4 minute read
6 Ways to Improve Your Marketing Strategy
"People shop and learn in a whole new way compared to just a few years ago, so marketers need to adapt or risk extinction"
~ Brian Halligan, CEO of HubSpot
The key to this quote is the fact that marketing is an ever-changing, constantly evolving field. What worked even just a few years ago may be completely irrelevant today. If you're going to continue to realize success, you must be willing to adapt to change as it occurs.
That said, here are 6 ways to breathe new life into your existing digital marketing strategy.
1) Spread the Wealth
It seems as if a new online platform is being introduced every few months, which means that your audience may not be getting their news and information in the same places they were just a short time ago. Don’t pigeon-hole your marketing efforts into one area. Even if you’ve been successful there previously, if you’re putting all of your eggs into one basket, eventually it’s going to come back to bite you. Research all of your available avenues, experiment with new channels, and then track key performance indicators (KPIs) so you know what's working.
2) Align Strategies
Marketing is not one-size-fits-all. What works for one organization may turn out to be a complete flop for another. The best way to develop and execute a successful marketing plan is to align your marketing strategy with your business strategy. Next, develop strategies for the functional areas within marketing that align with the marketing strategy. Alignment not only gets everyone on the same page and increases efficiency, it also signficantly increases your odds of helping the business to meet or exceed its goals.
3) Analyze the Competition
Most businesses are doing competitive analysis, but this typically doesn’t go much beyond checking out their products and/or services and keeping an eye on what they’re up to from afar. If you really want to get a leg up, you have to delve deeper. Tap into your existing customers and ask them what they perceive to be the real differences between what you and your competitors have to offer. They’ll appreciate your concern and you’ll get real-time feedback on how you can improve on your own marketing efforts.
- Run a competitive link analysis using tools like Open Site Explorer
- Put competitor URLs into Adwords keyword tool for content ideas.
- Monitor your customer's brand terms. Take advantage of their stumbles.
- Monitor your customer's referral links on Twitter.
- Pick a fight. Rivalry games are always sell outs.
- Secret shop your competitors offerings.
4) Provide Value
A recent study conducted by Verint revealed that just 24% of consumers believe that companies take notice of their opinions, and only 29% feel that they are valued as customers. These stats speak volumes to the low opinion many consumers have about brands. By focusing on providing value to your audience - through content, offers, and support – you can change this view and gain a significant competitive differentiator. As a bonus, the more valued your customers feel, the more likely they are to recommend your brand to customers, friends, family, colleagues, and others.
5) Build Relationships
Successful marketing is not only about driving as many new sales as possible, but rather developing and nurturing long-term relationships based on trust that earn you brand preference, repeat business, and brand ambassadors. That’s one of the reasons social media marketing is so powerful. You should strive to make your marketing efforts as personal as possible, and to engage as often, and as quickly, as your customers want and deserve. Show customers and potential customers that you truly care, and your marketing will be exponentially more successful.
6) Include Clear Calls to Action
Everything you touch should include a clear call to action – or next step – for your audience. Whatever it is you want people to do – whether it’s signing up for your newsletter, connecting with you on social media, downloading your eBook or making a purchase – don’t just sit back and hope they’ll follow through. Compel them to! Even if you're happy with the results your calls to action are delivering, you can always do better. Therefore, test, test, test. Whether it's simply A/B testing, or more advanced multi-variate testing, always be testing and finding new ways to improve your marketing efforts. (Take a lesson from HubSpot, who saw an incredible 1300% increase in CTR just by tweaking their call to action buttons).
Whether you employ some or all of these tips, the important thing to remember is that marketing is a fluid field, where being agile is critical. If you're going to be even more successful and profitable than you are today, you absolutely must be willing to evolve to meet the changing wants, needs, and problems of your audience.