What's the best way to determine which marketing efforts are best for my business?
My family has been involved in small businesses for over 4 decades. These businesses have all been local small businesses. Now I am working on an online business and need to explore very different marketing efforts. What is the best way to learn about which marketing efforts are most appropriate for my business. I will probably hire someone down the road, but I want to first understand my options - social media, PR, SEO, advertising, etc. Thank you.
Online marketing is a best option unless it is natural or organic way of marketing. But it do takes a time reaching right audience so take it as a secondary source of marketing. Don't rush and get stuck in traffic because the chances are there to spoil the reputation as you get reached to useless customers. Social media is good one but be natural and don't go for paid one. You require lot of analytical way reaching targeted audience to grow your business. Be unique and target focused. Don't overload your business online because quality matters not quantity.
I wish you good luck for your Business.
The question is a bit broad. Given you did not specify: Clients, Business Model, Budget, or timeframe I think that the best advice would be: go and enroll yourself in a marketing course of a university, on-line or offline, or of a business school. even the most modest and lower ranked will have a course where you can get a good summary about on-line marketing. - It's their job - . Unfortunatelly I cannot recommend one in USA. But in case you want to spend some good time in Italy you may have a look at SDA Bocconi University, in Milan. And if your on-line business is about fashion, you would be in the right spot.
Start by identifying your top competition and analyzing where they place their marketing dollars and what they are doing well. This will help provide some initial guidance without the need to completely reinvent the wheel.
You may already have a good idea of your top competitors, but you can do a quick search on Google to see which competitors are ranking well for popular keywords within your industry.
After identifying the top competition, you can begin analyzing where they are having the most impact online. There a number a number of tools that can help you analyze:
A good post on some tools for competitive research (many will offer free trials):
After a review of the competition, you will need to start investing and testing.
Paid Search is typically a good starting point as it can provide a lot of great data to help guide you in other online marketing avenues. Which keywords convert best? Is my website or landing pages converting the traffic driven from paid channels? This can include social paid channels (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterestt, etc.) as well as the more common major search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing).
But don't just settle on duplicating the competition.
As you research the competition, try and identify where they are not investing much effort or resources.
Does the competition have an engaging website?
PPC and Landing Pages: You may notice that your competition has weak value propositions or poor user experience on their website . This can be an opportunity to better engage visitors to your site. Especially if consumers are prone to compare and research your products or services.
Does your competition have a strong link profile (SEO)?
If the competition is ranking well but has limited backlinks and a sub-par website, then you have a great opportunity to overtake them with some dedicated SEO work.
Here is a good guide to get you started in SEO:
Continue to identify where your competition may be weak through your research and implement a plan to overtake them.
There are many other strategies that will come into play as the need to optimize and test is a never-ending process. But by researching the competition, you will have some advantage of what is already working for them.
You ask a good question and my colleagues have offered up good answers. This is an area best left to professionals. It is important that the approach be tailored to our business, Customers and how your customers access information. We live in a time where information comes at people from a Wide Variety of Directions, and it is important to Tailor Marketing Efforts to your Audience
The first try is always a guess work so it is dangerous to assume that oen option will work better for you than the other one without any data to support that assumption. One of the great things about online marketing is that the efforts are easy to track and measure. Install web analytics in your website (common is Google Analytics) and configure it to help track conversions (sales, subscriptions, button clicks, etc) coming from different channels (email marketing, social media marketing, pay-per click ads, affiliate marketing, video marketing, etc.). Gather one or two months of data from your analytics and use it as a benchmark data and then basing on that, you will see which channel works better for you and which channel needs more aggressive approach.
When it boils down to it, marketing for business is about getting leads to sales. That's the only measurement that counts. If it's not completing this function, then sales slow down which is the lifeblood of the company. That's the function of marketing.
To look at the next step, it's important to figure out where you are in your business.
Just starting out
Lead Generation to increase initial sales and build a stronger budget. This is where I'd recommend SEM - paid traffic to your site. The function is two-fold. Test if your site is converting, and drive enough traffic to actually test. This doesn't have to be "expensive" per se and you can test with smaller budgets while growing your lead base.
Now that you've got some traffic and conversion, it's time to expand the reach and start going after SEO terms so people find you organically. Social media is used to continue to conversation and stay top of mind.
With the data you gathered from the first two steps, you know what works and doesn't so it's time for structured media buys and really hitting the bigger channels.
Each step takes over a different portion and phase of the business, and each step naturally takes a bigger badder budget to swing it properly. This is of course a very simplified answer and everyone has different customizations required for their business. There are also "free" methods that just require investment of time and energy vs. capital if that's something of interest to you in the beginning. Depending on your skills and available resources, I'd also look at public speaking, creating training classes in your niche that help serve your market, among other methods to really get your business seen.
Best of luck in your endeavours!
That is great to read you have had success as a family on the local business side.
I run a marketing agency here in Toronto and am fortunate enough to have local businesses like, dry cleaners, restaurants, hair salons, massage clinics...etc. all asking the same question "how do I marketing with all the new technologies out there. Social media marketing, digital marketing, SEO, paid ads on multiple social sites now. Where do I start?"
First here is what I tell people
You have to know these areas inside and out before you even think about going online:
Through this process of checking each of these off you will learn who are your competitors in your space, what are they doing to market their business, product and/or service.
Next you will learn how are mentors in your space that are doing the same thing you are. For example Gary Vaynerchuk is a great research, another great podcast to add to your list is "Social Media Marketing with Mihcael Stelzner"
I know you mention you want to learn which is great and there are so many great resources. Just take your time, do it slow, don't start purchasing course after course trying to learn. Lynda.com, Youtube are great resources to get a lot of great information. I say this because to many business owners spend to much money trying to become experts on online marketing to see no return on their investment because they are constantly educating themselves and are implementing strategies all over the place. Facebook Ads, Google Ad words, articles, video's...etc. Then they get frustrated and say online marketing doesn't work. Which isn't the case majority of times.
Test to measurable results - You have to plan one campaign, run it for a specific amount of time. 90 days, 6 months...etc. analyse the results and see if it worked. If you received some results it might need to be modified, could be the time of the year or good be something was going on at the same time you ran the campaign. There are multiple factors.
Online marketing can be fun, just make sure you take it slow, have a clear plan and test it out.
Best of luck
Social Media - Social media is BIG and only getting bigger. If you are not marketing on it, you are likely missing a large chunk of your target consumers. 93% of marketers use social media to promote their business.
I think you want to use the term promotion rather than marketing. But let's look at both. There are many areas to look at, review and plan under Marketing as pricing, product mix, planning, presentation, partners and alliances, passion, distribution, segmentation and targeting under "People," plus promotion.
Promotion has many options within the eight components or parts including advertising, interactive/social/websites, personal selling, events and experiences, PR, sales promotion, direct and collateral.
You can find a lot and the Nine P's document at http://www.londremarketing.com/documents/LondreMarketingConsulting-NinePs.pdf
I would really look at your website to be sure it's mobile compatible. Hope this helps. All the best.
The first step would be to determine your specific target market. You cannot go after every market all art once.
Next determine your ideal client and where they hang out online and where they get their information to buy. You also need to learn their big problem and what triggers them to fix it.
Then draft a marketing message using the conversion equation of Interrupt, engage, educate and offer. This message needs to hit their hot buttons and say how your product or service solves their problem and also tell them the results the prospect can expect.
Then post the message where they hang out and also use your email list to get it out to them directly.
Hi Brett, the short answer as far as marketing your online business through online channels goes is to go where your target audience spends its time online.
So choose those social media platforms where your audience hangs out. If you're offering a B2B product or service, LinkedIn could be a good fit (as well as other online communities that are relevant to your industry). If you're into B2C, then check out the conversations and activities happening on facebook, twitter, youtube, pinterest and instagram. Not every one of these platforms may be suitable for your business and that's just fine. Plus check out the popular niche online communities that are relevant.
At the beginning, assuming you have the budget available and subject to ROI projections, I would also test various paid digital media channels like paid search, properly opted-in and targeted rental of email lists, programmatic buying of banner advertisements, paid social media, etc. to supplement your efforts in earned/owned media.
SEO is important but depending on how competitive your niche is, it may take quite a long time before you start seeing enough traffic come to your online business through search results. That's why at the beginning, I would supplement it with paid search (assuming the ROI estimates look good).
Inbound marketing using content marketing strategies through earned, owned and paid channels can deliver excellent results. Check out the hubspot.com blog for tons of free and useful articles, videos, guides, ebooks and more about content-driven inbound marketing.
Another important aspect is to develop personas about your ideal types of customer (Hubspot has an excellent free powerpoint template that makes this process easy). Then develop your online marketing plans to ensure you reach each of these personas where they "live" online with content and offers that speak to their particular needs/wants/fears/desires.
Also consider joint venture or reseller partnerships with those who serve the same audience(s) that you do and who offer non-competing but complimentary products/services to yours. Also look at affiliate marketing.
Lynda.com has some fantastic courses on marketing, social media, SEO etc.
So your background is in local small business and you're now getting into online marketing?
I'd check out the I Love Marketing podcast with Joe Polish and Dean Jackson. Grab a copy of Jeff Walker's book Launch. As well as Russel Brunson's Dot Com Secrets and Robert Coorey's Feed a Starving Crowd. Check out some of Frank Kerns stuff. Also start following Gary Vaynerchuck.
A nice way to start is to get on these people's lists so you start receiving their marketing emails and seeing their videos. Just keep in mind you're looking for what works, not to buy everything they offer ;)
From there, you can start looking for some more industry specific stuff or how you can tie together what's working from other industries with yours.
What do you think?
I have found it greatly beneficial to try out some Guerrilla tactics. They have worked well for me. Have you read this awesome book?