No matter how your football team (I mean, your company) is doing this year, it’s not too soon to grab next year by the horns and make it great by following these eight marketing-related tips.
No. 1. Take the pulse of your customers. Conventional wisdom states that it costs five times as much to get a new customer as it does to retain one. Plenty of companies did great this year because they listened to their customers and asked, “What can we do better for you?” One way to solicit feedback is a basic customer service satisfaction survey. Try one of the simple and cost-effective tools out there – like SurveyMonkey or Google Customer Survey – to ask for candid reviews on your products, service and competitiveness. Ask about customer loyalty, how likely they are to recommend your company and when they’ll be back. Then make adjustments to your product offering, internal processes and customer relations based on feedback. By all means, make listening to the voice of your customer an ongoing commitment.
No. 2. Review your messaging. No doubt your business has changed over the past year – new products, new services, new people, new commitment to customer delight. And with those changes must come changes in your messaging. Start by reviewing the copy on your website. Then integrate the refreshed content across all your marketing and promotional efforts. Messaging should be current, benefits-oriented, results-focused and customer-centric.
No. 3. Budget for content generation. Marketing is going to rely increasingly on content generation. Content generation is essential for search engine ranking/optimization, building and retaining awareness and lending credibility to your company. While the end result is to build your brand and influence decision-making, the content you generate shouldn’t be self-serving. It needs to be informative, engaging, educational or thought-provoking. Stop thinking about blogging, social media content and article submission as a useless time suck and move some budget dollars around to effectively support content generation.
No. 4. Focus on quality link-building. SEO will drive a greater percentage of leads in the coming year for most businesses, so focus this year on building quality link-backs to your site. Links from sites related to your business that have high domain authority are very helpful. Link-backs from sites with a .org or .edu domain carry more weight, as well. This is where having a content generation strategy and a PR plan plays in well. If you write a article, pitch it to an industry blog or get it published on a well-respected site. When it links back to your website, that’s a good, quality link. Other bloggers may repost the article, creating a nice ripple effect.
No. 5. Experiment. The digital age has brought with it an incredible amount of analytics and measurement tools to enable you to test, refine and test some more before committing major resources to any one tactic, ad campaign, product offer or marketing channel. With Google, Bing and Yahoo advertising, you can test keywords, ad groups, ad copy, offers, landing page imagery and copy to focus in on what’s most effective. With Facebook advertising, you can zero in on a specific profile type and test to see how responsive prospects are to different calls to action or offers. Measure the effectiveness of pushing out a press release or white paper by looking at the impact it has on your website traffic. When you find something that works, up the investment.
No. 6. Think remarketing. Ever found yourself trolling the web one day and seeing an ad for a site you visited earlier – maybe even days or weeks before? Welcome to the age of digital remarketing. Done effectively, it can drive sales. Done improperly, it can backfire. The concept is quite simple: When a prospect visits your website, you can (legally) place a cookie on their browser so the computer remembers they visited your site. Then, by partnering with one of many ad networks out there, your ad can appear wherever this prospect goes on the web. My rule of thumb is don’t remarket to someone more than five times – otherwise, it can become downright creepy.
No. 7. Get mobile. Call up your website on a smart phone. If you are scrunching your eyes, trying to make the window bigger and scrolling side to side to read a line of copy, imagine the impact that experience has on a prospect. With the popularity of smartphones and to ensure a positive customer experience, you need responsive design – a modern technique for proper display on varying screen sizes and devices. In responsive design, elements of your site will automatically resize and reorganize depending how the site is accessed – desktop, smartphone or tablet.
No. 8. Don’t fall for it. Digital marketing in particular attracts scammers. Next year, commit yourself to seeing through this nonsense. If you get an email promising to get you to the first page of Google rapidly, run. If you get an unsolicited email saying they’ve analyzed your SEO efforts and they spend more time telling you what’s wrong than what makes them the right provider for you, hit delete. And if you get a series of letters in the mail asking you to pay for a Yellow Pages United ad that you never actually ordered, toss it and file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. (This Yellow Pages United is a particular peeve of mine because they are so persistent. See a recent blog post of mine, which ran previously in LVB.)
So as you gear up for the New Year, consider these tips as you plan for the next phase of your business, and make a resolution to build your business with a bit of integrated marketing.