In the last decade, the way we do business has changed. From how we target new customers to how we retain the ones we already have, nothing is the way it was before. Given the momentous technological advancements and cultural shifts that we have seen in recent years, industries have had to reimagine their entire structures and start from scratch.
Social media and smartphone technology, with the abundance of the Internet, have made customers truly the king. Now they have total control over what they see and what they like. Their handheld devices are a source of immense power and knowledge for them and so they use it relentlessly. The digital era has brought on many new things and challenges, and no one has felt its sting and tasted its sweet nectar more than businesses. While they have been immensely enabled by the latest inventions, they have had to find a way to use them to reach more customers. That meant unlearning all they thought they knew about marketing and business, and learning the rules of this new digital business era.
But, it is not as complicated as it sounds. Countless businesses around the world are generating more profits than ever before and all because of their properly calibrated marketing tactics, tailored for this new era. So let’s take a look at some of the tactics that you can employ to improve your marketing strategies.
What are the benefits of forming a sound Marketing strategy?
Some of the key benefits of a well-marinated marketing strategy are:
- Helps you in identifying your customer group
- Helps you focus your efforts on your target population
- Increases your market visibility
- Helps you in making good relations with your customers
- Gives you the power to control people’s opinion about you
- Helps you in getting more leads
- Increases brand awareness
Now that that is out of the way…
Tips to help you make a better marketing strategy
1. Know Your Customers
You cannot please everyone at the same time. So it’s futile to even try. You have a product or a service and you know that there is a market for it out there, but this market consists of a certain type of buyer- people who can benefit from your product. You need to take a good look at your product/service and ask yourself, who is most likely to buy it?
To help you better understand this concept, take this example- A man looking to build a website might be interested in your cloud storage services for small startups. But a Fortune 500 company that has greater needs and can afford to build its own cloud infrastructure, may not. So all efforts in that direction are just a waste of time, money and energy.
Some of the ways to find your ideal customers are:
- Maintain an ideal customer profile and a buyer persona and update it frequently.
- Hang out on forums and groups; you will learn a lot about customer needs and what their sentiments are towards a particular product or service.
- Social media is always a good place to look for customers.
- Apart from that, analytic reports and face to face interviews with customers will help you in pin-pointing your customers and understanding their needs.
2. Use Social Media Relentlessly
If there is a tool out there to be used, the prudent thing is to use it. Social media is a red hot nexus of power for people who know how to effectively use it. But there is a stigma that has been carried forward from the early years of the digital era that only youngsters use social media and that too for the sole purpose of having fun. This has not been the truth for a long time.
Everyone is on social media now, doing much more than just socializing. Social media has allowed artists to showcase their work, provided people a platform to spread awareness and obviously, sell things. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, all of these are powerful tools with powerful features for businesses. Strong social media presence not only allows you to generate better connections with your customers but brings you closer to them. This in return allows you to be in front of their eyes all the time.
Research has found that an average person spends 142 minutes on social media. With this chunk of their day spent on these platforms, if they come across a post from you or an ad from you even two times a day, they are going to eventually be intrigued about you and your product.
3. Curate for Customers
Having a website and a social media presence is not enough; you have to generate the perfect content and post it at the right time. The content generation part depends directly on your target demographic. People in different age groups, or any other divide, are attracted to different types of content. For example, it won’t be a problem if you use slang words for posts that are directed towards Millenials, but will be a problem for baby boomers or people who are very particular about language.
Similarly, the visual identity of your post will hinge on your customers as well. So make sure that you generate content that is in parallel to what your target customers want.
4. ‘Why You’? over ‘Why You, Too?’
One of the most horrible mistakes that you can make while marketing your product is to compare it to some other product based on their similarities. While of course there are going to be similar products, you should try your very best to distance yourself from them and instead, focus on your USP (unique selling point).
If you market on similarities, then the first question someone is going to ask is when there is already a product that does the exact same thing as your product, why would I go for yours?
So try and sell what’s unique about your product. Entice your customers with something extra that only you can provide.
5. Partner with the Right Partner
You will need to partner with other people and businesses to increase your brand awareness, so the smart thing to do is find partners that can help you achieve your marketing goals. Also, make sure that you take a long look at your prospective partner’s background and work history; you are going to invest money, so better to be smart about it.
6. Invest, but Smartly
Investing money is something every new marketing effort needs direly. You can plan all you want, but until and unless you have the muscle and the money to bring all of it to fruition, you won’t be able to achieve much. Setting up ads on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, getting good video creators to make videos for you, hiring the right people and stacking them up with the proper tools, all of it will require money. So the best thing to do is make a detailed budget and stick to it. And having a marketing strategy, in the end, will help you with that, too.
7. Think Outside the Box
You have to be innovative. You need to understand that the goal is to be noticed and you need to do whatever you can to make that happen. That includes making marketing videos, replying frequently on places like Quora, optimizing your website for search engines, blogging frequently and blogging relevantly. The point is, keep thinking of new ways to spread brand awareness.
8. Be Clear of your Goals
Marketing today is a maze with either danger or a dead-end always a turn away. So if you charge in guns blazing, chances are, you are not going to go too far. It is better to have a solid plan that you have perfected while keeping your needs in mind and knowing where you want to be. Defining your goals will allow you to always move in one direction and will save you a lot of money and power because your efforts will always be highly focused.
9. Reward Loyalty
Referral programs are important in today’s world when there are so many businesses for customers to switch between. As we said in the beginning, we live in a time when the customer is truly king. Customers have choices and, if you don’t keep them happy, someone else will. It may sound a little harsh, but it’s true. So you need to keep them hooked. Keep them surprised and give them something extra every now and then for sticking with you. Not only does this satisfy your customers but also compels them to stay loyal to you and then go and spread the word about you. This in return brings you more customers.
Speaking of Loyalty…
In the spirit of rewarding loyalty, since you read all the way through this article, here are some extra tips that might help you.
Make sure that you provide great customer service. But, this doesn’t mean that you only have to worry about the hotline. No, in today’s world, it means constantly replying to your customer’s queries via mail, messages, etc. and replying to their comments on Play Stores, if you have an app. You need to make them feel needed and heard.
Also, they like to be heard. So make sure that you give your customers a place where they can come and interact with you and listen to what they have to say. Take their reviews as gospel and act on them.
Tracking your growth and checking the ROI of your strategy will help you in finding what really works for your company. This will also help you in saving money on things that you might be doing that aren’t getting the expected results, or to find a cheaper alternative.
And lastly, persevere. Even the most genius marketing plan in the history of marketing plans won’t generate results overnight. So you need to be patient and you need to be calm. If you stick to your strategy, sooner or later, good results will show.