Many years ago marketing was a well defined field of study with a well documented marketing process. Today, all of this has changed and marketing has evolved beyond the traditional segmentation, targeting and positioning focus that you could read in a marketing book. It’s also much more complex than understanding the buying process and the 4P’s (Product, Price, Place and Promotion).
This article will simplify and explain what marketing is and why marketing is important. We will also look at the types of marketing that exist, which you can use to grow your business and get more clients. Then we’ll explain what a marketing mix is to help you determine how to spend your marketing budget. Finally, we’ll give you some ideas around strategic marketing thinking to help you understand not only what marketing is, but also how can you put it to action in your own business to develop your sales & marketing funnel.
If you look for the definition of marketing in Google, you will find: “The action or business of promoting and selling products or services.” (source:Google.com). Wikipedia will tell you that “Marketing is the process of communicating the value of a product or service to customers, for the purpose of selling the product or service”. When thinking about online marketing in a more actionable way, we like to think in terms of:
Marketing is about building a relationship with everyone who could be interested in your business.
Marketing is important because this is the way you’re able to let the world know about you, your business, your products and your services. You’re giving all the people who are interested in you, a way to learn about your product or service and more importantly you’re helping them understand if it’s the right product or service for them. It doesn’t matter if you have the greatest product or service in the world if nobody knows about it! Marketing is how you attract more customers and grow your business!
There are many types of marketing out there and we will cover some of the basic ways in which you can market your business to reach more customers, build your audience, get more web visits and improve your engagement and conversion.
In the digital world content is king. This is the way most people will find your website and learn about your business. It’s a great way to inform your prospective customers and answer questions they might have about your products or services. Remember that search engines will give you a lot of credit for relevant content and keeping an updated blog is key for your SEO strategy.
As you build up a contact list of prospective and existing customers, it’s important to use email to communicate and stay top of mind. The ideal frequency of your newsletters and emails differs depending on your industry and your audience, but just like with content – it’s all about relevant and interesting information. If you’re ready to send an email campaign, know the 10 golden rules for email marketing.
Direct mail marketing refers to the physical letters, postcards and flyers that you would distribute or send out to your lists. Even though a lot of your marketing might have shifted to the online world, don’t forget that some of your customers still like to receive a well thought out message in their mailbox. Direct mail marketing can be especially useful for local businesses, where your prospective customers know who you are and where you’re located. Learn how to track the effectiveness of your direct marketing efforts.
Online marketing can take many shapes and forms, but by far the most common type of paid advertising is Google Adwords; these are the sponsored links that you see at the top and side when you search for something in Google. Adwords Express offers a simple to setup solution for small budgets or you can try it on your own. At ThriveHive we recommend talking to a marketing expert to help you manage your marketing budget.
Social networks have become an incredibly important part of any marketing mix. Facebook now has more than one billion users and continues to grow year over year. Social sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter and Pinterest can be great for engaging with your customers. They provide a way to have a conversation and empower your advocates to interact with you and share your news with their circles. Figure out which social network is right for you and start engaging with your audience.
The number of smartphones and tablets in the world has exploded and chances are many of your customers will find you through their phones. Having a mobile optimized website is a must for business owners and making sure your local directories and review sites (like Yelp) up to date as well as your foursquare account correctly set up can help you attract more customers.
Don’t lose sleep over marketing terminology and jargon. If you’re curious, this term comes from idea of using different marketing tactics to drive people down the sales and marketing funnel. It’s usually associated with doing different activities that will directly impact the product, price, promotion and place for your product or service. When you tweak these variables, for example price, you’re effectively changing your marketing mix. Marketers come up with their own combination (or recipe) to communicate the value proposition of their product. As a small business owner, what marketing mix means to you is:
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