Top Five Marketing Strategies
November 5, 2009
Marketing is not as difficult as many people think. Virtually anyone can be good at marketing if they follow some very simple strategies.
Firstly you need to forget 95% of what is written in textbooks. Textbooks are usually written by people that may have a good academic grasp of marketing, but rarely by people that market businesses for a living. Textbooks are good if you want to pass exams but it’s a bit like learning to drive. You take lessons to enable you to pass your driving test; and in the UK you are not allowed on motorways until you pass your test. You then gain experience of motorways and all the other things encountered in the real world.
What you need to market your business are strategies that work in the real world.
Most people’s immediate response to marketing is to think advertising. I’m not saying that advertising never works… but it is true to say that most advertising doesn’t work.
So what strategies work?
There are literally hundreds of marketing strategies that work. Over 100 strategies are free to implement and hundreds more only cost a few pence.
So what are the Top Five Marketing Strategies?
1. Free PRThe most important PR channel is the media release but it isn’t the only one. Media Releases don’t take long to write and can be emailed to journalists worldwide. In other words they are effectively a free means to bring your business to the attention of newspapers, magazines, trade press, websites, radio and TV worldwide.
There are quite a number of other PR opportunities you can use and most of them are effectively free also. Think about writing to newspapers, magazines and trade press. Letters to the Editor can enhance your credibility, raise the profile of your business and lead to numerous opportunities… and sales.
You might also consider product launches, official openings, open days, events and exhibitions. Most of these are low cost but beware exhibitions.
Exhibitions can be very effective but most few businesses get the best from them and many ends up with few customers and a huge bill
2. Obtaining your Prospects and Customers Contact Details… and effectively using them again and again
Do you know the names of your existing customers and how to contact them?
How many times do people visit shops, exhibitions, websites etc and leave without a trace?
These are people that were interested enough to visit and perhaps buy and could buy in the future if you use the correct marketing strategy.
These are valuable people. You need to harvest their contact details. Think of it like this; they have made the effort to buy, enquire or visit so are interested in what you have to offer.
What do you think will happen if you send them some helpful advice, a discount voucher, a free offer or something similar? There is a good chance they will buy from you.
The secret of success here is to devise a strategy to obtain their contact details.
One of my clients has laptop on his counter and offers a discount voucher if customers type their email address into the laptop.
My local restaurant puts a comments slip in with the bill and offers people the chance to go into a monthly draw for a free meal for two. As well as gaining valuable feedback he also collects contact details of those completing the slip.
You need to implement a means of keeping in contact with customers and prospects.
3. Testing and Measuring Marketing Response Rates
Testing and Measuring response rates is a fundamental marketing skill but is isn’t difficult.
As indicated earlier I have severe reservations about advertising. New clients tell me they spend hundreds of pounds on adverts with Yellow Page and Yell.com and don’t get good response rates.
Other people tell me that their newspaper adverts don’t bring many responses.
These are people are really fortunate …… because they know what response they are getting. They can either stop advertising or improve their adverts.
Many people don’t know what results their advertising is bringing. If you don’t know how effective your advertising is you need to either stop immediately or check your results.
Testing and Measuring doesn’t only apply to advertising. You need to test and measure every marketing strategy and channel you use. Look at your website, adverts, flyers, brochures etc. Test different headlines, photographs, colours, calls to action… test everything to see what works best. If it doesn’t work stop it!
4. Multi-Channel Marketing
Multi-channel marketing is a really important concept and can be summed up by the phrase “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”.
Think about it this way. If you put all your time and money into advertising, or any other marketing channel, and it doesn’t work you have a real problem. Of course you need to test an measure but you also need to market in more than one way.
As a minimum you need to market via at least 6-8 different channels. It could be your website, flyers, telesales, media releases, PR, referrals, networking etc. What you choose will depend on your business and what works for you and you need to plan your channels in a marketing plan. I don’t mean 100+ pages… a good marketing plan can be just a few sides of A4.
Currently I’m using over 40 marketing channels that are either free or low cost and I encourage my customers to do the same.
New clients often ask me what marketing channel they can use to get 30 new customers a week. My answer is that I don’t know of any that can guarantee to do so…. But I can recommend ten channels that will each bring in 3 customers.
It is really important to spread risk and use as many channels as you can manage. Each can then contribute to your marketing success.
5. Make full use of E-marketing
Most traditional marketing experts have little idea of how to use e-marketing and this gives you a real advantage. It means that whatever the size of your business you can out compete competitors of all sizes.
For example I have already said that, in my experience and that of many of my new clients, most advertising doesn’t work. However there is a form of advertising that does work extremely well and it is called Pay Per Click. An example of a PPC system is Google Adwords and it is extremely low cost if used correctly. I have heard some people say they have spent a fortune using PPC and had poor results but let me give you an example of a campaign I put together for a client recently. We were promoting a Tennis Academy and had 16 responses in a week. Now 16 may not seem a huge number but their target recruitment is just 15 people per year. Multiple 16 by 52 weeks a year and you can see it is a good result. The cost to get 16 responses was just £1.23… i.e. less than 8 pence per response.
What this demonstrates is how small businesses can out compete multinationals. The fact is most large companies haven’t worked out how effective PPC is and don’t exploit the opportunities. They end up paying a lot of money and get few customers from the exercise.
A PPC campaign can be set up in about 10 minutes and can be online immediately. Results can start rolling in within minutes and you can stop the campaign at a moments notice if you wish. No other form of advertising is capable of this and PPC is something you need to investigate.
PPC is not the only E-marketing method you can use to out compete large competitors. There are automated systems that will gather email addresses and send out reports, newsletters, audio or video clips. They can be used on websites to great effect and you are probably reading this report because you subscribed to one of these systems on my website.
You can also ensure your business appears on Google Maps; Google make no charge for this. Or you could improve the ability of your website to be found by the search engines or use blogging as a means to get more people to visit your website.
Once people are on your site you can use sell them products and services via a shopping cart – Amazon makes £millions doing this and you can use the same techniques – you can even use Internet Upselling to increase your sales and profit from existing customers.
There are many more strategies
The above are just a few of the e-marketing techniques I am recommending to my clients on both sides of the Atlantic. There are literally dozens of similar strategies you can use and most of them are free or very low cost.
Some of the simplest strategies take a few minutes to implement, cost absolutely nothing but can increase your sales by 200-300%.
These are strategies you just cannot afford to ignore
My bonus newsletter will give details of hundreds of proven marketing techniques that you can apply to grow your business. Watch out for them in your email inbox. Like hundreds of my strategies my newsletters are free so you have nothing to lose… and plenty to gain.
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