Once upon a time if you wanted to market a product the gold standard was advertising either on the TV, print or billboard ads. Basically, companies pushed their brands in front of the masses to generate awareness which would translate into sales. It's safe to say those days are gone. The number of products and services that are available for customers to choose from is astounding and it is upto businesses to get customers engaged and involved.
Now customers want personalized, one-on-one interactions with brands, and marketers are beginning to see how a targeted approach can stretch their marketing dollars further and generate leads faster. The article below takes you through several marketing strategies that have proven effective in dealing with these challenges.
Of course you need to fine tune them to suit your particular business but they willbe a good starting point to get your overall marketing plan in place.
Set up an online store
No matter what product or service you are offering it is vital that you have an online presence and even better that you give customers the option to buy online. The internet is the first place that customers go to when they are looking for a new product or service. Your own website should be the place where they get more information, where they can make enquiries and ideally where they can buy the product. Compared to a brick and mortar store an online store offers a number of advantages.
- Making savings in set-up and operational costs. You don't need to rent high street premises, pay shop assistants or answer a lot of pre-sales queries.
- Connect your sales with your digital marketing strategy: You can have all your social media, blogs and sale pages connected to your sales platform in order you can promote your products and services.
- Reducing order processing costs - Customer orders can automatically come straight into your orders database from the website.
- Changes can be made on the fly - Another added benefit of an e-commerce store compared with a physical store is the ease in which changes can be made. Take for example changing the price of a product; with an e-commerce store prices can be changed in the back end by simply changing the products’ price field.
- Manage your budget: You can set your budget based on the time, potential customers and your possibilities.
Expand Customer Reach - Reaching a global audience, thereby increasing sales opportunities.
Always available - Competing with larger businesses by being able to open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Increase brand awareness - Customers research online first, whether they buy online or in-store. Having an online presence helps makes sure that potential customers find your product information and are able to comparison shop.
Ease of transactions - Being able to receive payment more quickly from online transactions.
Edge over others - Attracting customers who would not normally have investigated your type of high street outlet.
Be Where Your Customers Are - The majority of consumers don’t just research products online. Most consumers are now buying online, too. Sell where your customers are. If most of your customers shop online, then you should be selling online! eCommerce allows you to meet the shopping expectations of your customers.
Power of data analytics - Improving your offerings using the data gathered by tracking customer purchases.
Promote your website through Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Once you have your website or online store up and running it is important to promote your website. There are anumber of different ways to do this but the most effective way is SEO. This basically means that when users are searching for a particular product or service on a search engine such as google your website should show up in the results. Obviously the higher up you are in the search results the more visitors you are going to get. And this usually translates into more sales. Search Engine Optimization offers the following advantages.
SEO pulls-in quality traffic : Since the user himself or herself has queried for a product or a service, when they visit your online store they are likely to be more interested in or more motivated to make a purchase. In comparison a person who clicks on an advertisement may only be exploring or may have been intrigued by the ad and is only satisfying his or her curiosity.
SEO traffic is more likely to convert : This pretty much flows from the first point. You have a visitor who is much more likely to make a purchase.
SEO increases sales and leads : If you are working continually to improve your search engine rankings it will definitely get you more leads and more sales in the long run.
SEO is affordable : SEO is more affordable than advertising to increase your conversions. SEO pricing typically ranges from $800-$2000 per month. However, the return is invaluable. Once you rank #1 on Google, your website will receive thousands of free hits to your website.
Apart from this
Top SEO rankings provides 24/7 promotion
SEO builds trust and credibility
SEO is a long-term strategy
SEO increases your brand awareness and equity
SEO receives 90% more clicks than PPC
SEO drives offline sales
SEO can give smaller businesses an edge on larger companies
SEO will increase your email newsletter subscriber
Influencers are those people who have a significant following on social mediaand are recognized as an expert or authority figure in their field. This could be a chef with a food blog, a website on parenting, a column on interior decoration or anything. What is important is that their opinions or recommendations carry weight with people. A smart way to market your product or service is to get someone like that to review your product or may be do a feature on you.
This is very different from advertising and many times more effective. The influencer has built up trust and credibility with his or her audience and when they recommend you people are much more likely to believe that what you offer has value. It is therefore of utmost importance to engage industry influencers and have a good relationship with them. There are a number of ways in which you can begin interactions with them.
- Send them a personalised gift
- Leave them a review on Amazon or iTunes (or give them a testimonial)
- Offer them your product for free to review
- Endorse them on LinkedIn
- Join their newsletter and respond to their questions
- Introduce them to someone (a potential customer, or a connection)
- Send them birthday wishes
Write for your audience – The best pieces of content are the ones directed at your key audiences. Understand your customer: know their pain points, what gets them psyched, and what keeps them up at night. Killer content address your audience’s needs and concerns!
Add a visual element to ALL your content pieces – People get bored with text really fast! To keep visitors reading, it’s essential to have images breaking up your text paragraphs. Don’t overlook the importance of a visual element, even in blog posts that are predominantly text-based. You can see some examples of highly visual business blogs here.
Infographics – We know readers love visual content, and infographics are a prime example of beloved, linkable visual assets.
Marketing is impossible without great content
Regardless of what type of marketing tactics you use, content marketing should be part of your process, not something separate. Quality content is part of all forms of marketing:
- Social Media Marketing: Content marketing strategy comes before your social media strategy.
- SEO: Search engines reward businesses that publish quality, consistent content.
- PR: Successful PR strategies address issues readers care about, not their business.
- PPC: For PPC to work, you need great content behind it.
- Inbound marketing: Content is key to driving inbound traffic and leads.
- Content Strategy: Content strategy is part of most content marketing strategies.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing refers to the process of gaining traffic or attention through social media sites. Social media itself is a catch-all term for sites that may provide radically different social actions. For instance, Twitter is a social site designed to let people share short messages or “updates” with others.
Benefits of social media marketing are:
Increase Brand Awareness
Improve Brand Loyalty
Stay Top of Mind With Your Customers
Boost Customer Engagement
Open & Fast Communication
Easy Way to Distribute Content
Make Content Go Viral
Increase Website Traffic
Network With Influencers
Content Spreads Organically
Launching your product / services with an innovative idea
10 steps of launching a new product or service
- Start early
- Make the product or service available to important influencers
- Brief industry analysts
- Seed the social space with “leaks.”
- Do something unusual
- Get partners involved. Channel and marketing partners who have a financial stake in the success of the launch are natural allies.
- Make it easy for people to learn more about your product with free trials, downloads, product videos, and demos.
- Ignore the elements of the launch that do not drive business.
Like Harman Kardon was launched in India with printed chocolates. Check out gifts for product launch!
Contests and sweepstakes are common promotional tools used by companies to attract customers to their company or product. A contest is slightly different from a sweepstakes in that it requires participants to complete some sort of challenge, such as a trivia question, or demonstrate talent or skill.
Why contest marketing should be a part of your marketing strategy:
- Contests are a great tool for building your fan base
- Contests enable you to engage your audience
- Contests are a rich source of data
- Contests empower consumers to do your marketing for you
Many people still swear by email marketing. But a mass-delivered message just doesn’t work for most companies — even if it’s delivered by email. One message can never resonate with a general audience.
- Email Marketing is Targeted
- Email Marketing Increases Brand Awareness
- Email Marketing is Easily Shareable
- Email Marketing is Measurable
- Email Marketing is Cost effective
Participate in Exhibition
There are exhibitions organised by various organising companies, where you can introduce your product / services to the targeted audience. Make sure you leave a long lasting impact to the people who visit you during the exhibition. A few ideas is to give them a super innovative brochure or give them a small gift so that they remember you even after the exhibition like logo printed chocolates.
Benefits of participating in an exhibition:
- Generate lucrative, highly targeted business leads
Learn what’s working (and what isn't)
Develop and strengthen your brand
Learn about new developments in your industry
Meet new companies that can help your business
Learn what your competitors are doing right
Speak directly to your target market
Urban living results in some unique marketing opportunities you won’t find elsewhere. They secret is, you need to think creatively to capitalize on these opportunities.
Picture source: http://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2014/06/12/marketing-ideas
Of course as with any other piece of advice you have to take these strategies and see how they would best suit and fit into your business. But when used judicially these techniques could make a huge difference to your business. They would ensure better visibilility both online and offline. They will help you to generate more enquiries and in turn more sales. They would also help you to establish your credentials in the market so that you become the number one preferred choice for cutomers!