The heart of your business success lies in its marketing. In today’s world, most aspects of your business depend on successful digital marketing campaigns. We can write and implement a marketing plan to help drive sales in your business.
Digital Marketing Articles
I often speak to groups of small business owners and I keep hearing the same comment over and over again with many of them saying that marketers don’t matter or marketing doesn’t matter anymore.
There are many reasons I’ve heard as to why marketing doesn’t matter: “all my business comes by referral,” “I never spent money on marketing and my business grew,” “marketing is a waste of money,” “I see no value in marketing,” “marketing is all luck so why spend money on it,” and so on.
Oh, how they are so very wrong! Below are the top 3 reasons why:
1. Their definition of marketing is wrong
When business owners tell me that marketing doesn’t matter, they usually have a totally different understanding of what marketing is than those who recognise how marketing contributes to business goals where it enables you to charge the most money you can for your services and products.
Marketing is first about spending time building a solid foundation based on strategy before proposing a series of tactics aimed at lifting sales. Until the business finds a way to change the context of how their ideal customer views what they do, and then becomes become the obvious choice provider, they’ll find that their marketing efforts never seem to build momentum or gain any return on investment.
You must be able to enter the conversation taking place in the head of your customers. Or, to look at it in a different way, to be able to address the number one question on your customer’s mind at exactly the right time.
So, how do you do this? The conversation that is taking place in every prospective customer’s mind revolves around two major points. There is a problem they have, and that they don’t want… and there is a result that they want, and they don’t have.
Those who often misunderstand marketing believe that it is only about advertising campaigns, brochures, flyers, website, email marketing, SEO, trade shows, social media, copy, etc. These are the tactics – the way you implement your marketing. I’d argue that marketing is essentially the core of business strategy because it is about understanding the current customer, tapping into their fears, their goals and their aspirations and then creating products and services that the ideal customer is willing to buy from a brand they now they know, like and trust.
2. They believe either they or their co-worker can do it
Sometimes in the “do it all yourself” world of small business (or even big business when it comes to it), it’s difficult to identify the areas that require outside help. A business may be able to set up their newsletter, add plugins to WordPress, write a Facebook or LinkedIn post, and clumsily create header graphics, but you need somebody who is trained, practised, and skilled at looking strategically and holistically at the marketplace, understanding the customer, and then creating unique opportunities based on this understanding.
Just think about it for a minute; just because you have a calculator and excel does that mean you are an accountant? If you have a ruler, pencil and have watched some episodes of Grand Designs – does that make you an architect? If you post regularly to your friends on Facebook and Instagram – does that mean you are a social media expert?
So why do small businesses believe that by buying a Mac and some software they will become a designer, marketer and communications expert?
It needs to be led by a strategic marketer who can then develop an integrated marketing approach. Can you or your co-worker do this? In some cases, you can. But those who can are most likely to either come from marketing or consulting backgrounds where they have transferable skills and experience defining AND delivering against a growth strategy.
If you are a small business, you need somebody who will have a very solid, process, streamlined, consistent, repeatable approach. First, they will research and learn about your company in great depth, the dynamics of the marketplace and identify shifts, trends, and changes. From there, the strategic marketer will be able to present the different elements of your marketing plan in logical order of how you should construct them, update them, or revise them; and identify the key areas you should be focusing on – be it generating leads, converting leads, increasing transactions right down to changing prices.
3. They hire the wrong marketing help
There is a huge misunderstanding around marketing strategy, marketing tactics, and marketing execution.
There is a difference between being strategically capable, creatively capable and executionally capable.
Small business owners don’t hire a strategic marketing coach/firm to develop creative graphics and headers; nor should you hire an advertising/graphic design agency to handle marketing strategy. A small business doesn’t need to hire a consultant or a firm who is a strong marketing executor when their biggest need is a strategy for sustainable growth. You may get more attention, but not the best results.
How to improve your Email marketing
Many small businesses use email marketing as it is a popular and cost effective way for small business owners to consistently engage with past, current and prospective customers. If done well, it can be quite effective. If you already engage in email marketing, here are some tips to help you improve your results and work towards achieving email marketing success. If you haven’t tried it yet, keep this information in mind to help guide you through the process.
Whether you are trying to increase click through rates (CTR) to your website or ecommerce store, increase your email open rates or boost the number of times an email is shared, there are some things to keep in mind to help you improve your approach.
Tips for Email marketing success
Deliver one clear message. Have a single focus. For instance, focus on one topic and avoid ambiguity in your email content. Having too many focuses or too much information often gets ignored and is not as effective in grabbing people’s attention.
Small Business tips for better email marketing
- Share a clear reason why subscribers should click your ‘call to action’ for instance, click on your or ‘web link’, or ‘subscribe’, or click your ‘buy now’ button.
- Don’t make your emails too long, as most people just scan for key pieces of information.
- Cut out words that may trigger spam filters, particularly in the subject line, such as, ‘free’, or ‘you are a winner’ etc. Avoid overusing exclamation marks.
- Be consistent, establish a set time and day to deliver your emails. It could be weekly, monthly, quarterly or whatever time you think works best for your audience. Try and schedule your emails so that you are consistent.
- Make your emails mobile responsive. This is such a popular medium for readers nowadays. Make sure you are not missing opportunities by not investing in making your content mobile friendly.
- Keep subject lines short and communicate something of value.
- Ensure your target audience can still read your e-mail without having to download graphics.
- Keep your copy simple and professional and focus on the benefits to the customer.
- Make sure it is easy for people to unsubscribe (opt out) of receiving your emails.
- Segment your email lists so that your messages are more relevant and targeted to your specific clients. For example, if you have a sale on women’s cosmetics, it is less effective sending a blanket email to your entire list. If you segment your list to females within a certain age range, then your email will be more effective. You can also segment by geographic region, or job title, or by buyer behaviour, depending on the sort of data that you capture about your customers.
- Track response rates and metrics from email campaigns so you that you can obtain insights into buyer behaviour and refine campaigns.
- Add links to your images, so that readers can click through to your website or store via images.
- Add social sharing buttons like Facebook. LinkedIn and Twitter to promote social sharing.
Finally make sure you preview and test your emails before sending. Do all of the links and buttons work correctly? Have email addresses and web addresses been spelt correctly? What about phone numbers? Consider split testing your emails to determine which one will perform best. Finally ensure that everything is in order before sending.Don’t forget to track your results so that you can measure the impact of your efforts. If you need any assistance with your email marketing or any other marketing services find a marketing consultant that can help point you in the right direction and get you started.
Effie Cinanni is Founder and Director of Small Chilli Marketing, a Melbourne based consulting firm specialising in marketing and communications for small business. She is an Associate Member of the Australian Marketing Institute and a Certified Practising Marketer (CPM). She has experience across a range of industries including; IT & software, allied health, children’s services, real estate and professional services. Effie is degree qualified in Marketing & Finance and has worked in marketing and business consulting roles for over for 15 years. Her experience encompasses all facets of marketing, including strategy, planning, digital, communications, branding, event management and online.