It’s a simple question: What is marketing?
The answer, however, isn’t always so obvious. Most business owners I speak to have a very different idea of what marketing really is. For some, it’s simply advertising (in print or online). For others, it’s Social Media, PR or even just ‘word of mouth’.
Everyone’s got a different idea of what marketing means and how they best market their business. Here’s how I put it.
“Marketing is everything you do to GAIN and RETAIN customers.”
So, when I think of marketing, I think of it as a lot more than just running ads or posting on your Facebook page. If you’ve watched some of my videos or visited my marketing blog before, you would have probably already heard me talk about the 3 pillars of business success.
In this blog post, I will give you a list of marketing strategies you can do within each of these pillars to grow your business and increase sales.
Attraction – How to attract more potential customers
Attracting new customers is a crucial element of any business and one that many business owners struggle with. Here are some ways that will help you attract new potential customers continuously. You should be using a combination of these things in your business.
1. Have a great website
Seems obvious, right? The truth is though that many businesses don’t utilise their website enough. In most cases, it’s an online brochure that merely talks about them, when your website can be so much more (here are some examples). There are certain elements every business website needs in order to convert visitors into leads and actual buyers. You can find a checklist of these 17 crucial elements here.
2. Be on Social Media
Again, this seems like an obvious one, however, many business owners don’t explore social media to it’s full potential. When I say be on social, I don’t just mean go create an account for your business on Facebook and Instagram. You need to be active and use these platforms to drive potential customers away from social and back to your website (where you are not competing with cat videos).
The problem with social media is that, if done well, it can be incredibly time-consuming. The answer to this problem is automation. Luckily, these days we have the tools and technology to allow for a hands-off social media strategy that allows us to post as often as we choose to on autopilot. Here’s a complete guide to automating your social media posts so you never have to worry about what to post ever again.
Social media is an incredibly powerful tool when it comes to engaging with your customers. Don’t dismiss it and use it to your advantage.
3. Run print ads
Even though I’m a digital marketer, I still believe print ads have their place. But it depends on your business, the audience you are trying to attract and what print media you have available in your particular market. The key to making advertising work is to track your success. The key to making advertising work is to track your success. Yes, I just said that twice.
Don’t just have your logo and a little blurb printed in a generic magazine or newspaper. Make sure you have a clear call-to-action (CTA) for readers to follow. Coupons work great in most cases, as they will allow you to track the success of your ads and calculate the exact return on investment.
Know your numbers:
- How much does the ad cost you?
- How many leads (i.e. coupons) did you receive as a result?
- How many of these leads actually purchased?
- What was the total revenue generated from the ad?
Say you invest in an ad that costs you $300. Your ad results in 100 enquiries, meaning your cost per lead is $3. If out of these 100 enquiries, 3 people end up buying (3% conversion rate) with a value of $200 per transaction, you generated total sales of $600. That’s a 100% return on your investment.
These numbers will, of course, vary depending on the type of business you’re in. In most cases, even if you just break even, it’s still worth advertising, as you will be building your list of potential buyers, which is the biggest asset in any business.
4. Run online ads (Google, Facebook, YouTube)
Even though online ads are very similar to print ads, I like to list them separately. The great thing about online ads is that you can be so much more specific with your targeting and only put your ad in front of people that are highly relevant. This will help you reduce ad costs and increase your conversion rates.
Say, you own a beauty business in Sydney and decide to invest in a print ad in a Sydney newspaper. Now you are paying for the number of readers the paper tells you they reach. However, out of everyone who buys the paper, only a very small fraction of readers are actually based in your area. Out of the people in your area, only a fraction are actually potential customers (not everyone needs a beautician). And out of those potential customers, only a fraction will actually notice your ad and even less will take you up on whatever offer you presented them with.
In comparison, a Facebook ad will allow you to run a much more targeted campaign. Going with the above example of a beauty business, you could choose to only put your ad in front of women between the ages of 30-50, who live in your local area and also have shown an interest in beauty businesses. Even though your audience is now much smaller, it is also a lot more targeted, meaning you will reduce your ad costs significantly and increase your conversion rates.
Again, print and online ads can both be great ways to attract new customers. The important thing is that you track your success and never invest in advertising that can’t be measured. Oh, and did I mention, never invest in advertising that can’t be measured? (you may want to write this one down)
5. Partner with other businesses
Business partnerships are one of the fastest ways to grow your business and are heavily under-utilised. It’s important to understand though that not all business partnerships are great ones or even worth your time. Try to only focus on businesses that will have a significant impact in your marketing.
I recently helped two of my clients, based in the same city, partner up and create a little joint venture. One is a local café with a huge customer database of over 10,000 people; the other is a massage business who had only started out a year earlier. Most massage business owners would go around putting flyers in local cafes and other places, which is incredibly time-consuming and will get you little or no results.
But instead, we wanted to leverage the huge database of people the cafe already had, so we sat down with the owner and explained that we would like to send a complimentary $25 massage voucher to every single customer on their list. And to put the focus on them, we wanted to make it look like it’s coming from them as a gift to their customers. They look good for spoiling their customers and the owner of the massage place was putting her business right under the nose of 10,000 locals.
All we had to do was write one email that went out to 10,000 people. And to take things even further, we even made this email a part of the café’s automated email marketing. That means that the gift card won’t just go out to everyone on the list at the time, but every future customer, too!
As a business owner, make sure you value your time and only focus on marketing strategies that have the biggest impact on your bottom line. Business partnerships are one of the best forms of leveraging your time and resources.
6. Write a blog
Ok, this one probably sounds boring to most business owners and you may not see the value in doing it. Let me try to change the way you look at blogging.
As business owners, we have conversations with customers daily. They ask us questions about our products and services, they voice their worries, hopes and fears. They want to feel heard and we want to show them that we know our stuff. A blog allows you to do all of that at the same time and in a much more leveraged way.
Use short articles to answer your customers’ burning questions, help them to understand what you do and how it will help them in their own life or business. Even with just one good article, you can attract plenty of traffic by sharing it on social media, on other websites, in your email marketing, and even in your ads. Everywhere!
Your customers are already looking for the information they need online, so you might as well be the one giving it to them and position yourself as the expert in your industry.
I like to compare blogging to renting vs. owning real estate. You can pay for traffic each month (renting) or you can provide value on your website that people come back for (owning real estate). Every article you put on your website becomes a timeless asset you can use to generate traffic for years to come.
Tip: Hire a writer to help you come up with and write 12 quality articles to put on your website. Then share these articles on social media each month and link to them in your email marketing. You’ll see your traffic increase significantly (and improve your search engine rankings as a result)!
7. Optimise your website for search engines like Google & Bing (SEO)
Despite what many business owners think, SEO (search engine optimisation) is not dead. Search engines just have gotten a whole lot smarter!
SEO is no longer just about having a bunch of keywords on your website that your customers are searching for. These days, search engines like Google scan your website for a lot more, such as readability, quality of content, how long visitors spend on your site, which pages are shared frquently on social media, the list goes on.
So, how do you take care of all this yourself? Simple. Focus on quality content on your site that people actually want to read, watch and share. That’s why the previous point (blog posts) is so important. Engaging videos are also a great way to connect with your visitors and keep them on your site longer.
8. Run a competition or give-away
Giveaways are a great way to reach new potential customers, and they are a lot cheaper to run than other forms of marketing.
The idea of a give-away is to ask people to enter their details for a chance to win a prize. This is a fast way to build a list. You want to make sure that the prize actually attracts potential customers and not those who are just in for the freebies and who were never going to buy from you.
I see many business owners make the mistake to give away an iPad or similar as a prize. That’s way too generic. Anyone who wants an iPad will enter, which is not what we want. You want to use your give-away specific to your product or service in order to attract the right kind of people.
If you are an accountant who focuses on Xero, for example, don’t give away a free Netflix subscription. Instead, consider the prize to be a free Xero Setup and Consultation to streamline your accounting (valued at $495). That way you are only attracting business owners who would actually be a good fit.
The mistake I see many business owners make ist that they run the giveaway simply for the engagement. But engagement doesn’t equal sales. The whole purpose of a marketing activity like this, especially if you invest the time to set it up properly, is to build a list of qualified leads that you can reach out to afterwards. So don’t stop at the giveaway – think about the offer you can send to all those who entered but didn’t win. This is where you really turn your giveaway into profit.
9. Run a survey or quiz
A quiz or survey is another great way to build a list fast and gain valuable insights about the needs of our customers. You’ll want to come up with a set of questions that helps you improve your product or service and identify what may be missing.
If you don’t have an audience at the moment that you can send your survey too, consider partnering with a business that shares your target market and could also benefit from the data generated. You could incentives the survey, which may help to increase responses but could also result in lower quality leads and dishonest answers from people who just took the survey for the prize.
If you would like to learn more about how to use surveys effectively, I highly recommend reading the book ASK by Ryan Levesque. You can download a free copy here.
10. Send a press release to media outlets
A press release can get you lots of free publicity in major newspapers, magazines and news websites. Once you discover this magical strategy, you’ll never want to pay for print advertising again! How much would a full-page article in a major newspaper be worth you you? Exactly? And it’s so much more powerful and memorable than any ad you paid hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars for.
The key is to have a good story that journalists can pick up and elaborate on. Before you write a press release about a new product you launched or a sale you have going, put yourself in the shoes of a journalist. What would their readers want to read about? Tell stories that are not directly about you, but in which you or your business play a role somehow.
Which story would you rather read?
- Local roofing company launches new website and is open for business
- Local roofer helps homeless have a roof over their head for Christmas by handing out free tents
There is no way a journalist would pick up the first headline. Because, frankly, nobody cares. The second story is something they can actually work with. Be strategic about the story you want to tell. The first rule of writing a press release is to NEVER SELL your business or products. Focus on helping the journalists to find the story they are so desperately looking for to hit their quota of articles they need to write each week.
Download my free press release template here to have your press release written in no time.
Conversion – How to turn browsers into buyers
11. Create a lead magnet
12. Use email automation to educate and engage with your audience
13. Use a chatbot to help people find what they are looking for faster
14. Create a strong offer people can’t refuse
15. Run retargeting ads
16. Find a way to help more people (when you do that, you will naturally sell more)
17. Run limited time only offers
18. Be easy to do business with (I had to add this one)
19. Get to know your customers better and understand exactly what they REALLY need/want/don’t want
20. Make sure your website has all the right elements (just a page online won’t cut it)
Delivery – Ways to grow your business during and after the sale
21. Provide great customer service
22. Ensure people only buy something they actually need
23. Offer good quality products and services (you want people to rave about it, not complain about it)
24. Overdeliver and exceed your customers expectations buy offering something extra
25. Follow-up with your customers after the sale to see how they are going
26. Invite customers to leave positive reviews on Facebook, Google, TripAdvisor etc.
27. Add customer testimonials to your website
28. Send a thank-you note after the sale
29. Offer up-sells and cross-sells
30. Consider offering a subscription/membership type product
This list is far from complete and you could certainly write a book about each point. But I hope that it will spark some ideas for what you can focus on in your business to grow and take it to the next level.
The biggest challenge most business owners face is finding the time to do marketing well. I can say from experience that this is only possible when automating the majority of your marketing processes. To help you do that, I have created a free step-by-step guide on how to completely automate your Social Media posts, as this is often one aspect my clients struggle with the most.
To your success,