BY PATRICK WHELAN
As you peruse the following 10 marketing suggestions, you’ll find they are fairly easy to implement. But one caveat—don’t underestimate no. 10. You can’t just wing it and hope your sales improve. Have a plan, but don’t market by committee. A group of people agreeing to disagree combined with diluted accountability rarely produces a positive result. Finally, don’t procrastinate. Even if you aren’t marketing to your customers, you can be assured that your competitors are!
1. Print newsletter | Successful customer retention has the greatest impact on growing sales. An informative company newsletter is one of the best ways to make that happen. It’s long been proven: Skip print, results go down. Use print, results go up. Print is taken seriously and breaks through even where e-media do not. That’s why a company newsletter is critical for customer retention. It is also effective at creating demand for your services through education and, perhaps most importantly, promoting your brand as a thought leader. Content is king. Produce and distribute a newsletter at least every 90 days.
2. Email newsletter | If producing a print newsletter isn’t achievable, produce an email version. Opt for less content (375 words max) and follow best practices. Use a third-party secured sender. Add a signup option on your website, and post the content to your site as well as social media. Monthly or bimonthly should be your target distribution frequency. Be mindful, however, that with spam filtering, not all of your emails will reach their intended targets. That’s why print should be part of the mix.
3. Start a blog | Google’s new Hummingbird algorithm is a game changer. Good, fresh content will generate strong SEO for your company website. If you’re looking for new sources of leads, inbound web traffic represents a great opportunity. Blog content doesn’t have to be long, and it doesn’t have to be loaded with keywords. Make it relevant to your audience and the SEO will happen organically. Once a week? Perhaps every two weeks? Even a monthly update will generate results. Aside from SEO benefits, good website content has a very positive effect on your brand. Make sure to share your blog out on social media, as well.
4. Social media | Very simple—customers now expect this. If you’re not utilizing social media or not updating it consistently, your brand looks bad and you create a competitive disadvantage for your company. Social media allows you to connect with your audience in a more personable manner. This helps foster trust. Your social activities now affect your SEO, as well. Don’t ignore this. In addition to the big three (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn), make sure you also have a Google + page for your business. It’s a fact that Google plays favorites. It’s easy to set up.
5. Direct mail | Create a direct mail campaign and distribute it to a targeted list. Use a list source so that you’re reaching out beyond just your in-house lists. Consider rolling this out on a weekly or monthly basis. I have a client that is targeting 200 names per week for two months. The offer is a half-hour lunchtime review of the recipient’s current marketing activities and challenges. The mail package includes a menu from a popular restaurant from which the recipient can select their lunch. A follow-up report is delivered a week later. The company is creating face-to-face interactions with companies and persons they have never had previous contact with. By rolling this out, they have the opportunity to gauge results and refine the offer (A/B testing).
6. Webinars | This is a great way to project your company as an expert and thought leader. If you’re talking about it, it is assumed you know about it! Even non-signups will be influenced by the invite and promotion. Limit these to just 30 minutes. They are easier to produce and more enticing to the recipients than longer Webinars. A quarterly basis would be a great interval. Even twice per year. Subject matter is easy to come up with and develop. Stick to ways you can help viewers grow or manage their businesses. Promote to your in-house list via social media and consider an outside list source. This is a great way to help create demand for many of the marketing services you may offer.
7. Write a letter | Yes, it’s old school and you don’t see this often, which is one reason to do it. The other reason is that it’s an easy and personable way to help foster trust and credibility. Talk about recent success stories (mini case studies), community and charitable involvement, and other information that is relevant to the recipient, such as USPS rate increases or new regulations.
8. Website resources | Just as I am doing here, create content that people can either download or request from your website. The key is to collect data. Having the information on your site will also help with SEO. The content can be short. One page is just as effective as three. Create short case studies or mini white papers. Consider using content from company newsletters or getting employees involved in helping with content creation. This strategy will drive web traffic, allow you to collect data, and promote thought leadership.
9. Use Twitter | It’s a powerful tool for marketing. It requires little content, and it’s very easy to reach a large targeted audience. It can be an effective way to start conversations and is yet another way to reach people you had no access to in the past. #printchat every Wednesday at 4PM ET is a great source of knowledge for this.
10. Have a plan | Planning is critical. If you want successful results, you will need to create a plan and commit to executing it. I see companies doing some or most of these initiatives every day. Don’t allow your company to be out-marketed!
Patrick Whelan is president of Great Reach Communications, Inc.
Speak to Pat at B2Me.me/DC7