Marketing Tips for Small Business: The Definitive Guide!
Don’t have the time or money to focus on marketing for your small business?
No problem. There are plenty of tactics and tips that you can use to get your business out to your customers without breaking the bank.
This article will break down some ideas for you to try that are inexpensive or even free!
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All You Need To Know About Having Customer Reviews on Your Website
For small business owners, continuously growing your online presence is everything, especially if you have an e-commerce site. After all, how can your potential customers find you if your business doesn’t come up in their searches?
Unfortunately, the battle to better market your product isn’t over after you’ve got the site up and running, and even then, there are still a number of things you have to take care of. One major contributor to boosting your sales, however, is customer reviews.
Whether you’re a solo entrepreneur trying to grow your online community, or the CEO of a seasoned tech company with dozens of software services, including customer reviews on your site is an essential part of e-commerce.
Here are three reasons publicizing customer reviews are a must-have on your site.
3 Reasons For Including Customer Reviews on Your Site
1. Customer reviews encourage sales through unbiased testimonies
Unsurprisingly, data shows that customers tend to trust other customers more than they would initially trust the company.
Testimonies from relatable consumers provide reliable insight into the product in a way the business is simply not able to. Reviews from other customers are viewed as more valuable to the fellow consumer than marketing efforts from the company.
2. Reviews build credibility and increase repeat customers
Small business owners know the importance of customer loyalty and how difficult it can be to establish that initial relationship.
You should know, that positive reviews make the majority of customers trust a local business more. Having established that credibility with the customer and after making that initial purchase, the customer is more likely to visit your site again.
According to some studies, repeat customers also have a higher conversion rate and spend more on average compared to new online shoppers.
Including product reviews on your site not only bring credibility to your business among new customers, but they also lead the way for repeat customers who have proven to spend more than new shoppers.
3. Customer reviews boost your SEO
Making it easy for consumers to find you online is not as simple as some may think. However, ranking high in search engine results pages (SERPs) allow small business owners to better market their site while competing with larger companies.
Boosting your search engine optimization, therefore, is a must. It requires regular fresh and unique content that goes beyond standard manufacturer descriptions. User-generated posts like customer reviews have the ability to provide this regular fresh, unique content which increases the chance of ranking highly in the SERPs.
How to Handle Negative Customer Reviews
When you open your e-commerce site to accept customer reviews, however, you will have to accept BOTH positive and negative reviews. This is a major fear that business owners have: the possibility of bad reviews.
It’s true that negative reviews have a huge impact on customers; most people will hesitate to purchase from a business that has negative online reviews.
Bad reviews come with the territory of e-commerce, and it doesn’t equate to running a bad business. However, this doesn’t mean that you don’t need to do anything.
You can take action when negative reviews are posted to your site. Here are a few suggestions on how to stay on top of poor reviews.
Reach out to the customer
It’s important to reach out to dissatisfied customers as soon as possible. Promptly responding to a negative review allows you as the business owner to attempt to restore the relationship.
Reaching out to the dissatisfied customer allows you to understand what went wrong, and offer them a possible solution so that you can open back up the possibility of continued business with them.
Additionally, promptly responding to a negative customer review is also publicly showing other customers you value their feedback and are working on a solution.
It is recommended you directly respond to the negative review on your public review platform so that other customers have a chance to see how you handle these situations and reinsert the customer loyalty that might be compromised.
Send a thoughtful response to your customer
It’s important you are thinking of the exact messaging you send your dissatisfied customer when crafting a response. Stay true to your branding style, but make sure you come off as a person invested in their trouble, not a corporation trying to put a band-aid over the incident.
Your customers will appreciate the efforts you make to get down to their level and view the experience as they did. Avoid sounding disinterested, disconnected, and defensive at all costs.
Follow up with the customer later on
Lastly, follow up with the customer on their experience to drive home the point that your company is genuinely interested in their business.
There may not be a simple resolution to the customer’s complaint, but it’s still important to make efforts toward at not leaving them with a bad taste in their mouth when it comes to your company.
This might not always end in their continued business, but it makes strides toward containing their poor experience rather than allowing it to spread throughout the community. As you know, reputation is key for small businesses, and keeping poor experiences contained is important to maintaining a good standing.
How To Start Featuring Customer Reviews on Your Website
Now you know why customer reviews are important — they can help your business thrive by using unbiased reviews to drive sales, help build trust and encourage repeat customers, and boost your SEO efforts.
The obvious follow-up question remains: how do you start putting customer reviews on your site?
The simplest first step in publishing customer reviews on your site is to integrate a reviews plugin on your e-commerce site. We recommend giving POWr Reviews a try.
Not only is it easy-to-use for non-technical business owners, you’ll also be able to seamlessly display and creatively control customer content appearing directly on your site.
Making this process as simple as possible will encourage the user to leave a review compared to something complicated and overly complex.
Next, follow up each purchase with a post-purchase automated email. On average, digital receipts sent through emails are opened 70.9% of the time, while marketing emails are only opened 17.9% of the time, according to TheGood.com. You can include promotions and discounts in this order confirmation email to highlight special sales and encourage users to return to your site.
Finally, don’t overlook the power of simply asking your customers for a review. Your customers understand that building your empire is a process, and taking a few minutes to leave a review is tremendously helpful. Lean on your customer, they may be more receptive than you can imagine!
How to Design a New Brand Identity for Your Business
Are you finding it hard to develop a brand identity? Or have you been falsely under the assumption that you fully understand the identity of your brand, even though it isn’t really clear to the general public?
Developing a brand identity is essential to the success of your business.
The Internet has more than 2.5 million active users on social media and more than 3 billion people access the web from their desktop computers, smartphones, tablets, and other devices.
Many of these people may be looking for your products and services, but they’ll never know your name unless you create a strong, trustworthy brand that customers can identify with.
Here is a simple three-step process to help you design a new brand identity.
1. Undergo a brand audit
Before you can begin redeveloping your brand, it’s time to step back, look closely at your current brand identity, and see how your current clients view your business. While you’re at it, to truly achieve success during the brand identity development stages, it’s also incredibly important to discover your ideal customer.
What drives the growth of your company? Is it a particular product or service? Why do customers buy this product or service? How do they view your company?
By taking time to answer these questions, you’ll be able to discover your ideal customer by determining what they find appealing about your business and the products and services you have to offer them.
Once you have determined this valuable information, you’ll be able to use it to craft a marketing message that your ideal target audience will respond to very positively.
We’re not done yet, though, because, now, you have to spend time performing competition analysis. Thoroughly review your competitors’ websites, check out their advertising, look at the brand identity they’ve created, see how they fare with search engine optimization and anything else you can think of.
By thoroughly analyzing the competition, you’ll be able to determine who you are competing against for valuable market share. This will help you differentiate yourself from the crowd and it will even help you determine the best strategies to employ to compete in your market.
If you’re wondering, “What should I choose as the PMS color for my logo?” Looking at your competitors’ color schemes can also provide valuable insight into this important decision as well.
So take time to conduct an audit of your own brand and the competition, and then use the valuable information you learn to develop your own corporate identity.
2. Develop your message and unique value proposition
In this next step, you’ll find it nearly impossible to achieve success rebranding your company if you fail to identify your core philosophies.
By core philosophies, we mean understanding your company’s values, which you’ll use to create a mission statement for your customers to understand and for your team to live by.
But that’s not all because you also have to figure out your brand value proposition and know what you have to offer your customers.
Once you’ve determined your core philosophy, mission statement, and unique value proposition, you’ll then be able to create a foundation that will allow you to build a brand representative of your company mission and what you’d like to present to the world.
As an example, let’s say you own an HVAC company in Miami, Florida. Your core philosophy could be that you never want your customers to go without air-conditioning for more than six hours. So, you’d have to work hard every day to make sure you repair your customers’ broken ACs quickly and efficiently.
In turn, your company’s unique value proposition could be 24/7/365 emergency air-conditioning services no matter if it’s early in the morning or the middle of the night.
You’ll set yourself apart from the rest of the competition by showing up to your customers’ homes when other HVAC companies are sleeping or eating dinner with their family or doing any number of other things besides repairing air-conditioners.
Your mission statement could be as follows:
At XYZ Miami HVAC Services, we vow to repair our customers’ air-conditioners no later than six hours after being notified of a problem. If it turns out our customer needs an entirely new air-conditioning system, we will provide a temporary AC unit until we install their new system. We promise to live up to our mission each and every day and will do our best to make sure our customers are always comfortable at home or work and they always have some form of air-conditioning keeping them cool day and night.
With a strong brand identity and the message such as this, your company will definitely stand out amongst other HVAC service providers and customers will begin flocking to you in droves. It’s inevitable as long as you live up to your mission and stick to your message.
3. Refine your brand identity
Now that you’ve discovered your value to potential customers, you should occasionally analyze your brand identity and make tweaks accordingly if it will help create a stronger business model.
You have to do whatever it takes to remain competitive in your market, so remember to check in from time to time and look at your unique value proposition.
Is it still unique? Or have many of your competitors adopted the same attitude? Is the competition now providing the same level of service?
If your current brand identity isn’t as unique as it once was, it’s time to make some changes. Refine the promises you make to your customers and do something new to stand out and attract their attention.
Your brand identity is much more than just a mission statement; it reflects your values, character, and the way you think, too.
As you can see, designing a new brand identity is crucial to the success of your business. Take this process seriously and follow the steps we’ve shared with you today. Once you’re through, you’ll have no trouble standing out in your market and you’ll be able to deliver unique value to your customers that they will truly appreciate.
8 Steps To Promote Your Website for Less (Or Even For FREE!)
The goal of every entrepreneur like you in the e-commerce market is to manage your budget, most especially in website promotion, and gain generous profits with the least expense.
After all, no matter how great your product or services might be, if your target market isn’t aware of it, you will never get the earnings you are aiming for.
One of the very real challenges in website promotion, therefore, is how to increase your traffic and gain customers. It entails a certain amount of resourcefulness and the success or failure of your online business will depend on the effectiveness of your promotional campaign.
The basic formula for the so-called “bottom line” applies: revenue less cost equals income.
If your revenue is greater than cost, then you earn a profit. Inversely, if cost is greater than revenue, then you’re in the red and losing.
Your focus, therefore, should be to market your website at minimal cost. But can it be achieved?
Website Promotion on a Budget: 8 Steps to Promote Your Website for Less (or Even Free)
There is no need to earmark a small fortune just to get your online business going.
A shoestring budget can be sufficient if you know how to strategize when it comes to website promotion.
Follow these steps to drive your online business forward and upward.
1. Use link-building strategies to rank on Google
If you want your page to rank high in the search results, you need to show Google that your page is recognized by other websites. One of the best ways to do this is by utilizing link-building. This practice involves you reaching out to numerous websites with similar content or keywords and having them add a hyperlink back to your website.
- Generally speaking, you are most likely to rank well in search results when these hyperlinks, known as backlinks, come from high quality, relevant websites.
- You can find those websites and monitor your backlinks with a link-building tool, such as Linkody. This tool offers a clear overview of SEO metrics and a fully automated backlink monitoring process.
- After discovering link building opportunities, reach out and ask for a link back to your website. Do this by emailing your prospects and offering them a backlink in return.
Remember that, the outreach process (contacting prospects) can be a very time-consuming process. Thankfully, there are several strategies to automate this process with a high success rate. You can read more on these link-building strategies in this guide.
2. Create awareness of your business through social media
Given the huge number of online businesses nowadays, you have to play your cards right and work around your limited budget in order to do effective website promotion.
Since you obviously have more time than capital, use it by utilizing the power of social media.
There’s no argument that having a social media network is a good start to promote any business endeavor. It will pay handsome dividends if you can spread the word and make as many people aware that your business exists. Creating awareness is the fuse that will light up your path to success.
3. Learn the tools of the trade
Don’t expect your business to flourish with sheer luck. It doesn’t work that way in real life, and definitely not in the online universe.
There are things to be learned in every industry even if you have the money to invest. What is more important is to invest time and energy learning the tools of the trade.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the widely-used tool that can exponentially increase the traffic of your website. Educate yourself to be able to acquire the skills necessary. If you’re determined to succeed, you should be as passionate to learn them all.
4. Bring the meat to authority sites
Visibility is the hallmark of success in the online marketplace, and you can magnify your online presence if you engage in content marketing.
It’s a proven method to build a following and gain popularity.
There are boundless opportunities if you bring the ‘meat’ of your business to authority sites like Quora.com and LinkedIn, among others.
Posting on these popular sites can do wonders without the need to dip into your pockets.
5. Play the referral game
In marketing, word-of-mouth is a recognized method to make strides in business.
Every satisfied customer is a potential marketing agent. It spreads like wildfire when your product delivers real value more than the actual cost.
In the online sphere, therefore, customer feedback is very important. Online customers online rely mostly on feedback from others which are perceived to be honest.
Any negative opinion could tremendously impact on business. This is the avenue where the performance of a website can be measured and the buy verdict is firmed up. So if you get a negative review, make sure to address it. You can’t afford to lose in the referral game.
6. Be a skillful blogger
Blogging is lending a personal touch which you alone can express in order to stimulate curiosity, if not responsiveness, among your potential customers.
It is also considered one of the best branding strategies in online marketing.
So when you are making your website, make sure it has a blog. Check out some of the best marketing blogs for reference.
Add content regularly and update the information you provide. Increasing website traffic, after all, is one of the benefits of a well-crafted blog.
7. Boost your business with infographics
Visual presentations are always vital in e-commerce. Online consumers are easily bored with dull and lame product presentations. They are captivated and able to digest information better if you use infographics.
You’re certain to derive benefits when your infographic is shared across social media portals. It’s another way to create brand awareness online without having to drown customers with tons of information. Just keep your infographic simple enough for them to capture your message.
8. Email blasting is still a viable alternative
If you compare email marketing to the first six steps listed here, it might appear it has outlived its usefulness. However, if you’re tight on the budget, any option to generate business is a welcome tool. Thus, there’s potential gain in email blasting. This tutorial will help you create your first email newsletter.
It would be wise to maintain an email list, even a small one. There are email management services that offer free email lists for startups. You start paying monthly fees only when your business has taken flight and meet a volume target.
Email marketing still works. You don’t have to take our word for it, try it out and see for yourself.
Know the Consciousness of Online Customers
The consumer shift to online shopping is taking its toll on department stores have given the declining customer traffic.
You can take advantage of this current trend by following the steps shared above to promote your website at the least cost possible. However, it is still important to analyze and study the consciousness of the online shopper who is now both discriminating and perceptive.
Employ the best marketing tools and strategies, and at the same time, make sure that your offers meet customer expectations. With great products and these steps to on implementing website promotion strategies wisely, you will soon see your bottom line improve.
7 Ways To Effectively Market Your Business
Website promotion is not a task that you should take lightly. This is going to be the platform through which you will engage your online customers and partners. It is like a new home for your business, and you need to ensure that it is appealing to everyone that visits it.
When you create a responsive website, it is important to note that almost nobody knows about it except you and the people that helped you to develop it.
You have to promote your website by taking it to your target audience. Before doing anything, keep the following facts in mind.
- You have to use ethical promotional methods no matter how much you want to make the site popular.
- Although there are many ways to promote a site, only a few will bring forth the desired results.
- You may have to use a combination of promotional methods to get the best results.
- You can always change the method of promotion if you feel that the one you are using is not working well.
You also need to know that technology is always changing and therefore, these methods may change too. For instance, the promotional methods that were popular a decade ago are not the same ones being used by successful online marketers. Here are the 7 sure methods that you can rely on.
1. Content marketing as an effective website promotion
By content marketing and sharing content online, you can easily make your website popular. What you need to do is to create content that your target audience what to see. You need to stimulate interest in a certain topic that is related to your site and make sure that people are talking and posting about it.
Content can be in any form ranging from articles and videos to images and other graphics. However, you also need to be careful with the kinds of content that you market. Avoid coming across as someone who is explicitly promoting a site because you will put off some people.
2. Social media marketing
Studies show that at any given time, there are billions of people who are active on social media. These users are spread across the globe meaning that regardless of the geographical area that you want to target, these platforms give you a ready audience. You only need to engage them by tapping into the endless opportunities that are presented to you.
You can also leverage the free tools that social media provides so you can do website promotion. You can easily increase website traffic by creating posts that ignite endless discussions.
You can then link these posts to your site.
3. Facebook ads
Apart from free usage, Facebook allows you to post ads. These ads appear in various sections of the website depending on the browser that one is using.
It is an effective strategy for website promotion because if someone liked what they see on the ad, they will definitely click on it and end up on your website.
The best part is that these ads are cheap. You can start a campaign for as little as five dollars. I addition to that, you can pay to sponsor your posts so that they appear to a wider audience. Usually, you can design the campaign based on your budget and the kinds of people that you are targeting.
4. Search engine optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) simply means making your website visible to the search engines. The people who do not know your website URL will be searching for information on search engines such as Google.
While at it, they will be likely to click on the result that has the best solution to their questions. Search engines often rank websites based on various algorithms.
Therefore, you have to make sure that the site ranks high so that anyone that searches for information finds it fast. SEO is a combination of design, content, links, and many other aspects.
5. Google search engine submission
Submitting content to Google search engine is another effective way to promote your website. Google has a simple way of submitting your website so that it can be ranked.
In addition to that, you can submit content that is relevant to your website.
The most important part is to follow the guidelines that have been laid down by the company because failure to do so may lead to penalties.
On the other hand, it is a free yet effective way to take your site to the people that need to see it.
6. Guest posting
Have you ever thought of guest posting on other people’s websites or blogs? If you thought it is a waste of time, you need to think again. When you submit a guest post, you will get a link back to your site, and a mention of what you do and what your site is about.
This means that when people read the post on the other website, they will be likely to click through to your link to know more about you and what you can offer.
The best approach is to only post on blogs that have lots of traffic and are reputable. Remember that people will always associate you with the websites that you link to.
7. YouTube videos
A simple video on YouTube can go a long way to make your site more popular. There are millions of people who watch videos on YouTube every day.
Without appearing to directly promote your site, you can come up with a video that they will want to watch over and over again.
You can then ask them to go to your website to find out more, or simply include your URL in the video description.
Clearly, promoting your responsive website should not be a difficult task once you know some of the most effective methods to do it. Just be consistent with the method that you use in order to make people know how serious you are when it comes to website promotion.
In your approach, be sure to customize some of these methods so that they suit your specific business type. You may even want to fuse several promotional methods to come up with one that is uniquely yours.
Trends in Digital Marketing for Small Businesses
As a small business owner, you should know the importance of focusing on customer retention and business growth. It can be done through marketing.
For example, 75% of small businesses currently believe that digital marketing — complete with a responsive web design — is the best and most effective way of attracting new customers.
According to research, 37% of these businesses planned to increase their online marketing budget because it’s a rapidly changing industry.
With the continued advancement of technology, it can be difficult and be challenging to stay up-to-date on the latest trends. In that regard, here are the top trends this year in digital marketing for small businesses.
1. Fully-customized email marketing
Undeniably, email marketing is one of the best and most effective tools when it comes to internet marketing.
In fact, sending out emails every month, particularly those that are both promotional and informational is nothing new.
However, not every small business has consistently implemented this practice. As a small business owner, it will be good for your growth to send a number of creative and personalized emails every day if you want to take your business to the next level.
2. Cheaper marketing automation
There are many ways to create stunning emails, which will help you as a small business owner, to stand out. When it comes to automation, sending automated emails is also critical if you want to stay relevant.
There are many tools that you can use to send automatic emails to all your newsletter subscribers or to users who make purchases from your website.
3. Mobile marketing is on the rise
Mobile marketing is so ingrained nowadays that it is no longer an option not to have it. Google has even started penalizing sites that are not optimized for mobile use.
It’s therefore important to optimize the mobile version of your site. There are many tips on how to make your website mobile friendly.
4. Increased advertising investment
This year alone, businesses are predicted to spend more than $10 billion in all fields of digital marketing compared to last year.
Small businesses, therefore, should also be considering how much they need to set aside for avenues, such as video marketing, re-targeting, pay-per-click advertisements, and much more.
If you are running a small business, increasing your advertising investment can help increase your chances to generate more awareness of your site, leading to increased sales.
5. The look of various search engines is constantly changing
It’s important to be aware that Google is currently indexing Twitter, and Facebook is also testing its own search engine. Even Pinterest has already expanded its own algorithm by simply incorporating “guided searches.”
Because of that, this is the right time for any small business to make sure it has a strong online presence, especially on social media.
6. Social networks are becoming bigger
Twitter and Facebook are the most common social networks these days, but there are also other necessary social media platforms you need to be on as well.
There’s LinkedIn, as well as Instagram, Snapchat, or Pinterest.
However, social networks aren’t just a one-size-fits-all solution. Just like any other marketing efforts you deploy, you will need to invest some efforts in determining the social network that will work best for your small business.
7. Content will always continue to be king
Virtually, everything you do online can qualify as content marketing, especially if it’s done with the aim of providing information and building the strong trust with prospective and current customers.
The internet users’ appetite for useful, entertaining content continues to grow. Consistently, customers respond to unique and quality content that provides them with informative news or entertainment value, but bear in mind that customers aren’t the only people who demand new and quality content.
In fact, search engine algorithms are specifically designed to hold several different marketers to higher standards of quality; they reward high-quality content with higher rankings in search results.
These are just a few top trends in digital marketing this year. Any small business owner worth his salt should know these so as not to get left behind.
How To Create An Effective Social Media Content Strategy
Having an online presence nowadays, especially on social media, is crucial to the success of any business.
An online presence doesn’t only mean having a responsive website, but a content strategy in place as well.
According to research, over 80% of B2B marketers have their own content marketing strategy, but just a third of them have documented it. In practice, creating a functional content marketing plan will require meaningful effort and time.
Having a carefully thought-out and perfectly planned strategy for your content can really help you. In that regard, the following tips will guide you in creating a content strategy for social media.
1. Define your goals
It’s very important to know what you want to achieve from your social media platforms. Avoid skimping on the details when it comes to your social channels — try to be more specific.
One of the first steps in this phase is to identify your target market. Knowing that very important detail will help you achieve your goal.
Always keep in mind as well that every social media platform is different and comes with a different audience too. Thus, when you are defining your goals, create separate expectations for each social media channel you are on.
2. Research your competitors
Just a little recon can take your brand to a higher level. For instance, knowing what your competitors are doing on various social media can result in lots of information — including what you should do and what you should avoid.
Even finding the holes that your competitors have yet to discover is important, too, so you can react positively and accordingly.
3. Hone your brand’s identity
Social media offers great platforms to reinforce branding. However, you would not get far if you don’t know what your brand really is.
Knowing what unique voice, story, and other angles of your business is a critical step to take before you start creating content.
Just as your company image and your visuals tell a lot about your brand, so does your social media, too.
Among others, this means choosing the perfect cover photo for your social media accounts; after all, it’s one of the first things that people will see about you.
Additionally, the visuals you share on various platforms need to be in line with one another and deliver a consistent message. This will help build brand recognition and trust with your social media followers. Sharing informative blog posts, branded links, and user-generated content will also help to solidify trust.
4. Determine resource allotment
It’s also necessary to determine how much you are ready and willing to invest in your social efforts. For example, you can pay to promote your posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
You can also buy premium accounts to be able to schedule your social media posts. Having an online business, after all, means spending money to earn money.
Finally, you also need to consider whether you need to hire a professional to help manage your social accounts. Time is money, and if you can have someone take over on managing your social accounts means freeing you up to do other things.
Considering all these will help you to effectively budget your content strategy allocation for the year.
5. Analyze and optimize your content for best results
Just scheduling your content and answering comments isn’t enough when it comes to creating a great content strategy for your social media.
You will need to pay more attention to how your social posts perform on various platforms if you want to be successful.
Keep in mind that most social networking platforms provide insights and analytics for business pages. You should analyze them on a regular basis in order to fully understand what is popular and what is not.
This will help you optimize your online content and see your numbers and reach increase.
6. Always monitor your content (posts and updates) and reply to comments
When it comes to social media, you need to actively engage with your audience at least every day. An important part of having active social channels is replying to all questions, feedback, comments, and more.
You should always know there is no interaction that is too small — appreciating someone for retweeting or sharing your content, for example, could possibly earn you a great loyal follower.
7. Decide which social channels to be on
With the number of social networks nowadays, it’s important to decide which ones you should focus on for your business. If you already have one, you should consider whether you need another or not.
After all, signing up for a social network means investing time and money, and you need to decide which to prioritize.
Aside from social media, starting a blog is also another thing to think about when creating a content strategy. Using Facebook for marketing or Twitter is fine, but it’s also important for your business to have a blog.
All these pointers can help you establish your online presence. When you have a responsive website, creating and implementing a great content strategy for social media would be the next step.
Don’t forget to create a unique, attractive content relevant to your business, and your target audience will surely love you and be loyal to your brand.
Sales and Marketing Mistakes to Avoid in 2019
Sales and marketing are to a business as oxygen and water are to any living being. Both components are important to a business for survival and are also necessary for success. Essentially, they’re the lifeblood of the entire operation.
This means that if either sales or marketing fail in a business, the overall performance and efficiency of the entire system is affected.
Things like management information systems are, of course, put in place to prevent as many errors as possible. Even with the help of cross-departmental training and artificial intelligence-heavy software, though, there is no way to accurately predict business problems.
However, if you could avoid some major mistakes from happening altogether, why wouldn’t you?
We don’t have a fix-all solution but we think we can, at the very least, prevent a few hindrances from happening. Here’s a list of three common mistakes your business should avoid in sales and marketing.
Staying in Reactive Mode
Too many businesses settle for good enough when they could be doubling or tripling their growth. In order to see these kinds of results, businesses must continually be implementing new plans and strategies to see growth.
A key indicator a business is complacent is if they are in reactive mode. This is not to say reactive modes are inherently bad, as they are typically the results of previous success; however, if businesses remain in reactive mode too long, they will effectively miss opportunities to growth their business.
It’s for this reason companies must have a plan in place to manage business growth.
Misalignment of Activities
Your teams have goals to reach. Whether it’s to sell 10,000 units by the end of the month or pump out 100 pieces of content within the same time frame, there’s always something on the horizon.
The point being, both teams have different approaches for reaching the same goal, so it is important to have their activities reflect this. However, when goals fail to align, a lot of money can be lost.
In fact, a recent study ran by Marketo shows that this type of misalignment can cost a company an estimated 10% of annual revenue.
So what can we do?
For starters, communicate.
Communication between departments should be a top priority so everyone can figure out and prioritize which goals are necessary for success and how they can be implemented.
Make sure you or a trustworthy medium is around to facilitate talks, though. Here are a few ways to improve departmental communication.
Speaking with team members lays the solid foundation necessary for fixing alignment activities and so does technology.
Sales enablement tools can benefit your company’s alignment process by allowing your whole company to collaborate together and update the structure of your selling process. They also provide valuable resources helpful for strategic marketing activities.
Faulty Decision Making
According to an article published by Seapointe Center, there are 4 different types of decisions, and it’s important to know which steps to take for each of them.
A low-risk decision can be made by one person while a riskier decision may require group input or has to be made as a team.
Examples of these types of decisions could be something as simple as deciding which brand of pen to order for the office or something more complex like hiring a new employee.
It’s sometimes forgotten that different processes are required for different decisions — and unfortunately, that increases the margin of error to a dangerously high level. One bad executive decision can cripple more than just a company.
Both market and non-market stakeholders are directly affected by decisions made by businesses every day, so it is imperative to not only know how to avoid bad decisions but to also make good ones.
In short, being aware of decision-making processes is not enough. Situations should be assessed accordingly and proper action is needed in order to come to a sound consensus. The best decisions are the ones that benefit all parties involved.
The sales process is the most intricate dance a business can possibly do. It requires persistence, persuasion, and timing to close a deal.
The worst mistake any sales or marketing team can make is to blanket the sales process. That means treating every customer or prospect exactly same.
Everyone is different. They have different tastes, different values, and different needs, so no two should be approached the same way.
Sure, there are similarities between people. You might even construct different approaches to handle situations centered around generalities, but never try to create a one-size-fits-all approach.
Only 27% of leads generated by marketing are ready to buy. And yet, sales teams are taught to push each prospect into buying, rather than nurture the appropriate ones until the time is right.
To avoid blanketing your sales process, train your sales reps to divide prospects by rank. Some prospects may be a conversation away from buying your product, while others may have just come to the realization that they need your product.
Having them categorized accordingly is easier for anyone on the sales team to point out which prospects can be closed on, and which ones need to be cradled a bit longer. With proper training, your sales reps can combat anything.
Pulling It All Together
A problem-free environment only exists in a fairytale world, which means your business must keep an eye out for common mistakes in order to keep yourself ahead of your competitors.
Make sure that you and your team keep track of the types of decisions that are being made and note how they impact marketing and sales operations. As mentioned earlier, issues stemming from faulty business decisions can impact more than just the organization.