What’s the best marketing strategy to use?
There’s no one push-button marketing idea that will send a steady stream of customers to your door. Whether you sell products or services, you must use multiple marketing strategies to attract and keep customers.
The list below presents a variety of marketing strategies. Some are pretty basic, but very often it’s those all-important basic marketing strategies that businesses forget or ignore.
If you’ve been in business for a long time and haven’t changed your marketing methods over the years, pay particular attention to the strategies that involve the Internet and digital marketing. No matter how your existing customers found you, businesses and consumers today regularly turn to digital media to gather information about their needs and research service providers before deciding which service provider they’ll use. You want them to find your company.
1. What are your marketing goals?
Before you can choose the right marketing strategies for your business you need to consider what your goals are. Do you need to build brand awareness for your business? Be seen as an expert in your field? Are you adding a new service or product to what you already sell? Do you want to bring in more business at lunchtime or dinner time? Do you want to increase the order size (ie, sell 10 of something at once instead of 1)?
Different goals often require different strategies to achieve. For instance, if you are that bagel shop mentioned above and want to increase foot traffic and indivdual purchase at lunchtime, you might want to consider a text messaging strategy. But if tyou want to build up your catering business or sell bagels in bulk to nearby restaurants and stores, you’ll need to use a different strategy.
2.What Makes your products or service different?
To win customers, you’ll will need to distinguish yourself from the competition in some real or perceived way. How you do that is called a unique selling proposition (USP), and it is an important part of your overall marketing strategy. Lower cost, better quality, the hours of the day or evening that you’re open, years of experience and speed of service are just a few possible differences that could attract customers. To decide on your USP, start by looking for reviews for products and services like yours and noting comments left by reviewers to see what’s important to them. Next, list the features and benefits of what you sell, then make another list indicating what your customers are most interested in or pleased about. Summarize your notes in a sentence that let’s people know why they should choose your company over your competitors.
3. Who Is your target market?
Create a profile of your ideal customer. What type of person buys this service most frequently today? Why do they need and strongly desire this service? What is their job function? If it’s a consumer product, where do they live? How old are they? How much money to they earn? What other factors make them a likely customer? Where are they most likely to look for the service or hear about it? Who might they ask for a referral?
Once you answer those questions, ask yourself one more: “Where should I be networking or what should I be doing to make myself known to that potential customer or to people who give the prospect referrals.” After you’ve answered the questions, act on them.
4. What is the best time, place and format to reach your target market?
Once you have identified your target market, ask yourself where and when would that customer want to learn about the product and/or buy it. If you don’t know, ask potential customers how they discover and choose your type of product or service. Their answers can help you decide how much time and effort to put into social media, networking, getting referrals, content marketing and other tactics to bring in business. After you’ve answered the questions, act on them.
5. What does the customer want to buy?
Customers don’t necessarily want to buy what you want to sell. They don’t really want the service you perform. They want the solution to a problem or benefit your service provides. Think about it. A plumber’s customers aren’t really interested in plumbing. They want a leaky pipe fixed. A web developers’ customers don’t want a database or design. They want a website that will make them look good, get found in search engines, and help them get new customers. If you need help figuring out what your customers are really buying, ask them. You’ll get better results from your marketing by re-focusing on the solutions and benefits the customer wants to buy instead of the product you want to sell.
6. Make yourself a trusted resource to prospects and customers
People like to buy from people they know and trust. They also don’t like to have anything “sold” to them. Become a trusted resource to your prospects by providing information that will help them make a good choice.
7. Make yourself a resource for the media
Members of the press are always looking for authoritative sources to quote. Keep in touch with local media through online and offline network groups and subscribe to HARO to receive inquiries from media who are looking for interview subjects for stories.
8. Set up professional social media profiles
You need to have social media presences for yourself and your business on all the social media channels that are important (ie, used by) your customers. Among them: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube,Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram. Be sure each of your profiles is professional and has a link to your website. If you meet a prospect and they lose your business card, they might type your name into the search engine to try to find you. Having a profile on the biggest social media sites will allow them to find you and the link to your website.
9. Claim your place on Google Business and Bing Places for Business
Google Business listings and Bing Places for Business aren’t just for fast food establishments or retail stores. You can search for any type of service by location, and Google will show a list of companies that match the service you searched for in the location you specified. If you live in a big city, there’s no guarantee your places profile will show up on that first page listing. But having a profile gives you an edge.
10.Participate in social media discussions groups
Participating in the social media discussions that attract your target customers can be beneficial if your goal is to get known, gain credibility, or get seen as an expert. They can also help give you understand your customer better. Depending what you sell, look for topic-specific groups and/or location-based discussion groups. Set aside a few minutes a day to read the conversations. Listen to what people are asking about and what complaints they have about the type of goods you sell. This will give you insight into what people actually want to acquire (as opposed to features or products you want to sell.) Pay attention to the group dynamics and gradually start making informative comments or posting useful resources. If you don’t have time to do this, hire a freelancer or an employee help by scouting out conversations that you may want to participate in.