Do you aim to become a successful marketer and build brands? Then before you begin the journey, ask yourself a simple question. What business am I in?
I know the question may seem quite strange to your ears, but let me explain. The reason why many marketers fail to achieve their goals is because they lack industry knowledge. You need to have a strong grasp on current industry and market trends to come up with an effective marketing plan.
Whether you want to develop a marketing plan for your own startup or intend to develop a plan for a client, you need to have clear goals. Before proceeding, find the answers to the following questions. Trust me, social media marketing will get much easier for you.
- What is the purpose of the business?
- Am I selling a product or a service?
- Why do I want to run a social marketing campaign?
- Which resources are available for marketing?
- Should I use traditional marketing along with social media marketing?
Picture this scenario.
You run a small business and offer services to customers, let’s say web development services. You recently learned about the benefits of digital marketing and chose Facebook platform to promote services and gain clients. Before thinking anything else, you jump onto the platform and invest money in running ads. But the efforts go in vain when you notice the investment didn’t generate sufficient ROI.
So, why did the social marketing campaign fail despite the investment of huge resources?
The answer is simple. There was no effective plan to make the campaign fruitful. This is why it’s important to be clear about your industry and goals before taking action.
Know Your Business
It’s easy to start a business. You have to choose a product that not only attracts you, but also has a market demand. Then you need to come up with a business plan and gather sufficient resources and bam! You are ready to become an entrepreneur. But is it enough to survive in today’s competitive market?
Every entrepreneur strives to make their business a success. While it’s no piece of cake, you can achieve this goal through an effective plan.
The first step is to understand every aspect of our business. From suppliers, to customers, market trends, legalities, and marketing avenues, you ought to understand how your business works. You can make better decisions if you know your business well. Let’s have a look at certain aspects of business marketing that are crucial for every business.
Know Your Customers
A business cannot survive without customers. Whether you specialize in selling products or services, you need to offer products that solve specific problems of customers. When they purchase these solutions, your business will earn revenue that is crucial for supporting operations.
Therefore, you need to know who your ideal customers are. When you know their lifestyle, preferences, and interests, and demographics, you can better promote products.
From market segmentation to developing buyer persona, there are several strategies to identify ideal customers. We will discuss these strategies in more depth in the 6th chapter.
Customers are the vital stakeholders for your business and you can’t ignore them. When you understand who your customers are, you can offer products or services that meet their needs. With the help of top-notch customer service and quality products, it’s possible to gain their trust and build lasting relationships.
Marketing isn’t only about aggressively advertising your products and forcing customers to give them a try. What’s more important is to focus on building relationships. Most customers prefer purchasing brands they trust.
Take the example of a salesperson in a hardware shop. When a customer wants to buy a product, the salesperson can earn their trust by guiding them about which brand or product would be suitable for their needs. Knowing that the business cares about customers, they would return to the shop whenever they need hardware supplies.
The modern social media marketing isn’t much different. Through your social media page, you can interact with customers to answer their queries and share valuable information. When they start trusting you, they become loyal customers. They may also become brand promoters by recommending your business to their social circle.
The term customer engagement is often associated with social marketing, but it has been a part of marketing for ages.
Brick and mortar stores used to keep customers engaged through personal interactions. For instance, a small business owner would talk to in-store customers to ask for their opinion about products. They would conduct surveys and short interviews to understand their problems and further improve quality. Suggestion boxes have always been present in stores so customers could share their suggestions.
The concept of customer engagement is still the same, but social marketing has made it easier for businesses to increase engagement. They can set up social media profiles and post informational content to educate customers.
Social platforms facilitate customers to interact with a brand through private messages or comments on posts. They can easily share their suggestions and ideas as well as the issues they faced when interacting with the business. Through regular interactions, your brand stays on top of mind of customers and they are likely to stay with you in the long run.
Brand goodwill is an invaluable asset. Through a good reputation, businesses can gain a myriad of benefits such as more customers, power to negotiate better rates with vendors, lower interest rate on credit, and much more. An effective way to establish goodwill is through positive customer reviews which aren’t possible without exceeding customer expectations.
Since before the advent of modern business methods, people have relied on word-of-mouth technique to choose a product. This is still very much in practice. When you need new shoes, you may ask your friends which product out there is the best. This is the oldest form of customer review and endorsement. Digital media has made things much easier.
Customers can now easily share their feedback or reviews via the business website, Yelp, or other social profiles. Any person looking for similar products can go through these to make up their mind.
Leads are prospective customers who have a particular interest in the market offerings of a firm. The company collects information of those potential customers and designs a strategy to capture their attention.
No matter how large your business and how much resources you have, you can’t promote your products to each and every individual or business out there. It doesn’t make sense!
What you should rather do is to specify your audience and put in the effort to convert those people into customers. And this can’t be possible through lead generation.
Traditional marketing relied on personal interactions for generating leads. Salespeople would go door to door to promote products. Companies often sent direct mails to potential customers. Furthermore, networking events, radio or TV ads, pamphlets, and customer surveys were extremely helpful in this regard.
The purpose of lead generation didn’t change with time. What really changed are the methods through which marketers perform this task.
The internet has modernized lead generation. Businesses can now easily create a lead generation form through MailChimp or other online tools. The link to this form can be shared with customers via email, social media or website. And customers are offered incentives in exchange for their contact information. This information enables marketers to send personalized offers and information to interested customers.
Social platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn also offer businesses to run targeted ads for lead generation purposes.
Always remember that your business isn’t the only business in the industry. With so many business people working hard to succeed, you can’t ignore the competition. After all, businesses that simply ignore the tactics of their competitors tend to fail down the road.
Remember what happened to Yahoo? They were once the leading internet company around the globe. In 1998, a new small business entered the market, named Google. The founders offered to sell the company to Yahoo in 1998 for a meager sum of $1 million. But the tech giant refused the deal. In 2006, they had another chance to buy another emerging company, Facebook. However, the CEO rejected the deal again.
What happened then? Yahoo made bad decisions because it ignored the great potential of new market entrants. If they performed effective competitor analysis, they could come up with better strategies to retain their market share in the tech world.
The conclusion of this scenario is that businesses must be aware of their competitors, no matter how small they are. There are several techniques such as Porter’s Five Forces Model through which a company can evaluate and analyze its competitors. We will discuss these strategies in Chapter 7.