024: 5 Insanely Simple Questions to Boost Your Marketing

024: 5 Insanely Simple Questions to Boost Your Marketing

Show Notes

[00:00:39] Whether you’re operating a small business with just a few employees or you’re a freelancer or solopreneur, your ability to effectively market your products and services to your customers is vital. And, to effectively market your products and services, you first must get back to the basics and align your marketing goals with your business strategy.

[00:01:01] Once you have accomplished this, your next step is to develop a well-thought-out strategy to convey the right messages, deliver them on the right channels, and monitor your metrics to achieve your marketing goals.  You may be wondering how do I do that?

[00:01:19] Well, you start by asking yourself these five insanely simple but crucial marketing questions. You answer them from your target customer’s perspective. I want to say that again. You answer the questions based on how your target customers would answer the questions, not how you feel they should answer the questions.

[00:01:44] So that’s going to require that you do some research, talking with your current customers, as well as your ideal customers to get a better understanding of their perspective and their behaviors when they’re trying to identify products and services that you sell.

[00:02:02] Now, the first question is what primary challenge does your product and service solve or opportunity does it create for your customers?

[00:02:14] I know this is an obvious question, but it’s one that most small business owners, solopreneurs and freelancers often overlook when developing their marketing strategies, their messages, as well as their campaigns. This is an extremely powerful consideration for your marketing efforts and provides tremendous insights for your marketing communications.

[00:02:38] Again, we’re going to answer this from your customer’s perspective, not how you feel they should answer the question.  As you prepare for your next marketing campaign, you should really think about the reason you developed the product or service for your specific target customers. And the benefits of your particular product or service provides for them?

[00:03:03] While many business owners can clearly articulate their personal reasons for starting their businesses, including wanting to be their own boss or finding more satisfaction in their personal life or even creating wealth, oftentimes, they find it challenging to express why their business helps their customers. Whether your new product or service disrupted the marketplace, or you provide a product or service in a well-defined and mature market, focusing on why your business provides value to your customers is a major component of successful brand and marketing strategies.

[00:04:01] The second question to ask is what unique experience do you provide for your customers? Now, I know this is extraordinarily difficult because a lot of business owners feel that they’re not doing anything unique. They’re providing good customer service. They’re providing a quality product or service and that’s the end of the story.  Actually, that’s where your story begins. Every business is unique.

[00:04:35] The experiences that you create for your customers are unique. And while your products or services may already exist in the marketplace, how you deliver them and how you care for your customers is unique. No two businesses do it the same. And therein lies the opportunity for you to begin differentiating your products and services in the marketplace. But to do that, you absolutely have  to drill down to what is unique about how you deliver your products and services for your customers.  Then, you need to make sure that your brand is reflective of those unique characteristics that you provide, whether its exceptional customer service, value added opportunities for your customers.

[00:05:31] I’d like to take a few minutes to talk about why your brand is so crucially important to your marketing efforts. Strong brands convey the value that you provide to your customers and the promise that you make to them. It’s extremely important to know that your brand is built from the inside-out and that there are absolutely no shortcuts to creating a positive, recognizable and profitable brand.

[00:06:28] Here’s why you’re a small business brand is so important to your marketing efforts. Without a consistent, proactive and purposeful brand strategy. You are diffusing your ability to successfully position yourself in the marketplace and confusing your customers. You’re essentially adding additional complexity and unnecessary time to your sales cycle and you’re reducing your ability to cross sale and up sale your customers. But by far, most importantly, without a strong brand strategy, you are significantly weakening your value proposition, diminishing your ability to command premium pricing and  creating more of a challenge for your marketing messages to resonate with your target customer base.

[00:07:24]  If you would like more information on this topic, check out podcast number one, Branding Matters: Unlock Competitive Advantages for Faster Growth. 

[00:08:19] The third question to ask is when your ideal customer is searching for your product or service what search terms will they use? You can exponentially strengthen your marketing and increase your visibility by thinking like your current and potential customers and use the search terms and keywords they will actually use when searching for your product or service in your marketing efforts.

[00:08:49] This immediately will help you begin the process of connecting with your customers. It will make you more discoverable, and it will also  increase the opportunity of your ability to resonate your messages with them and to get them to explore what you have to offer.

[00:09:10] You really do want to be strategic in understanding how your customers would search for you online. What search terms your customers will use when describing or looking for your product or service, and that should be absolutely essential part of your marketing messages as well as your campaigns.

[00:09:33] The fourth question is where are your customers most likely to search for your product or service?

[00:09:39] Your marketing efforts absolutely should align with your customers’ behavior. You show up where they are, not where you would like them to be. You want to determine where your target customers will most likely search for your product or service and will be the most receptive to your marketing campaigns.  If you want to increase your ability to connect with your target audiences and customer base, you absolutely should pay attention to where your customers are most likely to actually search for your product or service  and will be most receptive to receiving information regarding your product and service. That’s where you should spend your efforts with respect to marketing.

[00:10:27] For example, if you’re a B2B, business-to-business, and the majority of your products and services are geared toward other business owners or companies, LinkedIn provides a really good opportunity for you to  connect with decision makers in various industries who might be interested in your products and services. LinkedIn is a professional network that is a great place for you to invest some effort and time building relationships, doing research about the industry, joining industry groups.

[00:11:04] There are a lot of different ways that you can engage and start to build relationships and build your visibility within your particular industry segment. If you’re more of a business-to-consumer or B2C business. Then, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, those are awesome locations for you to directly engage with a more consumer-based audience. Wherever, your audience is most likely to show up and be receptive is where you want to be. 

[00:11:40] And the fifth and final question to ask. If you’re a prospective or current customer isn’t ready to purchase your product or service, what is the next action you’d like them to take in your marketing funnel? 

[00:11:52] When your prospective customers or clients are not yet ready to purchase, offer opportunities for them to engage with your brand by signing up for your communications, connecting with you on social media or other actions to discover your products and services.   Ultimately you want to begin a relationship with them so that they become more familiar with your offerings and your brand. They’re going to be more inclined to consider you when they are ready to make the purchase.

[00:12:23] It’s really imperative that you have the ability to directly communicate with them. So, finding ways to gather their email addresses, to provide some education or information that is helpful to them. Things that will keep your brand top of mind and help them begin to develop that relationship with you is critically important.

[00:13:18] If you use these five insanely simple questions to guide your marketing efforts, remembering that you’re going to answer these questions from your perspective or current clients perspective, not how you think they should answer the questions, you will absolutely increase your success and create opportunities to secure more leads and more importantly sales. 

[00:13:43] Remember your brand also is a valuable asset, no matter how large or small your company. Proactively and consistently managing your company’s brand. Provides unmatched opportunities to improve your marketing results. Increase your market share. Attract purchase ready customers. And retain your top customers. It is vital to the long-term profitability of your small business.

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023: 10 Knucklehead Marketing Mistakes to Avoid for Better Results

023: 10 Knucklehead Marketing Mistakes to Avoid for Better Results

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Show Notes

Welcome to this episode of Ensightium podcast. Today, we will discuss the 10 Knucklehead Marketing Mistakes to Avoid for Better Results. I’m delighted you joined me today. This is by far one of my favorite topics to discuss, because it has so much potential to help small business owners, solopreneurs, and freelancers improve your marketing results and strengthen the growth and health of your company.

[00:00:28] So let’s get right to it. The number one mistake to avoid is believing that if you sell it, they will buy it. Many business owners believe that marketing is more of an expense rather than a strategic investment to help them attract their ideal customers and expand their businesses. If you are not actively engaging in marketing from a strategic perspective, you’re missing a huge opportunity to build a strong, healthy company and also to expand and grow it as well. Now, I know if you’ve recently launched or whether you’re even a veteran when it comes to business ownership, there are not enough hours or minutes in any day to actually get through your to-do list.

[00:02:12] The second mistake to avoid is using a one -size -fits- all approach to your marketing. If you’re marketing but aren’t using segmentation or creating opportunities to broaden your reach and resonance. Then you’re missing yet another opportunity to improve the health of your company, grow your sales as well as potentially set yourself up for further growth in the future. So, what do I mean by that? Essentially many business owners who are engaged in marketing have a one size fits all approach, meaning that they don’t look at the nuances of their ideal customer base or segment. They’re essentially saying here’s how I’m going to market. Take it or leave it. And then they believe they’re good to go.  

[00:04:21] The third mistake to avoid is omitting research from your strategy. When you’re creating your marketing strategies, research is extraordinarily important as it helps you not only better understand the needs and desires of your prospective customers  it also helps to uncover vital insights that will assist you in achieving your marketing objectives. 

[00:05:54] The fourth mistake to avoid is confusing the marketing and sales functions. Now, oftentimes marketing and sales are used interchangeably. However, they are actually two very distinct functions that are connected. The purpose of marketing is to generate leads for your products and services.

[00:06:58] The fifth mistake to avoid is underestimating the power of integrated marketing campaigns. Integrated marketing is also known as marketing communications. It uses multiple marketing tools, mediums, channels, and strategies such as earned media or PR, paid media also known as advertising, digital, traditional as well as social media marketing to deliver, amplify and reinforce your marketing message. Many times, business owners simply focus on one strategy or they focus on one or maybe two marketing channels and they miss the opportunity to fully reinforce their marketing campaign and give it more visibility as well as a greater opportunity to resonate with your targeted audiences.

[00:09:14] The sixth mistake to avoid is focusing your marketing efforts in the wrong places. When you narrowly focus your marketing efforts on landing a large contract or a marquee customer, or even use the wrong marketing message or channel, your marketing efforts are more than likely not going to yield the results you’re looking for.

[00:11:10] The seventh marketing mistake to avoid is going all in on digital and social media marketing. Now, digital and social media marketing are absolutely powerful tools and they should be included in your marketing strategy. No doubt. However, solely focusing on digital and social media marketing limits your ability to effectively increase your reach as well as your return on your marketing investment.

[00:13:57] The eighth marketing mistake to avoid is not using social media. Now, as noted, social media is an extraordinarily powerful marketing tool that you should be engaging with your prospective and current customers on. That being said, it’s important that you find a balance between social, digital and traditional marketing to ensure that you maximize your ultimate opportunity for success.

[00:15:50] The ninth marketing mistake to avoid is mirroring other marketing campaigns. Now, we’ve all noticed highly successful marketing campaigns. And at times probably even wondered if that campaign would work for us. However, when you mirror a marketing campaign, even if that campaign is targeted to the same or similar target audiences that you might have, it isn’t likely to be as successful for you.

[00:16:57] The 10th marketing mistake to avoid is undervaluing metrics and evaluation. Setting attainable goals for your campaign is critically important and a key component of a strategic marketing campaign. It’s how you can optimize your success.

[00:18:45] If you want to increase your marketing success, avoiding these common marketing mistakes will absolutely help you. Remember marketing is a mission critical investment rather than an expense. So, be sure you understand these common mistakes and familiarize yourself with other growth strategies before you market your small business.

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Ryan mixes strategy with creativity, technology with graphic design to produce inspired and unique identities, collateral and marketing materials, as well as social media marketing, and digital properties.

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Is graphic design important to create effective digital, print and social communications?

I truly believe first impressions are everything, and visual communications play a vital role. Design goes far beyond just first impressions though, it helps to give your audience an understanding of what you are trying to communicate and actions you wish them to execute. Additionally, when you align your look and feel across all mediums it helps to establish stronger brand recognition with your audience.

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The social media landscape has changed drastically over the years. Before, it was simply enough to have a Twitter account and Facebook page. Now, everyone is fighting for space.  If you find you are not getting the results from your social media program, take a step back a review a few things.

  • Evaluate what spaces are you playing in. More is not always best. Perhaps focus on one or two social media channels that you feel most comfortable with and see the greatest engagement.
  • Look at the data. Use your social media insight tools to see how your posts are doing. If your reach and engagement is consistently low, re-evaluate the types of content you are putting out. Make sure you are sharing and creating compelling content that your audience would be interested in and motivated to share. You may need to look to paid content on the network to re-establish a foothold.
  • Develop your network. Get people talking about your brand.  Reach out to individual or brand influencers relating to your business to help put a spark in your social strategy. These influencers will feature you amongst their network or simply share your content to help drive additional engagement and awareness.  In a survey by eMarketer, 84% of marketers said they would launch at least one influencer campaign within the next twelve months

What are your three to five top strategies, tips or tools to help grow small businesses?

  • If your organization has not taken a look at messaging, social messaging in particular, do so immediately. I believe the conversational economy is the next big thing and has engagement that blows email out of the water. Social commerce is only going to grow and in particular, through messaging and in app purchases. One tool to help with this is a current favorite of mine, ManyChat that integrates directly with Facebook Messenger to create your very own bots. Essentially automations for messages that are received to your business. From these interactions, a subscriber list is created that allows you to message and interact with the audience much like sending out an email. Keep the messages real, exclusive and personable. 
  • I know, all the hype about bots and automation, who needs humans anymore right? You are missing the mark if this is where you are coming from. Individuals are aggressively seeking human interactions with brands and if you are not readily available, your leaving revenue dollars on the table. People expect a response from a brand within an hour on social media so utilize automation to bring back one-to-one conversation. While you can’t be readily available all day, these automations can at least give you a buffer until the next time you or a team member can respond. Use messaging and email automation to encourage direct interaction with a real individual at your business or when they can expect an immediate follow up.
  • If you look at a paid influencer program, be sure to look at their engagement and not just their numbers. Many people are getting caught up in someone having thousands of followers and not how their audience is engaging with their content. If there is an influencer with 30,000 followers but their average likes and comments are only 1,000, that is only a 3% engagement rate! It means to me they bought their followers, or they are at a complete disconnect with them.
  • Continue to seek testimonials through online reviews, most importantly, Google, Yelp and Facebook. As a small business, it should be a priority to have a review strategy for your business. I utilize a tool from Spread Effect called Spread Local that allows us to send email automations and text messages to contacts we put in the system. It directly evaluates how many reviews you have on the various sites online and send the user a link to those of the greatest importance in your industry. Once your reviews reach a certain level, their algorithm balances them out by sending reviews to the others once it feels it is in good standing.
  • Be sure to manage your leads and tie back your marketing efforts to revenue. It’s important to know your return on your investment, and what is helping to grow your bottom line.

Would you like to share any final thoughts or key takeaways?

At the end of the day, if your social media program gets the back seat to the other items on your to-do list, you will not have the success you desire. If it is becoming overwhelming to manage, try to create a social media internship program for your business with local schools in your area.

You may even want to look at bringing on someone on to manage your social media program part time. This individual can be responsible for posting, managing engagement and creating ideas for new content. It will be vitally important to make sure your social program is getting the attention it needs and this person can be responsible for doing just that.

Contact:

http://thinkmarketing.org/

 

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