As we approach the end of the year, it’s a good a time as any to think about what has worked and what hasn’t this year in your business marketing strategy. This can give you an opportunity to revamp your marketing strategy ready for the new year ahead.
Every business wants to see leads coming in, but if those leads aren’t seeking what your business is offering, there is no point to them and your efforts have been wasted.
It’s always good to look at what’s around the corner and what’s coming up as new trends, innovations and competitors all play a part in how well your marketing works with your audience.
Take a look back through all your data this year – what can it tell you? As a small business owner, it can be hard to stay on top of marketing objectives but if you’ve played your cards right this year, you’ll see your results clearly and be able to take from it the things that have worked well to be able to replicate and do even better in the future. On the flip side, you can take out the things that have not worked so well and make changes to those processes.
Don’t get stuck into just looking at the data in a single vision tunnel. Use more than one analytical tool to measure your marketing – and don’t just trust Google Analytics! If you’re using third party social tools, many come with analytics or insights. Check these regularly and record the data, or save the reports so you’ve got comparisons throughout the year.
Tip: It doesn’t matter how successful you’ve been this year, it’s always good to tweak processes to ensure success again next year.
Things change year on year. If you have something in your marketing strategy that was good last year, it may not be applicable next year and this is where a revamp comes in.
Goals: Be specific
Ask questions to realise what is important to you and what is / is not working in your marketing so far.
Are you reaching out to the right audience on the right platform?
Are you meeting the needs of your audience?
Who are you competitors and how can you use their business to benefit yours?
What’s worked best / worst for you this year?
Goals: Put your specifics into targets
Use the specifics in your questions and answers to create goals that you can work towards and are attainable. Setting goals too high can lead to disappointment. Be realistic in your thoughts and plans.
Increase website traffic by X%
Reach X% of customers more than last year
Hit a £XX target by first quarter
Achieve X% higher engagement rate on social media
These goals need to be monitored on a regular basis, set goals for different periods of the year: Q1, Q2, and check if you are reaching those goals each time. If you’re doing well and over achieving, there’s a window to re assess the marketing plan and set your sights even higher. If things are not working as well as you first thought or assumed, you can revamp to more achievable targets.
What can you look out for within your marketing strategy?
Everyone wants to be on top of what’s to come. This means staying on top new trends. You can achieve this by social listening, connecting manually with businesses and industry leaders on social media and keeping a general watchful eye on the social media channels. They shift very quickly, and all are moving at a pace that can be unexpected in marketing spheres.
Expand your reach with social media
You’ve dabbled in social media marketing this year or in the past and know what it’s capable of which now gives way to you digging deeper into your social media and utilising everything that you’ve learned to reach even further. There is power when it comes to social media marketing and the horizons are bright when it’s used correctly. Create different ways to engage with your audience, that will showcase what you have to offer and what value your business will provide.
Here are some ways to get engagement:
Seasonal or promotional campaigns
Surveys / polls
Ask for topics people would like to read about
Get website feedback
Create shareable content
Use quotes and inspiration content
Attracting customers from an inbound way may sound hard work but actually it’s not if you have everything in place ready and waiting.
Say for example a business is looking for a company to provide delivered lunches to the office, they discuss it within their management meeting and give the task of finding a provider to the office administrator. The first thing they will probably do is Google “delivered lunches to offices in XX town”. If you’ve done everything correctly within your marketing strategy, you should hopefully appear somewhere near the top of that search list.
The website that looks the most attractive with good and detailed information, that are easily contactable, perhaps have a good social media following and can show customer testimonials etc. will probably be the one that will contacted first. All these components together portray a good online image and with no extra effort from yourselves, you have attracted an inbound client.
Therefore, everything needs to be within your marketing strategy from start to finish, not leaving any options out. Website / social media / SEO / content marketing – the whole lot comes together to form your business.
This means ‘search engine optimisation’ and is the optimising of your content so that it appears higher in search engine results. So, if someone is searching for ‘social media agency’, for example, you’d hope that your company lists high up in Google for your business to appeal to those searching. Therefore, your SEO strategy plays a part in your overall marketing plan. Take some time to ensure that all the keywords that people would be searching for when it comes to your business industry or service area, are within your content. This is important on your website, but it’s also important in your social media content too. All content is searchable, and you want to aim for the highest search results possible. This can be maximised by your content marketing.
Content is key! Recent surveys show that businesses who invest in their content marketing have a conversion rate of six times higher of those that don’t. Content marketing relates to blogs, articles, podcasts, video and social media as a vehicle for driving traffic and raising brand awareness.
The Content Marketing Institutes states this: Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.
The key word in this definition is ‘valuable’. This is what attracts and retains a reader and is what turns them into a customer and a long-term client that is sustained. Anyone can post content but is that content worth reading and is it worth looking at the business behind the content? If you can grab the attention of the audience by using key words that trigger emotions, you will create a hook for that person to keep reading.
Give a call to action with your content, once a person has read the value you have, they need somewhere to go next. Can you give that to them or will they hop onto something else?
There is much that can be done to revamp your marketing strategy but it needs to start with good brainstorming and research and come from a passion to really want something to happen. If you do not give your marketing plan 100% focus, you’ll not stay on the right track and will be distracted easily. Take time to perform as much research as you can and to watch competitors as they handle their marketing. What gaps can you see that your competitors are missing that you can use and provide value in? Where do you see your business heading and what do you want to achieve by this time next year?
Need a little help in putting a marketing plan together? Do not fear, you’ve come to the right place! We’d love to help you get organised and with a plan ready to implement. Download our social media marketing calendar first off and then get in touch for an initial chat… start the year as you mean to go on!
Online marketing is moving at a fast pace and in order to be noticed and to be seen as business owners we need to make sure that we are doing everything we can to stay up to date and inline with what is happening. Social media channels are evolving, new initiatives are being added regularly and it’s vital that we stay on the pulse when it comes to social media marketing.
Any form of marketing strategy needs to ensure that it attracts the right audience and is speaking to the relevant people for that market. It’s all well and good having a fantastic marketing campaign if you’re targeting the wrong people. As a business reaching out to consumers, you need to be right where they are and speaking the same language as them.
A Customer Journey
We all know that customers research before they buy and what your brand looks like across all its platforms will sway a customer to pursue or to move on. This ranges right from your website, social profiles, LinkedIn staff profiles to your listing on the search engines; Google, Bing, Yahoo etc. Everywhere that a customer will see your brand, it needs to be consistent and providing a clear message throughout.
The first contact a customer has with your business will be the first impression they have of your brand. You can’t guarantee where that will be, will they land on your website, on your Facebook Page or stumble upon you in LinkedIn? Whichever place they see you first will be their first impression of you. What does that look like? Is it professional? Does it speak of you and your brand personality or tone of voice? Does it showcase what your business has to offer?
If you’re not sure as to whether they all give the same, clear message – they probably don’t!
Getting Started With Your Brand Identity
But don’t worry, now you’ve established that there needs to be some changes, you can get started. Putting effort and thought into your branding is important. You might have started your business on a whim and whizzed ahead in order to fulfill a purpose and that’s fine but if that’s the case, it’s now time to stop, put your thinking cap on and to get creative.
Spend time giving thoughtful and meaning answers to these questions:
Who/what is your target audience?
What are their needs?
How can you provide a solution?
What message do you want to give and be known for in your business?
What style and tone of voice represents your brand?
Your brand is your identity. Your brand is who your business is and it needs to reflect your mission and your purpose, telling a visual story along the way.
It’s about getting down to the nitty gritty of your business and the values and personality behind it all. It’s about understanding what the customer is really looking for and providing a solution to that which is full of value and substance.
Having a clear branding strategy and plan differentiates you from the crowd and other competitors.
Making Your Brand Unique
Your branding needs to be memorable and unique
Your brand needs to give your business a personality
Your brand will enable you to build relationships with customers and help engagement rates
Your brand will add value to your marketing strategy giving your direction
Once you have your clear brand guidelines in place, it will be much easier to keep everything consistent and brand all your marketing material as you go alone.
Keep a shared folder that all team members can have access to which provides templates for all common-used material. This can be set up for all social media posts, for each platform, along with reports, stationery, email signatures and any other material that you may using for customer’s eyes.
It’s important that your clients see your professionalism and consistency in anything that comes their way, it’s all part of their customer experience and journey with you. And also leads the way in them recommending or referring your business to people within their circles. If they like what they see, they’ll recommend you.
If you’re looking for guidance on branding and advice on putting together an online marketing strategy, then we’d love to help. Use our Contact Page to get in touch and let’s take your business to the next level.
Identifying what the fundamental values are in your business and what you determine as your business ethics is VITAL for your brand awareness and shaping the essence of your brand.
Therefore, identifying what those core values are in your business will do two main things:
a) Give you a platform for everything your business stands for to be based upon, enabling a strong foundation for growth.
b) Educates your customers into understanding what your company is about.
Your core values are the most important things that matter in your business – the things that you focus on from the ground up and what you want your clients to know about. You are providing a set of guidelines for you and your business.
It can be a challenging exercise to decide upon core values but so very valuable in the long run. Establishing a foundation that your WHOLE business runs with gives your brand its identity and enables you to stand out from the crowd.
When putting a strategy together for your business and in the initial stages of thinking about direction, it’s important to put values in place that you want your business to stick to. This gives your business direction and allows you to have rules in places that guides the way that your business runs.
Deciding on your core values and understanding those values contributes to your brand identity and this in turn will enable people to know who you are and what your business stands for.
Brand awareness is so important when it comes to being known with your target audience, identifying who it is that you are trying to target and then using everything possible to get your voice heard in a busy and chaotic digital world. Without a brand strategy or a marketing plan in place, it’s so easy to drift away in directions that are outside of your initial goals and although this may not be a bad thing in terms of reaching out, it’s good to stick to a plan and to reach those people that you can truly add value to.
Add value and you will gain respect, become known within your industry and see business growth. It may take time to establish a good business reputation but with effort, dedication and strategy it is possible.
However to achieve this you need to be clear in your thinking, clear in the way that you showcase your business and clear in what your business stands for. Having core values that people are instantly able to relate to a) makes good business sense but b) allows people who are on board with your values to connect with you.
Your core values speak about you personally and not only your business so live those values. If you’re a small business or a startup who is just getting a business off the ground, make sure that you live by those values and in everything that your business does, do it in line with your core values.
So, get your thinking caps on and really spend time investing in your business. What do you truly believe in, what values do you base your business upon? When you get your values in place – then your business will start to move in the right direction.
We’d love to help if you’re looking to work on your brand identity and putting a strategy and plan together for business growth. Get in touch today to find out more.
The word strategy might sound a bit daunting but putting together a business strategy and a marketing strategy is a vital part of any business success. To see business growth and success over a period of time, it’s vital to plan out everything that needs to be done in order to achieve this.
The same goes with a social media strategy. This will fall into your marketing planning but social media is such a large part everyday life that it needs to be incorporated into the mix. People are mobile and people carry their mobile devices with them wherever they go. In order to reach a target audience directly – you need to be at the heart of where they are.
What is a social media strategy?
The basis to a strategy is a summary and plan of everything that you plan to do in order to see a result or achieve a certain goal. It will guide the way that you manage your social media, the way you engage with the audience and will allow you to see if you on track or need to change direction.
This will play a part in every post, tweet or comment that you do within all your social media platforms, keeping the same tone of voice throughout.
Here are 5 ways to get you started with a social media strategy:
Each of your goals should be:
This is the smart framework that will align your goals with real achievements, rather than guessing or taking things by chance. Every goal or action you take should be measured against the smart framework knowing that you will keep everything tied together – with a plan for how to execute details.
The social media plan needs to align with your overall marketing strategy. This can be started by establishing 3-4 goals that you want to achieve and then working out a plan of how to achieve these.
Love your audience
The most vital stage of your social media plan comes down to understanding your audience. In order to meet their needs and provide a service that they will actually want to buy into, you need to fully understanding them. When you start to understand and love what they love, sharing tips, advice or general information that they are actually interested in – then they will start to engage, share and comment – giving you ground to be able to give great customer service and to build working relationships.
If you love your audience and they know it – they will start to love and trust your brand, making it so much easier to build your business and see growth for the future.
Conduct a social media audit
If you’ve already been using social media for your business but are finding it difficult to grow or establish a connection with your audience, then perhaps it’s time to do a social media audit in order to find out what’s going on.
What does this entail? Try answering these questions…
Look through all your social media channels – Facebook, Twitter, instagram, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube, Quora and make a list of all of them.
Next to each one, write down the number of followers
Who is connecting with you on your social media platforms?
What is working – what is not working?
Is your target audience present on these channels?
Do text or image posts create the best engagement?
Am I providing a level of customer of service on every channel?
Are all my profiles branded?
How does your social media compare to your competitors accounts?
Answering these questions will give you a good overall analysis of where you currently stand within your social media marketing. You can then use this to better plan out your social media strategy as you now know what is working and what’s not. You now know where you main target audience is based and which channels will help you reach them quicker and more effectively.
Create engaging content
Work out what works for your audience in terms of content. Does their demographics determine what type of posts they would like to see?
In most cases, visuals catch the attention of the target audience. If they are presented with something that is eye-catching and immediately says ‘wow’ to them, they are more likely to engage or to share your content.
Depending on what social media platform you are using, see what works best by testing different mediums, the posts that create the most amount of feedback and engagement are the types that you need to build into your social media strategy. You could be the best copywriter in the world but if your posts are not grabbing the attention of the audience, they are not going to be effective. Test, test and test again to see what works. Create images that are powerful and have impact. Create images that speak directly to the customer – giving them solutions or advice that they want to hear. Text can be incorporated into the images and of course any text or wording alongside these images need to be just as impactful as the visuals. Give depth and knowledge, provide value in every post you create.
Learn from your competitors – find inspiration
Yes your business is unique and you need to come across as providing a unique service to every customer you come into contact with. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t learn from other experts in your industry. Establishing your audience and finding what they engage best with will give you grounding for your strategy. Finding inspiration from others can provide you with valuable insights that will help boost your brand awareness. Don’t forget that the key to social media is engagement – it is SOCIAL for a reason!
If you’d like help in putting together a social media strategy for your business or brand, we’d love to chat with you. Get in touch to find out more.
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