It has become more important than ever to respect the advice that the public has been given but it will also also force companies to have to find creative and cost effective ways to maintain the relationships that have been built with customers and minimise the problems that this crisis has dealt our community.
In this article, we are going to be looking at a number of different strategies that your business can focus on and implement, on a budget.
1) Social Media Strategy
Social media has seriously revolutionised the way in which you can engage with your audience and done right, it can produce great results without a huge investment in terms of money and resources.
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Snap Chat and LinkedIn are still the most popular platforms. However, keep on the look out for any new trends that your audience might be embracing. Tic Toc is a recent example of one that is resonating widely with the younger demographic.
Just like any other medium, LinkedIn provides a great opportunity to reach out to potential business-to-business customers. Including videos with a link on your biography, for example, is one way to create and integrate stunning content, telling your brand’s story.
Be efficient with your time and resources when it comes to social media. Focus on those that you know fits your overall objectives, profile and target customer. Use it as a way to communicate with your clients by providing updates, liaising with them and asking for feedback. There are plenty of features such as ‘polls’ that you can post to stories, making this very easy to manage and monitor.
2) Influencer Marketing Strategy
It’s hard to miss the impact that influencers have increasingly had on marketing. Since blogging sites have increased in popularity so too has the number of influencers promoting brands.
The category of influencers can be further segmented into the following:
- Mega influencer – typically more than 1 million followers.
- Macro influencer – tyically have between 100,000 and 1 million followers.
- Micro influencer – typically have around 1,000 to 100,000 followers.
- Nano influencer – generally less than 1,000 followers.
An influencer outreach strategy should be considered with care. While the mega influencer has a massive following, there will be a premium attached to sponsoring them. Besides their popularity will have encouraged other major brands to employ their services, making it more likely that your brand would get lost in the noise.
There are lots of influencers in Ireland as well local Dublin influencers that would be much more beneficial and a better fit for your business model and niche. Bear in mind, again, that the influencer has to be the right fit for you otherwise your marketing efforts will lack credibility.
3) Video Marketing Strategy
Research carried out by Hubspot reported that more than 50% of consumers wanted to see video more than any other content produced by brands.
There has never been a better time therefore for brands to embrace video marketing and use it to create entertaining and informative content. With smartphones and apps widely accessible, it is very easy to produce quality material without the need to invest in high tech equipment.
In terms of key marketing trends for 2020, focus on the following:
- Personalised videos.
- Long-form videos.
- 360 degree videos.
Again, the content itself will depend on who you are targeting. For example, for new customers where you are generating brand awareness, a video with your values and ethos would be best suited.
Content consumption patterns can vary from one demographic to the next. In a study by Hubspot, for example, ‘Content Trends: Preferences Emerge Along Generational Lines’, the key findings demonstrated that 57% of 45-50 year olds, 56% of 25 to 34 year olds and 54% of 35-44 year olds had a preference for video content from brands whereas 47% of those aged 55 years or more were inclined to watch videos. In relation to emails, 68% of this age group were more likely to read and digest emails/newsletters.
4) SEO Strategy
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) affects every part of a company’s online presence from website page content to social media posts and pretty much everything in between.
The underlying premise is to research and determine keywords are most relevant to your business while also consistent with the type of searches that your target audience makes.
The better your SEO is on your website for example, the easier it is for search engines to index and thus for customers to find your business. Any content that you develop should not just reflect the subject matter but do it in such a way that it is relevant to the reader.
Correct optimisation also needs to followed through to all other aspects as well, including meta descriptions which is essentially the narrative that appears on the results pages.
It also means looking carefully at page titles, image descriptions i.e. alt text and headings, particularly the main H1 and sub-headings to ensure that they are appropriate and relate the corresponding paragraph properly.
5) Lead Generation and Management Strategy
So you’ve got your brand identity sorted, pinpointed your target audience, created consistent messaging across all of your platforms and you’ve optimised your content and communication within an inch of its life.
Businesses also inevitably need to make sure that there is a healthy level of leads or prospects. Not everyone will be your customer however the ultimate objective is to grow therefore you have to be able to convert a proportion of your leads into paying customers. The more leads you have, the bigger percentage of lifetime clients.
There are lots of ways to build a successful list of customers. One of these would be to co-ordinate an event or competition on one or more of your social media channels. Create a dedicated landing page on your site to direct interested traffic.
In addition, ask your existing clients if they would like to be included on your mailing list. Use segmentation to tailor content that reflects their individual interests.
While this has the aim of generating brand awareness, it also provides an opportunity to request further information such as contact details and perhaps even business information.
The benefit of this exercise is to compile important data from your audience thus understanding them better (while also complying with GDPR guidelines). This in turn can be used for segmentation purposes and tailoring content that is relevant to this group. Your content strategy, in this case, should help to move them along the sales funnel towards your end goal.
6) Re-targeted Advertising
As part of the promotional strategy, brand awareness can be achieved by reaching out to your potential customers through targeted, paid advertising.
Since you will want to maximise your return on investment, it is important to have your data refined to communicate with those who are most likely to be interested and furthermore, those who are willing to buy.
It is rare however that each visitor to your online store will make an immediate purchase. On the contrary and according to Retargeter, only a small minority of people, in fact just 2%, buy on their first visit to any given website.
8) Marketing Incentives
Incentives to encourage customers to make a purchase come in many shapes and forms including discounts and offers. The problem with discounts particularly is that they can under-value products and services. It can also create behaviour that the customer will continue to expect to pay for a product at a reduced rate.
We prefer to use incentives that will benefit both the consumer and the provider. For example, incorporate an added value technique instead such as a complimentary service or upgrade with a purchase.
Buying online requires customers to have trust and confidence because they making a purchase without physically seeing it. Why not reward your customers who have chosen to accept a degree of risk and demonstrate assurances by offering free shipping or, even better, free returns as well.
Remember the overarching aim is to build a genuine loyal base that are willing to support your business long term because they can relate to who you are and why your business exists. Those who are constantly on the look for the cheapest products or services is unlikely to stay loyal to one brand.
9) Build Customer Loyalty
The cost of acquiring new customers is often very expensive. Once they have made a purchase with you however it is less costly to retain them. Clients will keep returning if they have a strong belief in your brand, if the values that you project are those that they can inherently relate to because what motivates you is what motivates them.
It is critical to make sure that your value proposition is very clear and reinforce this clearly in your communication and messaging. Use your story to nurture the relationship that you first establish with your audience. This thread is the connection that binds your brand and builds a loyal following.
11) Blog Content Strategy
Blog content is inextricably linked to Search Engine Optimisation as well. It is a really versatile way to integrate all of the media that you manage and drive traffic to your website.
It’s also a productive way to engage directly with your audience. The key to creating great content is research. Make a list of the topics that are relevant to your business and enhance this by identifying the areas of interest to your target audience. Use analytics and social media insights to understand the type of content that your audience prefers, interacts with and shares. Make it real and make it relevant.
12) Email Marketing Sequences
As discussed, it’s important to understand that people looking for products and services are at different stages of the buyers journey.
Some will be at the very beginning or consideration phase. This understandably requires a certain type of marketing effort and content strategy compared with someone who has completed their research and is close to taking a decision.
The same logic can be applied when communicating with your mailing list. The great news is that you have a database of interested prospects and therefore qualified leads but the goal remains the same which is to successfully move these individuals along your sales funnel and convert those leads into actual customers. This can be achieved by setting up a series of finely tuned emails with content that is pitched appropriately to address their specific need and research criteria.
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