You may have the best idea, the best product, and the most organized and seemingly effective business plan out there. But, if you don’t know your buyer’s persona, then none of that really matters.
Must-Haves For Any Marketing Plan
Any company that wants to be successful must have a solid marketing plan to get their name out there, bring in leads, and close on a sale. While there seems to be more or less an unofficial system in place that most businesses can follow to design their marketing plan around, why is it that some businesses do so much better than others?
For starters, although all businesses may have a marketing plan in place, there’s a big difference between what’s considered a good marketing effort and what’s considered not-so-good. A good or a great marketing strategy one of the key differentiators that businesses need in order to grow, and although it takes a lot of effort, the guidelines are essentially the same across the board.
As long as you have these three things at your disposal, then carrying out an effective marketing strategy shouldn’t be too much of a challenge:
1) A Brand Persona
The first step in putting forth a great marketing effort is to establish a brand for yourself. When most people think of a brand, the first thing that comes to mind is a logo. While a logo is certainly important in the fluidity of your brand across your website, social media platforms, etc., it’s not really what defines a “brand.” In fact, a brand is actually defined as “A type of product manufactured by a particular company under a particular name.” This means that when people come to learn about and understand your product (or services), they know that it’s directly connected to YOU.
That being said, developing a strong brand so that you can string it through all your marketing efforts takes a bit of an investment. And, in many cases, it also requires an expert that can walk you through the process. Sometimes, it helps to have an outsider help you understand what makes your business stand out from all the others. You may be selling a product that hundreds of other businesses are also selling, but for some reason, yours is unique. Tell them why. When you have the answer to that, then you know what your brand really is. Only afterward can come the creation of logos, signatures, visions, missions, mottos, and all those things that are generally tied to what people should be defining as a company’s brand persona.
2) A Buyer Persona
In addition to defining your company in terms of a brand persona, there also comes the other side of selling your products and services, and that’s establishing criteria for the people who will buy from you. Therefore, you must also have a buyer persona in order to put forth the best marketing effort possible.
According to Hubspot, a buyer persona is defined as “A representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.”
Customer data can include anything and everything from user behavior, demographics, and the needs and desires of your customer base. Until you gather this information — and you continue gathering it throughout the lifetime of your business — you won’t be able to define your buyer persona and really understand your audience.
But, once you do understand your audience, altering your marketing strategy so that it’s appropriate for your audience, will be a breeze. This can be done in a number of different ways, whether its analyzing information on trends of your buyers or taking a poll to find out more information on your leads.
3) A Plan and Basic Strategies
Finally, once you’ve got your brand persona and your buyer persona all taken care of, it’s time to come up with a plan as well as basic strategies to follow through on. This will allow you to measure the success and positive change that’s happening in your company over time. A great marketing effort comes from company leaders and their employees who work together to create the foundation that determines how things will work, in order to reach the final goal – making money.
It lays out a series of steps that are your best guarantee to finding success. And, once you go through this process, you’ll be able to go back, again and again, to analyze how you’ve done, so you can improve yourself for the next round.
Remember that a great marketing effort can only exist when a company continues to find areas where changes can be made so that you can come out with more profit, more customers, and more leads than the previous quarter. This plan, along with your basic strategies, will be different for each and every business, so it’s a good idea to meet with an expert to make sure that your plan and strategies are directly aligned with your end goal.
Don’t waste time playing around with a marketing strategy that just won’t work. Hire a marketing and branding expert to get you started on the right track from the very beginning. This way, you can be sure you have everything in place to create an outstanding marketing effort that will continue to bring in leads and drive in profit.
Looking To Get Your Buyer Personas In Order?
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Grow Your Social Media Following With Organic Marketing
Organic marketing is a way for company leaders to bring in leads without paying for a platform to do so. It’s an opportunity for businesses big and small, new and old, to push their advertising to the furthest possible boundary with the current resources they have available. Those who are able to implement strong organic marketing strategies are able to do so because they can confidently rely on less resources to achieve more results. One way this is done is by taking advantage of the number of free advertising options that exist on these platforms. This will allow you to connect with high-qualified leads that are interested in your products and services, without needing to spend a dime or waste time on leads that need a lot more convincing.
Why Social Media Channels
Organic marketing strategies can be applied to pretty much anything these days, whether it be website landing pages, mobile apps, or email campaigns. But, the main reason most company leaders resort to social media channels for this specific marketing strategy is because it’s where the attention is. By next year, it’s believed that there will be approximately 2.77 billion social media users around the world, which means that the average company will already be provided with a list of potential leads for free — they’ll just need to put in a little time to make sure they are visible and accessible.
Luckily, finding those leads on social media via organic marketing has never been easier. With an algorithm very similar to Google, users on Facebook are provided with an enhanced experience that will display posts and ads that are relevant to only them. Automatically, social media allows you to connect with the people that are meant to find your products and services, without you having to lift much more than a finger to do so. And, while there are certainly ways to pay for marketing on social media platforms, many will find that you can get just as much done by not paying anything at all.
Examples of Organic Marketing on Social Media Channels
When you look at the different organic marketing strategies, it doesn’t take long to see that one of the easiest ways to practice this strategy is through social media channels. This is primarily because “organic” means “free” and social media is, well, free. This gives users a wide array of opportunities to target potential leads, without having to make an investment in something that may not lead to any results. If your business is already on social media, then it’s likely you’re already practicing some degree of organic marketing. But, in case you need a refresher or you want some other pointers, here are some examples:
Optimize Your Brand
You can’t plan on maximizing your organic marketing without having a solid brand. Make sure you have a logo that speaks to your clients, and ensure that that logo and everything associated with your brand, is plastered on every page and group you run. Additionally, make sure all our social media accounts are linked.
Video is a great way to bring in leads is through organic marketing. Whether you choose to post pre-recorded videos that you’ve already posted on Youtube, or you’d rather try your hand and live video, this channel can play a huge role in any marketing campaign, but is guaranteed to reach way more users via social media.
One of the best ways to enhance your organic marketing strategy is by sharing content as often as possible, whether that’s your content or someone else’s. More shares and more activity on social media that can ultimately provide value to your clients and increase connectivity overall, will naturally make you more exposed.
Organic marketing can be done in something as simple as a Facebook post. But, not just an ordinary post — one that really attracts people. By implementing strategies like the use of images, emojis, and spaced out text in a post, people will be intrigued by the mere attractiveness of your post, and will thereby engage with you quicker than they normally would.
Monitor Your Competitors
If you want to be successful with organic marketing via social media channels, then it’s necessary that you monitor your competitors to see what they’re doing on social media. If they are talking about trending topics or you see that their posts are getting a lot of likes and shares, then take note of what they are doing and try to replicate that.
Automate Your Inbox
Most social media platforms, especially Facebook, give page owners the ability to create automatic responses in the messaging portal. This will come in handy when you’re too busy to respond to messages all the time, but you want to ensure your leads are being taken care of.
Engage with Others
While automatic responses are great, those who want their organic marketing strategy to be successful must put in the time to engage with others, whether it’s a post someone makes in a group you’re in, or a comment on one of your links. Take the time to react and continue the conversation, and these leads will start to get to know who you are and what your brand represents. After that, it won’t take long for you to lead them to the end of the sales cycle and increase that closing ratio.
Post Relevant Content
Content is one of the best ways to bring in leads and make a sale without having to spend too much money. (Unless, of course, your company has hired a content creator.) Content that’s done well — whether it be an eBook, a whitepaper, a blog post, a podcast, a video, or anything in between — should be done with the idea in mind that it will provide value to the lead or customer for free. From there, they should get a nice slice of what it’s like to have your products or services, and they’ll, therefore, be more inclined to pay for the next piece.
But, it’s not only free for them, it should be free for you, too. Sure, you’ll have to create the content yourself, but no one said that you need to reinvent the wheel. Come up with a consistent content strategy and share away.
Things to Keep in Mind
Because social media platforms like Facebook have worked to perfect their algorithms, companies are having a hard time reaching as many people as they’d like to, despite the fact this was the very thing that made organic marketing what it is. There is some debate regarding whether or not company leaders should rely too heavily on this marketing tactic via social media, because, after all, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. That being said, if companies can find ways to reach their leads organically while also investing in some paid media (such as boosting posts or paying for ads), then they are much more likely to be successful. Balance is key to success.
There are many ways in which company leaders can implement organic marketing strategies, and social media is one of the most reliable in terms of ratios. But, knowing how to do it and knowing how to do it well are two different things, so take the time to utilize social media channels to the best of your ability. After that, it shouldn’t take long to see how easily organic marketing can be achieved.
Do you remember when you had to be convinced that content marketing was worth the effort?
Now, it’s more popular than ever before and has proven to be more effective than any outbound marketing activity, costing 63% less and generating three times as many leads.
In fact, 90% of all organizations now incorporate content marketing into their overall marketing strategy. We’ve evolved from bemoaning how long it takes to write a blog article to eagerly adopting new formats and approaches.
This is, after all, a generation with young adults earning $10 million per year through monetized blogs on YouTube:
It’s safe to say the overwhelming effectiveness of content marketing has been established. For businesses who have adopted this channel, however, there is one potential pitfall. A big one.
Its equation is simple. The more organizations produce and promote content, the more content there is available to be consumed. The more content available, the less time their audience has to identify and consume the most valuable and relevant content to their needs and interests. This is what Mark Schaefer calls ‘content shock’.
What is Content Shock?
Schaefer published an article four years ago in which he suggested that content marketing was not a sustainable strategy for many businesses. What was once a relatively uncrowded content space, “Red Bull was a beverage company, not a media company, Chipotle was making burritos, not claymation films, and there were roughly one-third as many bloggers” was becoming a “situation where content supply is exponentially exploding while content demand [remains] flat”.
In 2018, we have officially reached saturation point.
As well-intentioned as your efforts are, no matter how many hours you spend researching a blog post, or scripting a webinar, there are no guarantees that your work will yield positive results. This infographic shows just how easily your content can get lost in the crowd.
Your Content Strategy is Failing
You know your target audience. You built a strategy. You put together a content calendar. You invest time and resources. And… it’s not working.
In our current state of content shock, this is unsurprising. You need to be able to differentiate your brand, demonstrate your Unique Selling Points, and set yourself apart from an ever-growing level of competition. To quote Steve Martin, “Be so good they can’t ignore you.”
This may seem like an impossible prospect, but even in a world in which 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every 60 seconds, you can still come out on top.
Let’s check out the most likely reasons your content strategy is failing and how to turn things around!
- You aren’t measuring the ROI of your content.
Only 8% of marketers consider themselves “very successful” or “extremely successful” at tracking content marketing ROI. If your business is spending time and budget on creating and distributing content, this is, unquestionably, the metric that matters most. And if you aren’t using the right tools and data points, it will be impossible to achieve.
Use a time-tracking app or iPhone timer to discern how long it takes to create a piece of content. Don’t forget to pause the timer while taking a break. The worth of your cumulative time spent creating content is your investment.
To find the return, you need to discern which metrics to track. If it’s online sales, you should set up a Google Analytics User Flow report to see what website visitors do, like whether they click your CTA after reading an article, or whether they make a purchase after landing on a product page. Then, knowing which content on your website is converting and which is underperforming, you can optimize your strategy.
If the main objective of your content marketing is lead generation, you can calculate content ROI by tracking the number of contact enquiries that were completed via lead gen forms around your content. Depending on how you set up your lead gen forms, this can be done through your CRM, email provider, or software such as Leadformly.
If you want to adopt a more all-inclusive approach, you can use Google’s Attribution Modeling to calculate the monetary impact of every piece of content consumed at every step in the customer journey.
Once you’ve figured out what will constitute your return, calculating ROI is only a few simple steps away. Through your content ROI, you can determine which titles, topics, and content formats best engage your customers and provide most value. These insights will enable you to adapt and refine your content strategy, and set you up for success.
- You haven’t considered video.
51% of marketing professionals worldwide cite video as the medium with the best ROI. Marketers who use video content grow revenue 49% faster than those who don’t, but many brands are still reluctant to embrace it as part of their content strategy. Despite its unparalleled ability to boost brand awareness, generate quality leads, and maximize sales, video still carries a few common misconceptions.
Many assume that video only works for top-of-funnel campaigns, when brand awareness is the key objective. Or that it’s more suitable for B2C audiences rather than B2B. Or that anyone with a smartphone can create compelling video content. Or that it’s too expensive for your organization to have its video content created professionally.
The truth is, video can be whatever you want it to be and achieve whatever you need it to achieve—often more effectively than other formats. Now that the average human attention span is shorter than that of a goldfish, it’s more feasible to imagine a consumer engaging with a 60 second video than a 1500-word article (apart from this one of course!). Easy-to-consume over breakfast, during a break, or on a commute, video also helps viewers retain 95% of its message compared to 10% for text, ensuring your brand stays front-of-mind amongst your target audience.
Video also has the ability to engage your customers on a variety of platforms. As one of the most repurposable content assets, video can seriously maximize its ROI. You can use video on your website’s landing pages to increase engagement, in email marketing campaigns to increase CTR, and in social ad campaigns to increase conversions. If you’re reluctant to invest in video production, this amazing example from Zendesk, suitable for every stage of the sales funnel, may make you want to reallocate your marketing budget!
- You aren’t being specific.
You know you need to produce content as part of your wider marketing strategy. Before you start, you need to be able to answer one deceptively simple question.
“Why are we creating this content?”
One of the most common reasons for the failure of an organization’s content strategy is they haven’t considered the needs and interests of their customers. Consequently, their content lacks direction and clear purpose. You’ve taken the time to identify specific business goals and specific target audience segments. Now, you need to identify your specific content niche.
It’s important to avoid becoming an aimless content creator, fluctuating between listicles and webinars and GIFs with no sense of cohesion. Consider your target market, your value proposition and your industry. From there, decide upon the most appropriate content formats. Keeping a narrow focus will enable you to build your brand reputation and strengthen relationships. Potential and existing customers will come to eagerly anticipate your particular pieces of content.
You might become the company known for their emotive customer testimonial videos. Maybe your product review podcast series will be your specialty. But whatever angle you choose to adopt, stick with it, and do it well. Your content marketing performance metrics will speak for themselves!