Marketing is one of those disciplines that can be a bit daunting. There are mysterious processes, calculations and jargon that make you feel like a hopeless outsider. While it’s certainly true that qualifications and experience in marketing are valuable assets, there are also some simple steps you can take with no experience at all to boost the value of your brand.
Here are some ideas of how you can improve your marketing without investing in specialist resource.
1. Have a strategy
If you are doing any marketing activity at all, it is important to know what you are trying to accomplish: who you are trying to reach and what action you want them to take as a result. It’s too easy to see marketing as a tick-box activity which requires you to have adverts, social media presence or newsletters – these might be a waste of time if they do not suit your audience. For example, your strategy will be different if you’re a B2B organisation than if you sell directly to the public.
2. Know your value
Before you start reaching out to people, you need to know what you are going to say. For this, you need to know your unique selling proposition (USP); the thing that makes you different and preferable to your competitors. You might be the best value, the highest quality, offer the most comprehensive service or the best convenience – whatever it is, it should be centre stage in all your marketing communications.
3. Build an audience
Once you know who you want to reach and what you want to say to them, it’s time to work on building a mailing list – whether for email or direct mail, or in the form of Facebook likes and Twitter followers. The more loyal customers you are able to reach, the more likely it is that they will use your services or buy your products again. How to build up the list? Encourage email sign ups, do a guest column in a newspaper, comment on relevant articles; there are many methods, but they all take patient, diligent work. Don’t expect thousands of sign ups overnight, it takes time.
4. Use metrics
When it comes down to it, marketing is a numbers game. Some elements of activity are about developing relationships and strengthening brand values, but ultimately you want more visits, more clicks, more conversions and more money. This data should inform your activity and prevent you from wasting funds on activities that do not work. If you’re not collecting this data, start: tools like Google Analytics and Facebook Insights will help.
5. Develop quality content
Content is the stuff you use in marketing, whether it’s text, video, sound or imagery. It’s worth producing original content and spending time on getting it right. Use plain and simple language, keep it fairly short, and make sure it will be interesting to your audience. Use lots of images – although buying in stock photos should be a last resort, as they tend to look staged and artificial.
6. Social media
Commerce is increasingly linked to social media, whether it’s handling customer complaints, promoting new products or offers, or simply building relationships with customers. People will expect you to be on social media and reward you for maintaining an active and engaging presence. Post friendly, relevant content that is designed to appeal to your core audience.
7. Consider affiliate marketing
If you’re building up your business, it’s quite likely you know someone who is not a competitor but has a similar target market to yours. Affiliate marketing is a win-win arrangement where you share each other’s content in order to reach a wider audience. On social media, this can involve offering the chance to win a prize of the affiliate’s products if people sign up for your newsletter.
8. Learn about SEO
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is about making your site and content appeal to search engines as much as possible. Engines like Google use algorithms to rank sites according to a whole host of factors. The finer details of SEO are complex, but there are basic steps you can take yourself to boost your ratings. Take the time to find out about elements like keywords, page formatting and alt text for images so you can maximise your content’s SEO value.
These simple marketing tips will help your business grow. Even the simplest changes can bring results. If you’re considering an investment in marketing or any other service to help develop your company, why not talk to us about your financial options?