I have a very simple view on business. I believe every business is just a collection of systems, systems being the procedures you execute every day that make your business run.
Marketing is one of these systems—one that I argue is the most important system to the growth of your business.
The problem, however, is that so many business owners are scared or intimidated by the idea of marketing. The prevailing thought is that it takes some sort of specific creative genius to execute an effective marketing campaign.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. While some creativity is necessary, if you think of marketing like a system, you can remove much of the mystery from it. All you have to do is make your way through the steps and you’ll have a campaign that will help you reach more leads and convert them into customers at a higher rate.
Follow these seven simple steps to market your business effectively.
Define Strategy First
How do you find more customers? The first step is knowing what kinds of customers you’re looking for. To begin this process, you must truly understand what makes your best customers tick.
So go ahead and ask them a few questions. Ask what they find most valuable about your business, and why they keep coming back time after time. The goal is to uncover something that not only all of your best customers find valuable, but something you think more potential customers will find valuable. This will become your unique selling point, the element you build your marketing strategy around.
You can also use the information to build sketches of the customers you want to attract. What do they like? How do they use your product/service? Who are they, really? Find the answers to these questions and you’ll be able to visualize an “Ideal Customer.” Once you have that visualization, you can personalize your marketing for this customer, making your tactics valuable to them.
Map your Marketing Hourglass
You may have heard the term “Marketing Funnel” before, but I feel it is woefully incomplete for today’s marketing environment. If you want to grow, you can’t stop marketing after the sale.
The marketing hourglass is comprised of seven behaviors you want your customers to exhibit as they interact with your business. You want your customers to know, like and trust your business. Then they will try your product and buy the product. In order to grow, you’ll then need to continue to keep them engaged in order to get them to repeat and refer your business.
Take a high-level look at your business and map out all of the touchpoints and opportunities to reach your customers in order to guide them through all of these behaviors. Once in place, your customers will get a consistently rewarding experience as they work with your business.
Create Content that Guides the Way
No marketing strategy is without work, and this might be tough for some business owners. In order to help guide your customers through the Marketing Hourglass, you must create content with that specific goal in mind.
You need content that builds trust and is offered in exchange for your customers’ information. You then must continue to educate and control their expectations. Then you can expand your audience and network by exchanging content with others. Finally, create content designed to convert.
Complete Your Web Presence
You hopefully already have a website for your business, but these days a website on its own is not enough. Search engines use a number of sources to gather information, and since most customers these days use search engines to find businesses, you need to be present in as many of these sources as possible.
This is where social media comes up. Maintain a presence on social media in order to amplify your efforts on your website, share content and capture new potential leads.
Also, be sure to claim your directory listings, and ensure that the information is up to date.
Be Diverse in your Lead Generation
It’s important that your lead generation efforts are numerous and diverse. The best leads can come from initiating multiple touches from multiple channels.
No one way of generating leads is ever enough. Combine advertising, content creation, social media outreach and public relations to reach as many people as possible. You will also be able to warm up cold leads with multiple, subtle touches from several channels.
This, to me, is the most important step of the marketing process. You could have all the eyes in the world on your website and content, but if you’re not converting, you’ll never grow.
You want to define your process when a lead contacts you for more information. What do you say? What information do you give them? You want a systematic method for giving them valuable information, and then leading them to the next step.
A fully developed plan can not only ensure a higher percentage of your leads convert, but can lead to fewer problems when a lead reaches you at a different point in the journey.
Make It a Habit
Finally, you must build these processes to the point where they become habit. Once these steps are all installed, they can be running in the background while you expand your business. Plan your entire marketing year out in advance, and you’ll be able to engage your entire organization in your marketing.
With these seven steps, you’ll be able to take the mystery out of your marketing. It will take some time and focus to implement these steps, but once you have them installed, you will be well prepared to grow your business.
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