You’ve learned so much in your first years of business, but you also know that there is so much more to be learned as time goes on — and you need to be sure you’re updating your company’s policies and procedures accordingly. While this is a valid concern in terms of safety, business practices and how to deal with vendors, it’s also something that you need to think about when you consider marketing. Is your current marketing strategy still working for you or has it begun to tap out? What are some ways that you can switch up and optimize your marketing strategy?
To Understand the Audience, You Must BECOME the Audience
Sometimes all you need for a fresh perspective is to see the world through the eyes of your target audience. You already know your products and services inside and out, but what about your customer base? What is it about your products that they love, like or loathe? One fantastic way to figure this out is to perform observational research for marketing purposes. Does that sound scary and evoke images of white lab coats and syringes? Nope, leave those horror stories in the sci-fi section. Hiring a marketing specialist is an extremely helpful resource; these professionals can conduct research, understand the results and create new campaigns based on collected data.
Observational research can come in a few different categories, but the three most common types are:
Participant observation. Think of a nature documentary when you consider this kind of research; you are observing your customers in their natural habitat (e.g.: your business). The plot twist is that the marketing specialist acts as a “secret shopper,” so to speak, and gauges customer reactions by interacting with them in a specific manner to report back to you.
Controlled observations. This is your lab coat-type setting. It’s not scary, though, it’s interesting! In these settings, researchers can control the variables like the location, sample participants, time of day and all kinds of goodies. Basically, the researcher is looking to see how the clients react to products and situations surrounding your company.
Naturalistic observation. Bring back your nature documentary mindset because with this kind of research: All you do is watch your customers’ behavior inside your business. What products are they drawn to and which do they ignore? Have you noticed that a specific age group tends to have a higher demand for specific items?
Social Media: More Than Memes
Even if you can’t stand the idea of using social media in your personal life, it’s a different story for your company. In August 2018, 77% of small businesses were using social media for marketing. Take advantage of the social media demographic and get your company shown off to the world.
- Facebook wields a lot of power in the marketing realm: With options like ads, analytics and specific groups, there are so many ways to use the social media giant to promote your company.
- If brevity is your thing, Twitter is a fun platform to make a statement to the world in 160 characters or less. Do you have a fun fact, inspirational quote or teaser announcement? Let Twitter be the place to do that.
- They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, so let the words start flowing without typing one at all by making an Instagram post. If showing and not telling is your preferred method of advertising, then this might be your new favorite marketing tactic.
Remember to be smart when you’re using social media for business, though. Too many times businesses fail to do enough research, make an off-color joke or misuse slang, resulting in a cringy and devastating marketing fail. Be smart and use common sense when you’re creating your social media posts. If you think that it’s a better idea to let someone else take control of that task, consider hiring a social media manager to manage your business’s accounts.
Email and Text To Spread the Word
With so many methods of communication these days, using email and text messages to help promote your business is a logical step. Although some people ignore this kind of marketing and send them straight to the spam folder or block the number, there are reasons for why they do that. What are some ways to prevent your email marketing from ending up trashed?
- Fluff and filler are boring and you learn nothing from them, so a “newsletter” that is actually nothing but few buzzwords is a total waste of time. Make sure your content is lively and interesting, something that people want to read that they can also learn something from.
- Keep it relevant. If you run a window-washing company and send out a mass text encouraging your customers to buy cheese, how is that helping your company? Don’t send out communication for the sake of sending it; make every text or email you send to your clients thoughtful and to-the-point.
- Tease promotions and sales in text messages, providing coupon codes and referral incentives. Text messages tend to be a better place than email for those kinds of things since texts are usually more readily accessible and are only a couple of taps away. Texts can also be great for reminders: “Don’t forget that Wednesday is the last day of our flash sale, bring a friend for extra savings!”
Staying on track is key when you’re sending promotional texts and emails. Remember to keep it brief, on-topic and interesting so as not to lose viewers.
Making a change can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. Do research of your own when you’re deciding to launch a new marketing campaign to ensure that you’re doing the best thing for your business. If you feel overwhelmed, there are many resources available from hiring a marketing specialist to asking for help managing your social media accounts. Remember, you need to keep moving in order to stay relevant. Customers and clients’ needs change over time, which means that you need to keep up with those changes too.