BY JOHN LINCOLN
As CEO of Ignite Visibility and a marketing professor at the University California San Diego, I have worked on more than 400 marketing campaigns and increased client revenue by millions of dollars. Through the years, I have seen many businesses succeed and fail at their attempts in marketing. The ones that fail often skip critical marketing strategies that should be the staple point of an online business.
Here are a few strategies that always work in marketing.
Be clear about your main differentiation
What sets you apart? Make it clear immediately. For example, my client Ecwid touts how their product can set up a WordPress e-commerce site in minutes. This makes all the difference to someone looking to start a quick website. If Ecwid did not state this front and center value proposition on its landing page, it would lose a large amount of sales.
Get feedback from customers and build around that
Many marketers think that surveying customers is a thing of the past (or they are afraid to do it). That mindset is going to limit their potential for success. The fact of the matter is that you don’t know much about the quality of your product or service if you don’t ask customers for their feedback.
The most publicized example of this is Dominos. The CEO surveyed customers and the got the response that “Dominos tastes like cardboard. Microwave pizza is far superior.” He then proceeded to launch a marketing campaign to change all of that.
You don’t need to survey customers as publicly as Dominos did, but you should ask your customers how you can improve your product and improve on your weaknesses.
Solve a real problem directly in your outreach
You should always market your product or service by first describing the problem it solves. Let’s look at niche industry like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) certification for example. The problem is that someone needs to train a forklift driver. Who is going to want to do that? Forkliftcertification.com makes both the problem and solution clear: “You will save the expense and hassle of packing your forklift operator on a road trip to a study center while you pay for his wages, his travel expenses and his down time.”
Great marketers use their marketing efforts to describe a problem, create some level of agitation over it, and then offer a solution. That’s a timeless principle that you should never disregard.
Build a website that’s easy to use
There’s nothing that’s going to drive people away from your website faster than poor user interface. Whether on mobile or desktop, if your visitors have trouble finding the “Categories” menu or can’t locate an easy way to sign up for your service, you’re guaranteed to lose market share.
Recently, I worked with my client BTO Sports to update the interface on their mobile website. We added clear navigation that is easy to use with your thumb and index finger, which highlighted their main categories. BTO Sports saw an increase in conversion rates of 86 percent in one month. This made a major impact on their bottom-line.
Create great content that people love
One of the best ways to increase your reach is with an outstanding content marketing strategy that brings in visitors from search engines and offers content that gets shared regularly on social media channels. That’s why many popular brands practice content marketing. And it doesn’t have to be just blog posts. You can make videos, do a podcast, make whitepapers — whatever you are most comfortable with. If possible, think outside the box. We recently made a comic book for our industry, and it received a lot of attention.
Create community buzz
Find a way that you can give back while also connecting with people who are likely to have an interest in your product or service. That’s the best of both worlds. Recently, we worked with Fix AUTO to launch a campaign where we allowed people to submit a picture of their car after a collision for a chance to win money or a vacation. It turned a negative (getting into a collision) into a positive for people on some level.
We hit their target marketing, brightened people’s day and awarded them. You can do something similar. Just get creative.
Invest in marketing channels that offer the best return
Chasing marketing initiatives that are not tried and true might be one of the biggest mistakes people make. What marketing channels are performing best for your brand? Invest more into those channels and eliminate strategies that are offering a minimal or negative return on investment. Check your channels report in Google Analytics to determine this.
Become a thought leader
Do you ever wonder why people blog, make videos, teach and write books? To make direct income, yes. But also so they can build their status. The more status you have, the easier it is to get a meeting, especially in the new world of online social networking. For example, say someone contacts you on LinkedIn. Who will you be more likely to respond to, the person who has a blank profile or the person whose profile says, “CEO, Author, Teacher, Speaker”?
Market yourself and use that online persona to benefit your business, increase your networking abilities and referral partnerships.