current market or branch out into an area that’s buyer-rich.

4. Evaluates Competition

“Who is my competition and how do we differ?” That’s a question every business owner should be able to answer at any given time! Business owners should be aware of who is snagging market share from them and how each competitor compares in services, quality, customer service, messaging, and overall marketing efforts. It’s wonderful to be the best service provider available, but that won’t mean anything if the competition is signing more buyers!

For this stage of a marketing strategy, I like to shop the competition from a buyer’s perspective before comparing my findings to my own “client shop”. Since I’m an outside consultant, it’s fairly easy for me to assume an unbiased buyer’s approach to most shopping efforts, be it B to B or B to C, and I look for easy shopping situations, who could satisfy my buyer needs, would entice me to make a purchase or conversely would turn me off as a buyer. I use these results to suggest ways my client could improve his or own business’s message and to…

5. Determine Marketing Mix

This stage of a marketing strategy is a game of, ‘find the buyers’. After all, what is marketing if it isn’t an effort to communicate with buyers and lure them to a business? To me, this is the truly strategic stage of a strategy, but one that could not exist without all the previous steps. It is at this point that the strategy should answer questions such as, “should a business adopt the latest trends or stick to more traditional methods?” or, “what will provide the biggest bang for a limited budget?”

It’s also the stage where experience really pays off as there are many, many ways to spend money in marketing and only so many options that will reach the right buyers. I enjoy this stage the most and spend time looking under rocks to discover new options and find cost effective solutions. No two strategies should be ever be the same at this stage, making this the most custom portion of the entire process. A good strategy will look beyond paid search and Facebook ads and find new ways to present the business – within budget.

This is also the most flexible portion of a smart marketing strategy. I like to include a variety of options that range from ‘incorporate immediately’ to more longer term efforts that make sense once the business has grown or has put other marketing tools in place. A good mix will pull in multiple marketing channels and allow a business to reach buyers on many levels.

6. Finds Internal & Low Cost Options

Many businesses have low cost and free marketing options already at their disposal and may not realize it. A good marketing strategy reviews a business’s internal options, evaluates the business as a whole, and discover resources that can be used in the marketing plan. I like to empower my clients and give them the chance to save their budget for bigger ticket items down the road.

7. Designs 1 – 5 Years Marketing Plan

I wrap up every marketing strategy with a 1 year, month by month, marketing plan. This marketing plan lists carefully selected marketing efforts determined in the strategy and provide a schedule for when they should be launched and evaluated. For smaller businesses, I try to stick to the low cost options that can be maintained internally with optional efforts that may cost more money or should happen after an early goal has been achieved. More expensive or involved opportunities are generally reserved for a 2-5 year plan and are contingent upon achieving goals.

By incorporating the above 7 stages into a thoroughly researched and carefully crafted strategy, a small business will have a map by which it can achieve its goals and grow its business. It’s money well spent and something a business really shouldn’t exist without!