The New Rules Of Marketing
Small businesses are the buzzwords of today’s times, and everyone has the confidence to start their own small ventures. With so many smaller businesses hitting the market every year, the old textbook marketing mantras are a far cry from what is needed to survive in the big ocean of small businesses.
Duct Tape Marketing Updated And Revised by John Jantsch gives easy, technologically savvy, and practical modern marketing strategies to make small businesses stand out. These effective techniques show how to bring in the customers and spread the word effectively. It charts out effective plans for businesses that have just started out, for businesses that need to revamp their strategies, and even for those who need to get a clear direction once their initial strategies have successfully panned out.
The challenge that most new entrepreneurs have is how to find people that have a problem their businesses can solve, know, like, and trust in the product or service that the businesses can offer, and most importantly, make those people stick with their company.
Objective Mission And Goal
Traditionally, marketing strategies were defined by striking ad campaigns, eye-catching print ads and flyers, and other age-old marketing ideas. However, before one dives into deciding what their strategies look like, it is important to take a step back and focus on how to do it.
Any marketing strategy needs rock-solid objectives, mission, and goals. For example, the objective of your business could be to lead the market, have a mission of honorable and loyally serving customers, and have a goal of increasing your customer base within a given time period.
The objective, mission, and goal form the base of a marketing strategy and how to make them strong is the focus.
In addition to these, businesses need to have three basic steps while planning their strategies.
- Who – The first step is to know whom you want to serve. Businesses should be able to clearly define their ideal customers to be able to effectively draw strategies to target them and to specialize their products and businesses to suit them.
- How – The next step is to understand clearly how to attract the ideal customer and how to stand out from the competition. For example, businesses could focus on a USP such as uniqueness or higher quality standards.
- Who and How – The third step is to combine both who and how to get the product to the target market by charting out business environments, knowing what competitor products offer, and analyzing the habits of the customer vis-à-vis their needs.
Your Ideal Customers
Traditional marketing strategies aimed at all types of people, hoping to catch the attention of the ideal customers. Today, it is essential for small businesses to be able to define who their ideal customers are. Moreover, it is important to know what are the problems they face, and how your products or services can help solve those problems.
These ideal customers can be found by looking into one’s own business history. The clients and customers list is a great way to analyze which customers are satisfied with the company’s products and services. Additionally, the ones who bring in the profits are the ideal customers who will not only fit the loyalty bill but also be the ones who will promote the company.
The next step is to look at the same demographic as those ideal profitable customers, and them how your products or services can solve their problems, and why they need you. Once you have a biographical sketch of the ideal customers, you can train your staff to identify them.
To tap into the same demographic, you can look at the places where these people go. For example, if your company deals in technology, any tech-related conference or exhibitions will be the place to go.
The Core Message
The core message of your marketing strategy is intrinsic to get talking to your ideal customers. In order to do this, your strategy should have a marketing purpose statement. While it isn’t a statement you will use on your customers, it will be the basis of all the strategies you develop.
A window cleaning company used a marketing purpose statement to give their strategies clarity. They saw that their competitors were unprofessional to clients, and hence, wanted to show customers that they are professional. So they developed the following marketing purpose statement, “We want people to know that we treat window cleaning as a profession and that our people are true professionals who treat the homes they enter as they would their own.” This enabled them to imbibe the value of professionalism into each staff member.
The next step is to create a talking logo. The talking logo is a statement that essentially sums up the greatest USP of your product or service. The window cleaning company used “We help homeowners see a better world.” A talking logo includes a strong action verb. It makes clients react with, “Really? How do you do that?”
The final step is to develop a core marketing message for the public. This is a slogan that serves as a short, succinct statement. The window cleaning company’s slogan was, “Your Pane is Our Passion.”
It is a catchy statement that attracted clients and showed them how professional the company is as compared to the competition in the market.
Tailoring The Marketing Message
Not everyone in the target market is the same or has the same needs. Therefore, tailoring the marketing message to suit different groups within the core target group. The core target market can be divided into four different groups.
- Suspects – These are the customers who are part of the demographic of ideal customers, but haven’t been contacted by the company yet.
- Prospects – Prospects are clients who have shown interest and want more information.
- Clients – Clients are those who have used your products and services. Those clients who keep coming back for new products or upgrades are called repeat clients.
- Champions – Finally, Champions are those who refer your company to friends and others and are indirect promoters of your product or service.
While initially, businesses tart out with mostly suspects in their core group, the aim is to convert all of them into champions. Actual growth is seen when customers become regular and refer your business, rather than merely acquiring new clients. Hence it is essential to develop tailored, targeted messages to appeal to these four sub-groups.
The aim of suspects is to catch their attention by offering test versions, free information, free reports, workshops, books, etc. Trial services, discounts, and offers help to convert prospects since they have already shown an interest. Champions are the most important sub-group and rewards such as memberships and affiliate programs work best for them.
Social Media And Online Presence
Today, having an online presence is vital for small businesses. Contrary to assumptions, jumping on the bandwagon and creating a website isn’t the end of it. Companies have to curate and tailor their online presence too.
Firstly, assuming that your customers know the name of your products and services is wrong. You have to employ the correct keywords with Search Engine Optimization to ensure that the customers get to your website when they search for you. Secondly, the correct contact details should be available on every page of your website. This will ensure that the client will know exactly how to contact you, without needing to search.
Optimization does help to bring in customers, however, it is equally important to increase your social media presence, advertise on other sites online, and even display your website on offline adverts and campaigns.
Ensuring that your website is enticing and attractive to your customers is essential too. It is wise to invest in a good website designer, have clear and concise content, and make navigation on the website easy. Adding audio and videos on the website increases SEO rankings by making the website more interesting and keeping customers on the website for longer.
Customers love to read reviews and ratings about the products and services they are looking for. Therefore, adding a feedback page and telling regular customers to give their feedback is essential for success.
In addition to ensuring a strong online presence, offline media should not be neglected. They still have the power to grab the attention of customers.
Advertising adds credibility to any business. The fact of the matter is, if a company has the ability to pay for advertising, it is doing well. Therefore, while free advertising works for smaller businesses, paid advertising helps reach a wider base.
Advertising gets people to notice the company. Journalists become aware of your standing in the market, people start recognizing social media adverts and most importantly, employees can proudly show off their company to friends and family, who in turn pass on the message via word-of-mouth.
Advertising, like marketing has it own rules and procedures. It has certain components that businesses should pay attention to.
- Headline – The headline is the most important part of the advertisement and either mentions what the company has to offer or promises to the customers. It should be eye-catching enough to get a customer to stop flipping the pages of a magazine.
- Editorial or Testimonial – Editorials and testimonials add proof to the claim made by the advert. Nothing is better than the words of a happy customer.
- Call to action – An advertisement becomes more interesting if it includes a call-to-action. For example, if a retail store is having an offer, the advertisement should clearly state how these offers could be availed.
Following these procedures helps in understanding if the ad is effective, as well as understanding if the medium used is correct. An effective ad – also known as the control ad – should be used as long as it remains effective. After that, the wisest course of action is to create a better control ad than the previous one.
Public Relations And Positive Press Coverage
Often advertising isn’t enough. Even if the company has a star advertising plan, it doesn’t get the credibility it should without a good PR plan. That is why many companies are willing to pay hefty prices to ensure good public relations and press coverage.
A good PR plan helps in telling customers the story of the company. A heartfelt story helps in connecting customers emotionally to the brand. Additionally, positive advertising boosts employee satisfaction, because positive news about their own company will make them feel proud.
To increase positive press coverage, companies should get to know influential journalists, bloggers, and writers of the industry. Connecting with them on social media platforms such as Twitter will get them to notice your brand. Building good relations with them can help the company create positive press coverage.
Any news on any media, events, or changes in the company should be mentioned on the website of the company. Such bits of information can be placed in the ‘In the News section of the website and can be sent in newsletters to existing clients and other people in the network.
The Importance Of Referrals
The foremost aim of any marketing campaign is to get loyal customers to refer your brand, company, product, or service to others. One of the most effective ways of ensuring more clients and customers is via word-of-mouth or referrals.
People tend to trust the opinions and referrals of friends and family more than relying on an advertisement. Referrals work both ways. They add credibility to the reputation of the business and at the same time, make a client’s word worth trusting. As the business earns a badge of trustworthiness, the client gets a good name for referring to a good product.
Referrals are often willing to pay a premium price because they expect that the referred product to be absolutely worth its price. Because it is tried and tested!
How does one therefore, ensure good referrals?
The answer is as simple as – keep your existing customers happy! Only when customers are happy with the product or service, will they refer it to others. Additionally, it is essential for the business to provide its customers opportunities and ways of referring. For example, if your product has an upgrade, you can have a campaign where existing users click a picture of themselves using the upgraded product on their Facebook profiles.
Referrals aren’t limited to customers only. Other businesses that come in contact with your business can be modes of referrals too. As part of corporate gifting, you can send diaries or pens with the logo of your company. Their partner companies will take note of your business too.
The most important part of ensuring a steady flow of referrals is to reward referrals. For example, offering discounts for customers who bring in friends, or gifting other connected companies for referring you to other businesses, and most importantly referring them back.
Marketing has become a multifaceted function today. While many of the old-school rules of marketing still apply, they need to be tweaked to be relevant to the fast-paced, tech-savvy world. In order to do that, businesses should understand who their ideal customers are, tailor their marketing campaigns to them and ensure a good mix of online and offline advertising, positive PR, and press.
The main aim is to ensure recurring referrals from loyal customers.