Scan this guide for some no-nonsense marketing. It might be that some of this you are already doing, so see this as vindication that you are doing it. But can it be done better? Are there things in here that inspire a different strategy or approach, a better, fresher one maybe? Something to refine? We certainly provide no nonsense marketing in here, read/scan on.
We hope there is at least something in here to support your growth – that is our aim, and after reading(/scanning) you have the motivation to have a go.
Better still, appreciating that every single penny is often accounted for in the marketing budget, every one of these is either free or doesn’t require massive investment. This should therefore allow you to DO MORE.
1. Hunt for Brand Champions.
A good way to understand your target audience is to carry out a profile. What’s their gender? income? occupation? where do they live? how old are they? what are their interests? (need some help with this? – Click HERE for a search of URL’s and images). Once you have this down, all you have to do is find them, easy…..HA! It’s not that easy really, it’s quite tough isn’t it?
Start with Twitter, follow the groups you think your audience would follow, see who are the biggest commentators with the biggest following and make contact. Engage with them, tell them what you are doing and get them behind it or maybe strike a deal so that they can deliver or share your messages to their own audience.
Alternatively, if you are lucky enough to have a considerable budget then it could well be worth turning to well seasoned brand ambassadors. It’s a growing industry with brand ambassador jobs increasing 7.5% year on year within the UK. There is currently a lot of speculation regarding online ‘social influencers’ in terms of whether the method still has validity or whether consumers are becoming more immunised to it due to volume. We’ll let you make your own mind up. However done right and as a part of a wider marketing strategy could provide exposure to consumers that were previously uninformed of your brand.
2. Make Customers Brand Champions/Evangelists.
Great service will get great word of mouth marketing and in time this will lead to future sales. However pushing it further, is there something extra you can do to as a part of your offering that none of your competitors do. Apple make people buying their products feel like they are a part of a community. Yeah, sure Apple might be a little out of our reach at this stage, but a considerable number of brands are doing this via sustainability. For example some brands give a percentage of their profit to good causes. Look at brands like Ivory Ella. Is there a way you can engage your audience, is there something very close to their and your hearts? Can you partner up with someone or something of a good cause or something that your audience is already engaging with?
3. Cause a Social Stir.
Careful here, remember that you are still using your brand voice on Social Media Channels. Also remember that there are laws within the UK – Please DO NOT target or bully a celebrity. a) It’s not cool b) you could find yourself in a lot of trouble as governments the world over move to decrease the activity widely known as ‘trolling’. However a well thought out post, a challenge of opinion, shareable and intelligent commentary on recent events, a stance on a subject that your brand is an authority on – Can all be ways in which to spark your audience into sharing your post, comments etc and therefore your brand to further eyes.
4. Source Local
Whilst making connections to other local businesses or organisations that swim in similar circles is good networking practice, doing business with them can open opportunistic doors that weren’t previously apparent. Think about it, it is within their best interest to build a relationship and champion your brand so that you continue to fund theirs. Their circles can often open yours wider, with multiples of this and a good degree of interaction your audience will scale up considerably. Without even thinking for more than 30 seconds, we wager you already have 2 or 3 businesses you are aware of that you could do business with that also already have good brand presence. Talk to them.
5. Competitions & Offers for Existing Customers.
There is nothing quite like engaging existing customers. If they are already aware of your services and continue to follow you online the chances are you have already made a positive impression. You can now get them to like and share you further afield. Facebook is great for this. A sweepstake give away for example is a good way for product led companies – Get your followers to vote which of the two or three products would be the best prize then simply give it away to one of the voters. Simple but effective yeah?
Hopefully your first go at this will have a positive impact, repeat it a little later but having already had a first go, apply what you’ve learnt. Like with most things it will get a little boring and have less impact for your audience if it’s repetitive so make sure you mix it up and after the first few, maybe spread them out wider in regards to timing. Also remember to make a MASSIVE deal of the winner, promote the hell out of them – see if you can get a quote, this supports social proof but we’ll come to that in 6.
*NB: Not that you wise digital marketers haven’t already thought of this but make sure your imagery for competitions is mobile friendly, most social media is logged onto via mobiles, but you of course already knew that ;- )
6. Use Social Proof.
Everybody is affected by the groups and societies they are a part of or choose to affiliate themselves with. Subconsciously or not decisions are made aligned to the masses and your audience are not any different (social media marketing tricks 101). So what does social proof marketing look like?
Well there are many forms but here are a few to help you get the gist: social proof via experts, social proof via celebrity, social proof via user (customer i.e. testimonials & case studies are prevalent on a wide array of worldwide websites), social proof from the crowd (i.e. ‘10,000 happy customers to date and counting’) and arguably the most effect is social proof of friends (if a good friend recommends it is likely to influence and have more of an impact).
Now, how do you leverage this? Is there any of these channels you can tap into? If you know a volume of celebs, great get them to endorse your company. But the best advise would be to concentrate on the customers one by one. Get them to spread the word on your behalf allow them easy access and guide them to your channels of review whether that is social media or review based websites. Otherwise, explore these other strategic avenues and see what fits with your brand:
Numbers already connected – If you have a good newsletter following or vast number of social media followers it is good to showcase this.
Include Media Logo’s – If you’ve been published or appeared in a popular media provider (Like the BBC or Channel 4 or The telegraph for example – or if your market is more local, use local news providers).
Certified Badges – Industry or customer service related.
Showcase your current clients – display their brands.
7. What are your competitors doing well?
Forgive the authors for being a little forward, but you might need some help with this. This is because you need to have an element of impartiality toward the organisations you want to beat.
Try to create a couple of analysis based documents, get to the bottom of the things they are brilliant at, the areas where they might let themselves down, who they are associated with or partner with? How might they be able to pivot their business regarding changes in the environment.
Once you have put all this together you should see gaps to form your own plan. For example how can you do what they are doing well, better? No mixing words, steal their great ideas and do them better.
Can you tap into and play on their weaknesses, demonstrating to customers that you don’t share these. Are any of these a key selling proposition?
Concentrating on these areas will appeal to a lot of customers who are already aware of the services or products your business engages in. Why? Because it’s different, maybe they will get a better experience, maybe they will see the added value, maybe your brand is more aligned with their ethos..
8. Get a professional brand logo.
Your brand logo is your first engagement with your audience. It is what they see and associate with you. When they explore your other marketing materials whether digital platforms (websites/social media) or perhaps print advertising, if your brand is disjointed it will be off putting. It is therefore integral that your brand logo fits your business and audience and is displayed on all marketing assets.
We unashamedly recommend domoredesign.com as a platform that is cost effective, offers the freshest design talent and a vast amount of choice – allowing you to be more in control of the process of creating your brand logo.
9. Try to be creative in your marketing.
When you have your brand logo get it out there for people to see, get it in their eye-line. Maybe useful things like promotional pens, mouse mats and usb sticks have arguably been done and done by your competitors?
Therefore why not try to do something that’s a little more eye catching and don’t ignore the power of word of mouth. For example is there a networking gig coming up near you? Can you supply the refreshments with your brand on them, can people drink out of cups/glasses or eat off plates that are branded? Or maybe there is a good cause with a great following that you can get behind, an event maybe that need materials of sorts, maybe these materials are branded.. Wink wink.
10. Content Marketing.
If like most businesses, traffic to your website is as valuable as boots on the ground footfall. This will be a surefire way to get people to see your brand. Keyword traction is a premium in all industries. There is a serious amount of free content marketing strategies via a Google search. To get you started though explore putting together blog entries, news articles, white papers and guest blogging. This gives you a platform to rank for an array of keywords in search results or link to websites that already have a good volume of traffic, whilst also showcasing your authority.
Please note this is a long term strategy as you are essentially building. For example using the analogy of lego bricks – each lego brick represents a ranking and each ranking represents an amount of annual/monthly/weekly/daily traffic and impressions. The more you do the more you get, but it takes time. Search engines continually crawl your site and rank your content accordingly.
THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT: Make sure that the content you write is fresh, good quality, responds to the needs of your audience and is super easy to share. If you are stuck on this, get some ideas using devices such as Answerthepublic & Buzzsumo, simply type in the keyword you’re thinking about writing around.
11. Vlog and Podcast.
I’m just going to throw some stats in here for you. 4.7 million UK adults have listened to or do listen to podcasts. 66% listen to them via a smartphone. The busiest period for consumption is between 08:15 and 08:30 am Monday to Friday – the commute. 65% are aged 24 – 59 years old. Men are the biggest consumers at 61%. Source:https://newmediaeurope.com/uk-podcast-statistics/
5 billion videos are watched on Youtube everyday. 10,113 videos on Youtube generated over one billion views. More than half of these views come from mobile devices. 80% of Youtube users are outside of the United States. Due to the volume of daily searches on Youtube it is the second biggest search engine in the World behind Google.
These are very powerful tools and are clearly the way in which modern people, including your audience choose to interact. Video and Podcast could give you the lift in your audience that you are looking for. Give it a go, see what happens, learn and give it another go using what you have learnt. There’s no guarantee of viral consumption but who know’s? And what effect do you think that will have on your brand?
This first video has got 7.1 million views to date. Simply, the inventor of this blender wanted to prove that his blender was the most robust. He therefore decided to demonstrate it using Youtube, and has successfully blended marbles, ipads, cd’s, boat oars and a wealth of other items. His audience regularly send in ideas of what to try next. I’m sure you will agree that this equates to massive interaction and interest.
12. Utilise other content marketing channels.
Ok, so you have created blogs and other good content and it is working to a degree in regards to the number of page views (USE GOOGLE ANALYTICS IT’S FREE and easy to integrate with pretty much every website) and shares/likes (The majority of social media platforms have this capacity as standard). How can you make more of it?
Well, you have reached a good audience but there is definitely lots you have yet to get in the eye-line of. First look for forums and areas to which your content answers questions. Quora is a good place to start. Then for further scope rewrite your content on open blogs with plenty of users, a good place to start is Problogger.
DO NOT copy and paste your content word for word on other websites. Google penalises pages that have duplicate content so your hard work will be a waste.
13. The power of Meta.
Integrate Google Webmaster Tools to your website (IT’S FREE!). This will help you see what impressions your website links are getting and the number of clicks. An impression is when you appear in the search result for a keyword a user has typed into the search engine. To get your impression to turn into a click you have to have a title (meta title) and description (meta description) that is appealing.
For example if you type in ‘red shoes’ into Google now you will see a series of listings with titles and descriptions trying to encourage you to click. Likely you will see a number of very recognisable brands on page one – these are the professionals – do as they do, not word for word but pick out the key elements.
If Google Webmaster Tools is showing that you have thousands of impressions for a particular page but the click through rate (CTR) is 0 – 2% then try to change the meta of that page – what is the competition doing to get them to the top of page one on Google. Keep a record of your successes and failures, this will help you refine at a later date and understand what is working.
As you are well aware getting customers ‘through the door’ is not always easy. However, giving someone a reward for passing you a lead or a customer is incentive to continue doing so.
There are content rich websites whose sole purpose is to gather audience and then encourage them to visit others websites. There are also affiliate programme companies who help to support this further (for a fee). Worth exploring for your business?
15. Don’t ignore emotional connection.
How do you sell a mattress? You have an image of someone having a really really comfortable sleep right? But what if I wanted a parent to buy it? Maybe I would have an image of Mum and Dad smiling, comfy and cosy whilst a three year old looking joyous using the mattress as a trampoline? Maybe put a pet on there for good measure? The aim here is to would tell the parent/s that this is the durability, comfort and space that’s required right?
Images are great at initiating an emotional connection. However this can also be done throughout content/website landing pages or even the display in store.
It all boils down to understanding your audience – don’t be afraid to talk to them about it, understand why they have bought from you, how you could be better for them. Use competitors to help you to differentiate and offer a unique service. Connect and network with partners, suppliers and customers. Constantly review your marketing channels and keep trying things. Some of the things you try are not going to work, that is a part of the process to allow you to refine your efforts. Once you have got the balance of working hard and smart we bet you will have bought yourself time to DO MORE ;- )
What do you think are some of the best marketing hacks for startups? Which is the most innovative marketing strategies you have heard of recently? We would love to hear from you. Contact us through the usual channels of Facebook, Twitter or Instagram