Saturday, 2 May 2020

101 Marketing Strategies: The Basics

In this guide, we’re going to go over the basics you need to know before starting your marketing campaign. We’re focusing on actionable material. Strategies you can put in place right away.

The Basics: The 4 P’s 

Marketing can be summarized in a very basic way: the four P’s. These are Product, Price, Promotion, and Place. You need to know these inside out:

Product. Know your product and/or service variations, consider how they should be presented, and how returns, warranties, etc. are handled.

Price. This is not merely what the product costs your customer. You need to know why you’re coming to that price, what the market rate is, whether discounts can be applied, and whether there is scope for payment plans.

Promotion. If a product isn’t seen by anyone, it’s a dud. Consider whether you’ll go online or offline (or both!) with your promotion, how much can be budgeted, and the message that will capture your product.

Place. To make your business a success, your product needs to be offered in the right place. Will you go on Amazon? Or will that devalue your own website offer? Can you offer it to small boutiques to run a limited sale to get the word out, for example?

Don’t Be Afraid to Go Old School 

Companies are often so drawn by the new and shiny that they completely ignore the tried and tested. Yes, websites and fancy marketing tools are all essential parts of the modern business, but that doesn’t mean you should ditch what’s worked for the better part of a century:

Snail mail. If done right, this still works. For example, handwritten thank you cards can give your business that personal edge other conglomerates just can’t offer.

Physical coupons. There’s something about having a physical coupon that you can hold in your hand that people love. According to a survey by Statista, 45% of shoppers use them ‘very often’ or ‘always’.

Go account-based. Big clients deserve special attention. If you’re sending out a mail shot, don’t use the standard MailChimp template for your biggest fish. They can smell generic a mile away.

Have a Web Presence 

You’ll know this already: every business needs to have a website. But it goes beyond just putting something up on Squarespace. We’re talking about a web presence, not just a basic cookie-cutter website. You’ll want to set up the following:

Social media. Find out where your potential customers hang out and go there. If there’s little to no activity on Twitter, focus your efforts on Facebook.

Website. Use a service like the aforementioned Squarespace to build something that looks modern and will have adequate templates for laptops, tablets, and cell phones. Update your website regularly. Make sure all information is up-to-date; otherwise, people may wonder whether you’ve gone bust.
Ecommerce. It’s scary to start selling online, but if you have a product or service that fits the online bill as well as the physical market, it’d be unwise to not to set up an ecommerce site. Again, go for a third-party provider that will tick all the security boxes for you. This is not something you want to DIY. Shopify is a solid option, for instance.

Use marketing tools. Don’t randomly try things and hope they’ll work. Leverage marketing tools such as Google Analytics, Hubspot, and MailChimp to supercharge your efforts.

Sniff Out Bad Advice 

Marketing attracts a wide range of unscrupulous operators. The low barrier to entry, the vast amounts of technical jargon, and the attractively low prices from some companies can lead you down the wrong path. You need to develop a sixth sense; you need to learn how to sniff out bad advice. Here are a few tips:

Ask for proof. If someone knows what they’re doing, they’ll have proof from previous clients. Should they cite client confidentiality, ask them for testimonials. Not budging? Move to the next provider.

Get third-party advice. Ask someone you trust to help you out. If they’ve used a marketing agency in the past, they’ll know what to look for.

Don’t fall for fancy words. When you meet a marketing agency, it’s easy to get taken by fancy graphics and tall tales. Try and see through the sales pitch.

Think about it. Don’t sign the first contract that’s put in front of you. Take time to make a decision that fits your business.

Marketing Can’t Go on Auto-Pilot 

We’ll leave you with this: don’t ignore your marketing efforts. We get it, you’re a small business owner, it’s difficult to wear the hat of the CEO and marketer at the same time. But if you want to be a success in today’s competitive market, you’ll have to.

Marketing isn’t something you can ‘set and forget’. It needs constant attention, nurturing, and fine-tuning. Continue testing, keep on learning, and try and squeeze every last bit out of your marketing budget. It’s the only way to survive and grow your business.

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