Tag: Marketing

Marketing Mistakes That Could Ruin Your Profits

Your marketing strategy impacts your reputation, your customers, and most importantly, your profits. A well-planned strategy can turn this year into your best year so far, but it’s difficult to recover from some mistakes. Businesses must make the switch from personalizing messages to reaching out to specific individuals. Retention marketing must be a key focus or loyal customers will drift to competitors. In order to keep your business thriving, it is important to know what to avoid as you are marketing.

Failure to Create Compelling Content

Content is key when it comes to new business, customer retention, and even SEO. Longer, better quality content has been shown to hold a lot of SEO power for a website. However, it’s not enough to simply create large and frequent amounts of content – you must also be sure that it is worthwhile content. You need to keep in mind what your target audience would find compelling and focus on that. Boring content will make a product or company come off as far less appealing to consumers.

Content that engages your audience and that provides a benefit to your target market is the kind of content that builds goodwill and the perception of expertise. Failing to create content that entertains, educates, and engages your audience will doom your content marketing efforts regardless of how much time and money you put into it. Content for content’s sake (or, heaven forbid, stolen content) will not do you any favors.

Choosing the Wrong Method of Marketing

There are many options for your business to market itself, ranging from email to flyers to social media. Certain platforms are more effective than others in reaching your target audience. As society becomes increasingly focused on technology, online content is becoming the best way to reach people, but it’s still important to look at your target demographic to know how to reach them. Is your ideal customer more likely to engage with you through email or a direct mail coupon?

Understanding where you will be able to access your target audience is key. Find social media groups, forums, channels, and other online platforms where your consumers will be. If you want to do more traditional forms of marketing, determine what restaurants, conferences, and other locations your audience would frequent and advertise there.

Planning and strategizing which channels you’ll target and how you’ll approach your marketing content is crucial to success. Without a well thought out plan, you could completely miss your target audience and waste both time, money, and resources. Many businesses pour substantial amounts of money into marketing, assuming a plan is secondary to ample funding. While spending is a helpful and important aspect, money is not effective without the proper plan.

Map out objectives, product orientation, brand awareness, promotional channels, and your budget before beginning any marketing campaign. It is imperative that you are choosing the right method of marketing so you are getting the most value out of your content marketing strategy.

Failure to Convert Leads into Customers

If you want to market successfully in 2018, you need to remember that you are not finished once you send out your advertisements or content. You need to pursue the leads that you get from potential customers giving you any contact information. Once you have a group of people who are interested, you need to work to convert them into customers.

One of the most important factors in converting a lead into a customer is the response time – how quickly are you contacting leads once they’ve sent you their information? A few minutes? A few hours? Days? The faster that you contact the lead, the more likely they’ll give you their business. Is there a system in places to contact new or old customers that are leaving you voicemails? Is someone checking all of the contact forms that come through? Being diligent, examining your conversion process, and being quick to respond can be the difference between being successful and being out of business.

Ignoring Online Reputation Management and Reviews

The online reputation of your brand is incredibly important to your ability to successfully market your business. Checking online reviews is one of the first things many people do when they are interested in a business. Often, it’s the deciding factor on whether someone chooses your business over someone else’s. It is vital that you maintain a positive online reputation that will direct consumers towards your company, not away from it. Ignoring your business’ online reputation is something that happens far too often.

Negative reviews about your business online can be detrimental to your overall brand, but it’s important that you use this information to improve your business. While many negative reviews may not provide any insight into how to improve your business, there are sure to be some reviews that can help you find specific areas to improve upon.

Responding to online feedback is one of the most important parts of managing your online reputation. You want to empathize with your customer while attempting to resolve the situation, but you do not want to respond in any way that will make your business look unprofessional. Properly handling and responding to an online review, even if it’s negative, will help showcase your business as knowledgeable, professional, and compassionate.

Put Time and Thought into Your Marketing

No matter what your marketing strategy is, you must give it extensive thought and focus. A poor marketing plan can be extremely detrimental to a business and will put you at a disadvantage with your competition. A fantastic marketing plan can be the thing that leads your company to success. Avoiding these four mistakes could help your business continue to grow and thrive.

Contact TheeDesign Today

Even for a seasoned company, it can still be easy to fall into a marketing rut that isn’t actually growing your business. Contact the marketing strategy professionals at TheeDesign today to help you reexamine your marketing strategy and find out where you could be making more money. Call us at 919-341-8901 or schedule your free consultation.

 

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Rise of the Millennial Decision Maker: Why B2B Digital Marketing is Important

Rise of the Millennial Decision Maker: Why B2B digital marketing is important

There ‘s a common misconception that the generation born between 1980 and 2000 all live in their parents basement, live on avocados and toast, and generally are apathetic to work. The reality is that nearly 1/3rd of all in this generation have already started a business, and nearly half want to. That outperforms Baby Boomers by more than 10%.

Additionally, this generation represents about 1/3rd of the population of the US. So as Boomers  retire, the balance of decision making will begin tipping in the direction of millennials. As a B2B marketer understanding this shift, and what it will mean in terms how marketing will change is vital. Luckily, as a company comprised entirely of millennials, it’s easier for us to understand how this looks. So here are a few tips that can help you understand why B2B digital marketing is important to a growing number of millennial decision makers.

They Are the Researchers

In a study by SnapApp and Heinz Marketing, the role in a buying committee that millennials took was that of the researcher. Whether that’s because they were perceived as the most tech savvy, or because they naturally research everything they buy, it’s often the role they have.

So what does this mean for a business? If you want to connect with this audience, you’d best have data and researchable items for these buyers to find. This can include blogs, downloadable sheets, and of course case studies. The more research they can uncover about your business, the more likely they are to buy with you.

They Trust Peer Reviews, Not Salespeople

In B2C consumption companies like Amazon have made a living on using the reviews of other buyers to help in the decision making process. The same is true in the B2B sphere. Millennial buyers tend to use online reviews, and the personal reviews they get from people they know to help them make large decisions

How do you rectify this in your B2B business? Google reviews, social media reviews, and other online review sites can help you create a better level of confidence as buyers research your company. Additionally, on your website it’s important to have trust icons, and testimonials from past clients, to give that extra peace of mind. Using their name and the business they are associated with allows them to do research on your clients, and determine the accuracy of your website.

They Are Data Driven

Part of being the main researcher is the notion that data will be your main focus in your decision making process. Points like peer reviews, customer loyalty, your process, and your outcomes are all data points that these folks will use to make the case that you’re the right vendor.

The goal for you as a business is to make every data point as accessible as possible. Sure, gating this content for your own marketing purposes is perfectly fine. But hiding it until you get a sales person in front of them isn’t going to help your case. Sales can’t be the gate keeper of your information, marketing needs to get out in front of that and provide millennial buyers with as many data points in your favor as they can.

Conclusion

I’ve sat in meetings where the person across the table says to me, “ we don’t want to share our pricing with our competitors.” To which I respond, “do you have theirs?” They almost always respond in the affirmative. My response is always the same, “then they have yours, why hide it from potential buyers?”

Price is a data point, and cannot be overlooked when you’re filling in a potential buyer on whether or not they should work with you.

Millennials are often cast as the generation that doesn’t think, or uses emotions to guide their decisions. The data on that doesn’t support that theory, and should support how you market to them. Has this generation loved Apple advertising? Sure!

But if I ask around to all my fellow Mac users on why they buy Apple products it has nothing to do with an emotional connection. It’s because the products work, they interconnect and create an ecosystem, they last a long time, and their support is great. That doesn’t sound like a non-thinking decision.

When it comes to business decision making, the same holds true. Data is the main reason they do what they do, and so you have to reflect that. Because like your pricing, your competition is doing it, and if they’re not, now’s the time to get that leg up.

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Permission Marketing: Why User Consent Matters

Permission Marketing: why user consent matters

How to turn an interruption into a desirable resource.

If you think about most marketing you encounter day-to-day, you’ll notice that you didn’t ask for most of it. In fact, this is such a foregone conclusion for most people that the idea anyone would ask for someone to market to them seems almost laughable.

Advertisements interrupt the TV programming we watch, the music we listen to, and the articles we read. It fills our inboxes, brands our sports teams, and worms its way into product placements in block-busting Hollywood hits. If you’ve ever aggressively unsubscribed yourself from email lists, added your name to a “do not call” registry, or considered deleting your social media accounts, you already know how difficult weeding unwanted advertising from your life can be.

The problem is that marketing isn’t inherently bad. In fact, good marketing is a crucial part of our economy. The commercials interrupting your TV show also help pay for their programming. The advertisements to the side of the news article you read help the publication stay in business. And marketing campaigns that successfully connect a consumer to a product that they want performs a valuable service to the customer, while keeping businesses and the people who work for them employed.

Marketing is necessary, but it isn’t a necessary evil. The question is, how can we help marketing perform the service it was designed for without disrupting everyone’s lives? This is where the question of consent comes to play.

Permission marketing puts users in control.

Back in 1999, Seth Godin published his book Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers, in which he promoted the practice of obtaining consent from customers before marketing to them. This thinking has shaped a lot of modern digital marketing practices in ways we’ll get to in a minute.

But to clarify the premise, the idea behind permission marketing is that advertising to people who may not want to hear from you is fighting an uphill battle. Some people are never going to be customers, and the faster you can identify those people and leave them alone, the happier we’ll all be.

For instance, I used to routinely get calls from carpet cleaners offering me a great deal on cleaning the carpets in my home. The problem is: I only have wood floors. It doesn’t matter how great I think their brand might be, I will never be their customer.

On the other hand, I do have a select group of brands I explicitly want to hear from. I’ve signed up to their mailing lists, and despite culling my marketing subscriptions regularly, I still let their emails into my inbox. I almost always open them, and I often click on their links as well. Even if I don’t make purchases very frequently, I like being reminded of the brand, and I like to see what’s new from them.

What this has done is it’s allowed me to be selective about the messages that come my way, and it’s allowed these brands a safe way to build a relationship with me that will almost certainly lead to future sales. But all that is the result of asking my permission.

How to ask for marketing permission.

Once you start thinking about permission marketing in your own strategy, you may realize that many platforms have already taken a permission-first approach. Here’s a few places where marketing consent already is the norm.

Likes, follows, and subscriptions.

If you’ve created a brand page on a social media platform, then attracting followers is your way of growing a permission-based marketing stream. You focus on creating the kind of content your followers want to see, and they spread the word for you through their social networks.

Email marketing forms.

A lot of online content marketing is built on obtaining email addresses. When someone leaves an email address in exchange for a piece of downloadable content or access to a service, they’re opening the door for marketing communications from you.

However, this is only tacit consent rather than full consent, so if you’re emailing someone based on this, you should be looking for other triggers as well. And if someone stops visiting you or opening your emails, you should take that a sign that they no longer want to hear from you, and you should stop emailing them.

On the other hand, a double opt-in form moves from tacit to affirmative consent. In this situation, the customer not only leaves their email address, but then in your first email to them you ask to verify that they did actually intend to join your email list. You let them know what your list is for, and how frequently they can expect to hear from you. And you given them an easy way to withdraw consent (unsubscribe) when they’re ready.

Transparent cookie policies.

Finally, there are cookies. Web cookies can be a tricky subject, because many people misunderstand how they’re used. In some instances, web cookies are necessary for a website to function. In others, they’re a rather harmless tactic to provide your users with a seamless user experience.

Even in marketing contexts, web cookies are like a branded shopping bag: people can see where you were and change what advertisements they display on their site to match. But the website itself doesn’t follow you around.

That said, you can help your users understand cookies better by putting up a consent notice when they first visit your site. In some countries, particularly those that fall under the GDPR, that may even be a requirement.

But doesn’t permission marketing begin with an interruption?

There is, of course, a paradox about permission marketing. To get permission in the first place, you still have to draw attention to your business. Probably the only way that marketing is ever interruption-less is through organic search traffic, but most businesses need some kind of boost, particularly when they’re first starting out. It’s a little bit of a chicken-and-egg problem.

Well, all right. You have to get attention somehow. But when you do, think of it like an introduction rather than an interruption.

If you were at a social event, and you wanted to pass out some business cards, you could do it two ways:

1) You could shove your way into conversations, push your business cards on people who didn’t ask for them, cause a scene, and “make it rain” in the hopes that someone might pick up a card and decide you were someone they wanted to do business with.

OR

2) You could wait politely for an opening, introduce yourself by explaining who you are, what you do, and why a connection might be worthwhile, get to know the person you’re talking to, and then offer them your business card if you still thought you were a good match.

You want to be the latter, right?

Of course you do.

So yes. Permission marketing doesn’t happen spontaneously. You will have to make an introduction first. But if you do that by putting your users and their needs first, you’ll get a lot farther, and you’ll make more friends along the way.

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5 Easy Hacks for Business Owners to do Digital Marketing

It seems these days that small business owners have so much to do that they don’t have the time to spend on even the simplest digital marketing activities for their own company.

Most business owners consider allocating time for this task but feel overwhelmed because they are not sure what to do or the best way to do it. Should they add more to their website? How about social media?

The simplest answer is that there is value in almost anything you do when it comes to your digital marketing strategy, whether it is a short-term return or long term.

Content is Always a Good Answer

Company websites are often neglected because the idea of sitting down and writing about your business or industry may not excite you or you believe that you do not have the writing skills.

Let’s look at a few ideas to help you get over this hurdle.

Add an FAQ Page to Your Site

This is a quick and easy way to get very relevant content on your site that is useful to your customers and will be beneficial to Google.

Customers probably have sent you questions or requests for clarification. This information is almost readymade to copy and paste right onto that page. As you are thinking about these questions, think about your experience of what people have asked you before and add in a few lines to those as well. In very short order, you’ll probably have a full page.

Use a Transcription App

Sometimes you know you will be getting on a call to discuss a project or to answer some technical questions. Use your computer or tablet and while you are talking on the phone, have it transcribe as you are talking. You are not trying to record your client, this is just an easy way to get a lot of your knowledge down in writing.

On the same line of thinking, do you remember those earbuds that came with your phone? Plug them in and while you are driving, start talking out loud about your industry on such topics as:

  • Your process,
  • What makes you different from the competition,
  • The brands that you use, or
  • Why you only use these certain brands.

Some people can’t sit down and write 300 words but many of us can talk up a storm.

As an added recommendation, you may even want to find an inexpensive copy editor if you feel that this content is not suitable for the masses. Fiverr and Craigslist have plenty of people that will do this for very little money.

Images and Video From Your Cell Phone

With the prevalence of smartphones these days, everyone is nearly a professional photographer. You can turn the technology in the palm of your hand quickly into great content for your website and social media feeds.

Capture Images in Everyday Work

No, you are probably not a professional photographer. But, you probably see exactly what potential clients want to see about your business. Use that cell phone to capture everything you see for two days straight and sort through them later.

Images are useful and easy to upload to your website, Facebook, Google My Business, Yelp, GlassDoor, and more. Capture not only industry-related photos but moments around the office. Potential employees look at these images, too.

Take Videos During the Day

Video is extremely underutilized in every industry. You may see what it looks like to clean a dryer vent, but the general public never has – leverage that video into more views and brand awareness. Believe it or not, these can be impactful, even thirty seconds worth.

Digital Marketing Videos

Upload them to YouTube. Since most websites now make it easy, embed that YouTube video on your website. Upload it to Facebook. If you are unloading a six-foot tall tire off of a flatbed truck, lots of people will watch that. Especially if it’s not more than a simple click on your site.

Even if the quality is not exactly perfect, the public is forgiving to a point and it will not degrade your brand. Try it out for a week.

Answer Industry Questions Online

Do you have any idea how many people ask questions within forums online? Reddit, Quora, hobby communities, and others specialize just in answering questions. Even something as easy as searching Twitter can be a great place to answer questions, bring attention to your brand, and maybe even link back to your website.

Q&A for Marketing

Even as simple a question as the one above can be found in seconds. Answering these questions can help build links to your site, build your credibility in your industry online, and help promote your site and your company.

Utilize Others To Embrace Their Passions

You’d be Surprised What Employees Want to Do 

I generally find that when I want to get something done, I get someone else to do it for me. You have a workforce of people with skills you didn’t even realize. Sometimes they are looking to do something just a little different for a change. Offer them four hours to go around the office and get pictures of people at work.

Some of them may even have drones for aerial footage that they’d be happy to do instead of a delivery. When things are slow around your office, this is the perfect time to utilize people that would be genuinely interested in trying different things and maybe even get a little bit creative for you. You never know till you ask.

Contact Us for Your New Digital Marketing Strategy

Your digital marketing doesn’t have to be a chore. Let TheeDesign make it easy by creating a customized digital marketing plan for your business.

Contact the internet marketing professionals at TheeDesign in Raleigh, NC at 919-341-8901 or schedule a consultation to find out how your business can benefit from strategic digital marketing.

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