Running a business is like cooking a perfect dish: All the right ingredients have to be laid out in the right order. You have to have a good product or service, an address (physical or virtual) where you operate, well-laid-out logistics, payment methodologies in place, etc.
But what about your marketing strategy? How do you get the right people to your doorstep? In an interconnected world flooded with brands and their content, how do you remain relevant?
It's no simple task. The race to relevance has to be fueled by a desire to succeed and, sometimes, reinvent or revisit the wheel.
Before we dive into this topic, I would like to narrow the scope to one particular vehicle: the smartphone. We can't even imagine being disconnected from our mobile devices in this day and age – which means that, as a business owner looking to build a successful brand, you can't afford not to leverage mobile as a communications and marketing platform.
Building up your basics
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with a startup. The brand lead was struggling to define the right digital marketing strategy to maximize visibility to her customers. I asked her a simple question: "Can you define who your customers are?" She said the company was looking to onboard customers who have no digital footprint, which was why she needed a sound digital marketing strategy to acquire them.
Next, I asked her, "In an Asian country with an internet penetration of around 18 to 20 percent, do you think it's a wise strategy to do a series of online campaigns to appeal to an offline customer?"
Fortunately, she re-evaluated her plans and decided to do a little more digging to build up her brand's basics. This will pan out into a much better marketing strategy, one based on facts and not just gut feeling – a strategy where going digital is a journey, not a destination.
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The business of content
A good marketing strategy is nothing without good content to back it up. If we talked about the biggest content company out there, you would imagine that to be Netflix, right? The company has revolutionized the streaming content industry and evolved how we consume entertainment.
Netflix is in the business of content, and it's doing amazing work. But it isn't the only model that relies on content. No brand can do well nowadays if it doesn't have the right content mix in its arsenal.
The point here is to write your story right. I've had the pleasure of working with firms that have launched region-first tech. We always made sure that the best-in-breed technology we launched had an even greater pitch. In the business of being the best, we always banked on a story that could grab consumers' and businesses' attention and help us make partnerships and inroads that mattered.
Now, a good story is only as good as the medium it employs to get the message across. Netflix amplified its brand story through its availability; choosing to be where its customers are has taken the brand global. But since our objective today is to explore the handheld medium and how mobile is prime real estate, let's take this story further.
The drive to mobile
When was the last time you sat down and watched television on cable? With the world moving toward much faster internet options and massive content services available across all devices, people are consuming content very differently.
The number of smartphone users in the world is expected to pass 5 billion by 2019. These staggering numbers showcase just how much potential these digital screens hold for businesses looking to connect with their current and future consumers.
However, not all mobile devices are smart or have access to an internet connection. To reach your market segment, you have to understand the mobile marketing medium that works for you right now.
Again, the idea is contextually relevant messaging. For instance, do you feel your audience would benefit from in-app advertising, social media banners or proximity-based mobile marketing alerts? You need to understand what you're selling and who you're selling it to. Sometimes the best way to connect with people is simple, tried and tested, and right in front of you.
Playing their turf
We have a plethora of tools and avenues to reach customers, including social media, search engine marketing, sponsored content and digital ads. Each one of these mediums offers its own benefit that helps marketers achieve their business goals.
Reach, being one of the most important goals in marketing, is highly stressed in discussion of any advertising medium, but it doesn't end there. Your communications shouldn't be a one-way street of product videos, funny ads and sale banners. The mix of channels you use to reach your audience has to create interactions that keep you top of mind and customers engaged.
When we talk about mobile, an often-overlooked medium is SMS (text message) marketing. Now, we've all heard that SMS marketing is old or doesn't work anymore, but it has the potential to really make the difference in reaching your audience.
Here are four reasons why SMS marketing can enhance your marketing campaigns, boosting results across the board:
1. Over 5 billion people in the world have access to a cell phone. That's a huge number of people to whom you can have a direct line.
2. Text messages have an open rate of 99 percent. Compare that with email, whose 20-30 percent open rate is considered great. In this regard, SMS blows everything else out of the water.
3. Of these messages, 90 percent are read within five seconds on average.
4. SMS also boasts a 45 percent response rate, significantly higher than email's 8 percent.
SMS marketing presents an effective opportunity to connect with your audience, make sure you've communicated your story properly, and engage the audience to reinforce your message.
With SMS marketing, businesses can boost these other channels for their brand:
- Website: A simple shortened link in a text message can increase your page visits. With modern tracking techniques, you can see how effective your SMS campaign is.
- In-store: Stores and retailers can really get the word out and attract additional footfall with SMS marketing.
- Email: A simple SMS campaign to remind consumers about your promotional newsletters can yield higher open rates and conversions for your email campaigns.
- Direct marketing: 1 in 5 email campaigns from commercial addresses end up in the junk folder, but SMS marketing offers the personal touch to engage customers directly if used properly.
Businesses that create a clear and relatable story around their brands, craft the necessary content, and use the proper channel mix to get it to their customers reach the top of the pile. The ecosystem you create for your brand needs the strong foundations of a relatable identity and effective communication channels.
In the end, business is understanding the gaps that exist between supply and demand. Craft a communication strategy that lets people see the relevance of your brand in their lives. Happy selling!