Thursday, August 2, 2012

Ten Tips to Make Your Marketing More Effective

Marketing is often the land of the lost for many business owners. They see it as essential but because its not planned and tracked it often is left to chance. Effective marketing exists for one reason only, to generate the opportunity for revenue for the company. Marketing needs to fuel your sales efforts with potential prospects to attempt to close, and you should measure your marketing based on how many opportunities for revenue it generates. We often get asked to help business owners establish or improve their marketing efforts; here are a collection of tips that have proven to make major improvements to our clients.

    Plan & Measure - the first step to good marketing is good planning, every aspect of the campaign ought to be planned out ahead of time and then the campaign needs to be measured so it can be modified if necessary to increase the success rate. Planning encompasses who you are contacting, how you are contacting them, what you are saying, why and how they will contact you, and when you expect to see results. The measuring is tracking the campaign and its executables for the number of new opportunities it provides. If you are driving prospects to a website and your site averages 1000 unique visitors a month, then your campaign hits and your traffic hits 5000 a month you can easily see the effects of your marketing effort. Know your industry averages for response rates (will vary by industry, medium, and target market) and measure against those.

    Answer a Clear Problem or Question in Your Prospect's Mind - because of the massive amount of data we are exposed to on a daily basis we really only listen to things that address a clear problem or question in our minds anymore. Make sure your marketing is addressing something you know your prospect is thinking about.

    Be Visual - this is a visual world now. Use a visual to catch their attention, remember you are competing for that precious attention with an endless number of things now so catching someone's attention is harder than ever thankfully visuals give us a great way to do this.

    Have a clear call to action - drive them to a hub, your website, email or phone number and make communication with you easy. If your using your website make the contact form as easy to fill out as possible, CAPTCHA based forms aren't convenient for the prospect they are used for the benefit of the site owner.

    Target your audience - shotgun approaches to marketing are usable if you're dealing with million dollar budgets, but for most businesses a targeted approach works much better. Aim clearly at an easily identifiable group and market specifically to them. Better yet have multiple subsets within your campaigns that are specifically targeted to different groups addressing their needs in a language they understand and a medium they accept. Remember if you can't out spend you have to spend smarter.

    Communicate through their medium - consider who your prospects are and what form of medium they prefer. If your audience prefers paper then use it (you will find many of us in the over 40 crowd still prefer to have something on paper). Likewise if your audience is on social media than use that. Think of how they like to communicate, and then use that medium to get your message across.

    Have a clear message - you have 10 seconds to tell me why I should care about you, make sure your message is short, clear and speaks to a prospects internal problem or question.

    Don't get distracted by shiny objects - technology advances provide a host of shiny new objects to take our attention away from the point of marketing, generating potential prospects. Focus on mediums your prospects use and messages your prospects respond to and make your call to action a simple one.

    This isn't about art - you're not out to win awards, your out to acquire new business, remember that as your designing your campaigns. What you produce has to get a response from your prospects so design has to first be attention grabbing (remember how much competition you have for their attention) address a problem or question in their head and have an easy and clear call to action. Leave the high style stuff to the big companies brand engagement efforts; you can worry about brand engagement once you have built up a significant business through effective marketing. Also remember its not a matter of what you like it's a matter of what your prospects will respond to that matters.

    Give it Time - marketing takes times, planning can take 30 days, execution another 30 days and all marketing efforts should be given a good six months to measure effectiveness. Don't rush into anything, give your plan time to come together and give your efforts time to show results. Remember to have time set aside to measure your progress and many any changes that become clearly necessary. A good marketing plan continues to grow and change as the results dictate.

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