If you stand still, you will eventually get left behind.
That’s accepted logic in all walks of life; from Olympic long-distance runners to the business world. If you neglect to be progressive, dynamic and seek continual improvement, at some point your competition will leave you trailing in the dust.
For many businesses and industries, the marketing mix has changed beyond all recognition in recent years thanks, largely, to new and exciting technologies, and the truth is that for most firms embracing new tech is essential in promoting products and services and in remaining ‘visible’ to new and existing customers.
For those seeking some guidance on how to keep your business relevant in the 21st century, some pointers are included below.
Spread the Word
In the ‘olden days’, you would advertise your business in local media, such as newspapers and radio, and hope for the best.
These days, the concept of marketing has changed somewhat, and now it makes sense for the vast majority of businesses – no matter what your market sector is – to take the plunge, if you haven’t already.
A key place to start is to advertise online with the world’s leading search engine, Google. Here you select a keyword(s) to promote in relation to your company, and then decide how much you want to budget. This is known as Pay Per Click advertising, and research shows that Google Ads can make revenue of $2 for every $1 spent. Where else can you get an ROI like that?
If you want to get to the top of Google’s ‘organic’ search listings for a particular phrase or keyword, that’s a process known as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which is an industry within itself.
In this modern age, there isn’t a better way to connect with your customers – and source potential new ones – than with social media.
There’s a lot more to Facebook than posting pictures of what you ate for dinner, and Twitter can be a whole heap more useful than stating your opinions on the game in a pithy 140 character rant.
Strong posts will gain traction in this digital environment, which increases your visibility, and if you can achieve the golden goose of online marketing – going ‘viral’- then you can expect interest in your firm to increase exponentially.
If it’s relevant to your market sector, consider the power of user-generated social media content. Not only will it save you the time and legwork, it will also engage your customer base too. Consider the example of ASOS and their #AsSeenOnMe feature, where their followers post pictures of them in outfits purchased from the brand. Could this strategy work for your business?
Something for Nothing
Let’s face it: we all enjoy getting a little extra bang for our buck. Offering your customers a deal where they get more than they bargained for is an excellent way to generate word-of-mouth business.
These can be really simple too, from ‘buy one, get one free’ type offers and free delivery on orders over $50, for example, to time-sensitive sales like Black Friday. These deals are as old as time, but increase the sense of value that a customer feels when making a purchase.
They are perfect for online marketing, too. Think about initiatives like Amazon Prime, where for a monthly fee, customers can access exclusive content and deals, as well as unlimited free delivery.
Another great example comes from the world of online gaming, where firms like Buzz Bingo will offer bonus funds, free spins and cashback offers, when players deposit a given amount.
If you can add perceived value for the customer, your conversion rate will surely increase.
One of the biggest avenues for promoting your business online also happens to be free.
YouTube is used by nearly two billion people worldwide every month, according to Business Insider, and while some of those only visit the site to watch videos of dancing cats, there is clearly a fantastic scope there to widen your customer base.
Consider starting your own series of video blogs on the platform, particularly if you have some expertise to share or operate in a popular niche market.
Giving is Good
One promotional strategy that can really get people talking about your business is a giveaway or prize draw.
It’s a fantastic way to create brand awareness and facilitate interaction with new and existing customers; and if you can tailor the giveaway to coincide with major world events, so much the better.
The Power of Testimonial
Here’s an eye-opening statistic linked to a survey conducted by Dimensional Research, as seen on ShootingBusiness: ‘90% of respondents who recalled reading online reviews claimed that positive online reviews influenced buying decisions.’
We all know about sites such as TripAdvisor and Yelp, where businesses are rated by members of the public.
But utilizing your own customer testimonials is key in building trust and affirming the quality of your products and services. If recorded in video form – remember, much of your audience will be adept at streaming video on their various devices – these can be extremely powerful.