Marketing is not, despite what some might tell you, an exact science. What works for one company might not work for another, as there are no hard and fast rules. There are, however, some things you can do to increase your chances of marketing success. Here are eight best practices that can help take your marketing plan to a higher level.
Practice 1: Know your customers. The best marketing plans are targeted plans, and almost no company, with the exception of perhaps Amazon, has a target market of “everyone.” Understanding your customers will help you speak to them in a way that catches their interest and convinces them to do business with you.
Practice 2: Be consistent. Figure out what you want people to know about your business and keep repeating that message. You can say things in different ways, and your message can change as the business changes, but don’t keep switching messages in an effort to see which one resonates best. Consistency is the best way to get your message across.
Practice 3: Keep up with new options. There are always new marketing tools becoming available, and many of them can be valuable, particularly for smaller companies. Stay aware of the available options and don’t be afraid to try something new if it makes sense for your business.
Practice 4: Provide value. While many people think marketing is about self-promotion, the most successful marketing plans are about helping the customer, not promoting the business. Spend some time thinking about your customer’s pain points and how you can help solve those issues. Then tell your customers how you can help. It’s about them, not you.
Practice 5: Be where it matters. Social media “gurus” will tell you that everyone should be on Facebook, or that Instagram is the place where all-happening businesses advertise. The reality is that no business can, or should, be everywhere. Find out where your customers are, and go there, and concentrate on making your presence on that platform the best it can be. A stellar account on one platform is worth far more than mediocre accounts on five platforms.
Practice 6: Sell softly. If you saw someone on a street corner with a bullhorn shouting at people to buy his product, would you buy? Probably not, yet marketers do that sort of thing all the time, particularly on social media. While the ultimate goal is to bring in new customers, selling should always take a backseat to forming relationships. Those relationships are what will ultimately bring you sales.
Practice 7: Build relationships. It’s no accident that the first word in the phrase social media is “social." A successful social media marketing strategy should be much more about building trust and creating community than it should about selling and marketing. Creating connections is the fastest route to success.
Practice 8: Suit the message to the medium. Pinterest and Instagram are about pictures. Twitter has a character limit. Facebook offers a live video option. Make use of the strengths of each platform you’re on and tailor your messages to suit those strengths.
Find more tips from Shreve here.