Is your marketing ineffective?
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Are you struggling with your marketing and not seeing the results you once were? If so, when was the last time you really reviewed your marketing strategies?
Cold calling and sending out emails to generate leads is a thing of the past. The way consumers buy - both in B2B and B2C markets has completely changed over the last decade, if your marketing strategy hasn’t completely changed along with it then you need to stop what you’re doing and read on…
An inbound marketing approach
So, if cold calling and emailing or ‘outbound marketing’ is dead and buried (thank goodness, I mean who ever actually enjoyed being called countless times a day by someone wanting to sell you something?) then what replaces it? The answer, is to place the customer at the centre of all that you do by building an effective inbound strategy around how best to meet their wants and needs.
What’s new about that? In marketing terms, there’s nothing new about placing the customer at the centre of your world, but what IS new is the way customers procure your products and services. Consumers don’t want to be ‘sold’ to, they don’t want to be pestered, they don’t want to be cold called and they don’t want your unsolicited emails. So, what DO they want?
The digital marketing landscape
Think about how the digital landscape has changed over the past decade. We’ve literally everything we could ever want or need at our fingertips. You can order your shopping online and have it delivered, you can manage your child’s homework using an app, you can buy literally anything in the entire universe at the click of a button for 40p on eBay and you can damn well search and find online any piece of information you’ve ever wanted, having the answer in the blink of an eye. As if that wasn’t enough, social media and search engine algorithms are so evolved, if you so much as think about going on a diet, your news feed is suddenly filled with diet ads and exercise apps, it’s like “how do they know?”.
The epic challenges of the modern-day marketer
So, just how DO you reach your customers in a such a competitive, constantly evolving marketing landscape? Well, you start with a great website. No company can afford to not have an online presence, it’s absolutely central to your marketing along with a social media presence. Think back to that customer and those smart phones and fingers… then try telling me you don’t need an awesome website and social strategy.
The ultimate challenge!
Having an absolutely spanking website, however, is completely pointless without engaging content. By content we mean page content, blogs, videos, social posts, white papers, webinars – the list goes on! All of this content should engage your audience enough to pull them back into your website (inbound marketing) from the source they found it from. Creating content is probably the biggest challenge facing today’s marketer because it’s time consuming and not easy to come up with something that’s truly engaging! Think about the way you engage with great content. You share it, tag your friends, comment on it or exchange your email data to download it! This is where it’s at - great content has got to be central to your inbound marketing strategy.
Critical to online success is a good SEO strategy. After all, if you’re not visible online then what’s the point? A well-structured website hierarchy and linking structure optimised for your target keywords ensures your visibility in SERPs (search engine results pages), giving you that much desired organic (free!) website traffic – the holy grail of online marketing. If you’re operating in a highly competitive market you may well need to support your online visibility with a PPC campaign, guaranteed to land you on page 1 search - albeit at a cost.
The value of social media
Don’t be fooled into thinking your business doesn’t need to be on social media. I don’t care who you are and what you do, there is absolutely a social media channel (or 4!) that suits your business. Nowadays, many customers take to Facebook for recommendations, it’s starting to rival good old fashioned (did I just say that!) Google! Can you afford not to be in that list of recommendations your customer is looking for? There are over 3 BILLION social media users worldwide! This is only set to increase and what an absolutely supremely rich source of data this provides about your customers for highly targeted marketing campaigns. If you’re still not convinced, then just do it because it’s free and trust me, you won’t be sorry that you did.
Email marketing is NOT dead, it’s just changed
I know we said customers don’t want to receive cold emails, they don’t and GDPR has made it so this form of marketing has been wiped out due to double opt in email lists! This is actually GREAT NEWS for the online marketer because it means your email lists are made up of customers who’re truly interested in your products and services, so your conversion rates should be way better than before. When we talk email marketing, we’re talking about nurturing customers through the decision-making process with a series of emails triggered by certain events, such as a form fill on your website where they’ve opted to receive your marketing communications. Again, we’re talking truly engaging content that adds value to your customer’s problem, so they’re receiving emails that gently guide them (not salesy!) through to making that purchase decision – when THEY are good and ready.
It’s not all about digital marketing
Don’t get me wrong, digital marketing has overtaken offline marketing by a long shot and that’s only set to be a continuing trend, but offline still has its place. Integrating this into your marketing strategy to support your digital efforts is absolutely key. Whether it’s advertising, direct mail, PR, sponsorship, merchandising or events, making sure you’re clear about your offline objectives and how this integrates with your inbound marketing strategy is essential. Don’t forget to make sure all your offline includes signposts to your website and social media accounts - it’s all about driving customers to YOU, from any channel.
Know your customers!
This is something that hasn’t changed. It’s vital to know your target audience. Focus groups and surveys are still a great way to understand your customers, but spending time developing various personas will be an invaluable source of insight when you’re building up your inbound marketing strategy. Creating personas involves getting under the skin of different customer groups and picking out key wants, needs, and fears plus identifying typical behaviours - all with the ultimate aim of solving whatever problems they have!
Need some help?
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with what’s available to you as a Marketing Manager, particularly if you’re working alone without a team to support you, we understand. Creating a truly integrated inbound marketing plan AND executing it is no easy task, particularly considering the massive amount of digital marketing tools and software available to help you automate as many tasks as you can, so you can achieve more.
If you’re looking for an agency who can support you along the way, then you’re in the right place – if you’d like to arrange a no strings chat with one of our marketing experts, contact us today and let’s make progress!