The marketing word of the day is efficiency! Small businesses have no choice but to work smarter, not harder. With limited resources at hand, every hour and dollar you spend putting together and executing your marketing plan is precious. We’re here to give you suggestions on how you can maximize marketing outcomes while dialing it back on the effort side.
1. Have a Marketing Plan
First things first, make a plan! Without a well-thought-out marketing strategy, you’ll be firing off email blasts, running social media contests and paying for advertisements with no clear goal in mind. Run your marketing efforts like this and you’ll get burnt out fast. Start with your business goals, short and long-term, and work backward to build a timeline for marketing activities. Create a marketing calendar that keeps you on track not only rolling out campaigns but also with routine follow up and campaign maintenance and tracking as needed.
2. Pick the Right Channels
The marketing channels you invest in should largely depend on your target market. If you cater to an older population you’re likely to skip social media and invest in snail mail campaigns. Consider your budget when choosing your marketing mediums. Online marketing strategies are cost-effective and have the ability to reach many people fairly quickly. Be sure to include a healthy mix of options to reach a larger audience.
Other channels to consider:
- Speaking opportunities
- Content marketing
- Influencer marketing
- Partner co-marketing
- Review sites and directories
- On and offline advertising
- Social media marketing
3. Use Automation
Technology has become a marketer’s best friend. There are hundreds of tools out there aimed at making your life easier and streamlining your marketing activities. Marketing automation refers to using software to carry out marketing tasks like email blasts, social media posts, and other web-related activities.
Automation software has come a long way since its inception. They’re hugely customizable so your clients don’t feel as if they’re being spoken to be a robot and very user-friendly. However, this is not a set it and forget it solution. Consistent review of your automation strategy is a must to keep it fresh and engaging. Plus, you supply the content. Didn’t think you were getting off that easy, were you?
Social media is one of the simplest places to implement a marketing automation strategy. Software like Hootsuite, Sprout Social and Crowdfire are some of the more popular solutions.
4. Check your Data
No matter your marketing plan, there’s a certain amount of trial and error involved. Having data helps support your decisions on which to keep and which to chuck and prevents you from investing in channels that are duds. Tools like Google Analytics can be used to track your website traffic and search engine advertising, among other things.
Zarget is great for A/B testing your website. It may not be completely obvious at first, but the layout and link paths on your site may be preventing people from making purchases or filling out contact forms.
Autopilot is a robust tool for segmenting your leads and targeting them with appropriate messaging. Break up groups depending on demographic and shopping habits, among other things. This type of data allows you to make the best use of your time since you won’t be sending irrelevant information to customers.
5. Use Customer Feedback
How do your customers feel about the way they’re being marketed to? You don’t know unless you ask! Including things like opt-out options in your email communications, asking for customer reviews, sending out surveys and asking customers in person how they’re enjoying your latest email campaign, for instance, are all simple ways to determine if you’re hitting the sweet spot or falling flat.
6. Aim for Quality, Not Quantity
While you want to cast a wide net, you don’t want to drown all the fish in the ocean! Pestering customers with constant campaigns will get old fast and turn your clients off to doing business with you at all. Aim to create high quality, high-value campaigns that are useful to your clients. The best type of marketing campaign attracts new customers because they feel you care about their needs. This not only translates into more quality interactions with current and potential customers, but it takes a load off your marketing team (or you!) because you’re not busying yourself generating dozens of useless campaigns. Focus on your primary business initiatives and build well-thought-out and tested campaigns directed at attaining those goals.
7. Repurpose Content
Yes! You may reuse content that’s proven successful in other channels! Why recreate the wheel? Your time is precious! For example, if you’ve got a killer blog post that’s been performing well, reuse some of the content to create social media posts directing followers to your blog page or turn it into a mailer to reach those who perhaps aren’t that internet savvy.
You can do spinoff versions of successful content by taking deeper dives into various elements of the original materials. Create infographics or instructographics from your best performing whitepaper or create an email series from a popular listicle. If your primary focus is to always add value for your customer, you’re more likely to recognize if you’re overdoing it and producing campaigns they won’t find very useful.
Of course, you want to advertise your business and remind people that you exist, but that shouldn’t be your primary objective or translate into dozens of campaigns running simultaneously…it’s ineffective and besides, ain’t nobody got time for that!