In my article last month, I discussed the areas of your marketing that you should reassess as you start your marketing planning for the new year (especially if you haven’t looked at these areas since developing your plan last year). These areas include the market, your competition, your target audience, your message, your communication channels, your website content, your social media presence and your brand. What you learn about the status of each of these areas will dictate your marketing strategy going forward.
Once you have reassessed and updated all these core areas of your marketing platform, your next steps are goal-setting for the new year and determining the best strategies (or tactics) for achieving those goals, reaching your target audience and distributing your messages. However, remember that you also need to consider what worked last year and what didn’t (and why). Perhaps those tactics that failed need to be better executed or tweaked in a way that will produce greater results, or perhaps they just need to be scratched completely.
Before you start outlining your tactical activities for the year, bear in mind that there are certain marketing tactics that should always be part of your marketing strategy and plan (actually any marketing plan) no matter what. These tactics are essential for ensuring inbound traffic, generating leads and seeing real results. These must-have marketing tactics are as follows:
Monitor your SEO often
One of the best ways to direct traffic to your website is through Google searches. By having your site show up on the first page of results, you dramatically increase the chances of getting the click. Since Google’s search ranking algorithms are always changing, you need to stay on top of your search engine optimization (SEO). At least once per quarter, you should review your SEO and ensure that:
• The keywords and phrases that are relevant to your product or service offerings and getting traction for you in the search engines consistently used across your website and blog,
• You are regularly posting fresh, highly valuable content to your website and blog, and
• You have links to your website through external engagement (e.g. partner websites, guest blogs or articles on other sites).
You also want to use Google My Business, setting up a profile through the tool to ensure greater visibility in the search rankings but also help with gaining credibility and trust with prospective customers.
Blog regularly to capture a following
Assuming you have a blog set up, you want to be posting to it regularly, and posting informative, highly valuable content. As mentioned above, regularly posting fresh, relevant and beneficial content will help your search engine ranking and allow people to find you while also drawing them to your blog and website for information. Keeping an active blog positions you as a leading source of information, which will help you build a following of potential customer leads.
Keep up your posting frequency on social media
Billions of people use social media and more and more consumers turn to it for information on a company, product or service. Assuming you are using the social media that best reach your target customers, you should be very active there, otherwise people will think your business lacks life and passion. You want to post content regularly (ideally, at least once per week) and post that engaging, relevant and valuable content that will not only get people to follow you but also direct them to your website. Social media is the perfect platform for starting conversations, conducting polls/surveys, and responding to feedback, comments and inquiries, enabling true customer engagement, interaction and connection.
Conduct email campaigns to connect with your target audience
Email marketing is still one of the best ways to reach your target audience as it is easy to do and to automate and can reach a large number of potential customers with a single communication. It also costs next to nothing to execute and works across multiple platforms (desktop and mobile devices alike). The key thing with email marketing is that your emails must be non-commercial and focus on providing that relevant and valuable content that will build awareness, drive people to your website or blog and generate true sales leads — content such as how-to articles, guides, infographics and videos. In addition, your emails should only be directed to people who have signed up for or opted-in to receive your content. Remember, you are trying to build trust and you won’t do that by emailing prospects with nothing more than spam.
Create content that addresses the various stages of your customer’s buying journey
Marketers have learned that it’s more important to build trust, establish credibility and provide valuable information than to purely sell their products or services to customers right off the bat. Marketing gurus have defined various stages in the buyer’s journey, which are generally Awareness, Interest, Consideration, Purchase, Post-Purchase and Repeat Purchase. The goal is to “nurture” or guide the customer or lead through those stages (particularly the early ones) and toward a conversion by offering content that informs, educates, shows an understanding of the customers’ problem and offers possible solutions.
This type of content provides valuable knowledge to the customer but also establishes you as an expert on the subject, thereby building that trust and generating customer loyalty. Content should be in the form of blogs, videos, infographics and other highly readable content in the Awareness stage and move to even more valuable content such as Ebooks, guides, checklists and slide presentations in the Consideration stage. The more valuable the content, the more it will engage your customers and help build your website’s value to search engines, increasing your organic web traffic as you increase your search engine ranking.
There are other strategies/tactics that you should strongly consider, such as hosting lively and engaging webinars and events, but the tactics above should be a top priority and play a major role in your marketing strategy. In addition, look into all the other different marketing tools and channels you can pursue and activities you can do to increase your visibility, then try new strategies/tactics to see what works best for you and creates the most effective marketing program for your business.
Beth Bryant is the owner/principal of BBWrites Strategic Communications in Marlborough, which specializes in providing public relations, marketing and content writing services. For more information, visit www.bbwrites.com.
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