Marketing is more complex than ever due to the plethora of online strategies, channels and platforms in which businesses can reach out and connect with targeted customers.
The essence of marketing is threefold and can be summarized as:
Here are a few tips to maximise your three – Rs.
Reputation is Everything
Without a good brand reputation, your business will never reach its full potential.
Customers do their own research when they come across a new business selling they’re keen to purchase.
Using online search engines like Google and Bing results that closely match the search keywords can make or break a business.
For example, ‘Brands with bad reviews’ presents pages of search results. HBR is a trusted source for content, and this article suggests how you can turn bad reviews around and your advantage.
Respond to bad reviews cleverly. Tip: Not all negative reviews are seen as bad by everyone. It may be that the unfavourable review was from someone that really isn’t in your target market.
For example, the Porsche 911 is too low to the ground, making it hard to get in and out.
While this is true, it’s only a negative review for consumers who don’t appreciate the Porsche 911 for what it is – i.e. a sports car.
It’s easy to turn this feedback into a marketing message. For example, feel the speed from the snug safety of our sports seats.
Managing your reviews is an ongoing process. Develop a response methodology and consistently use it to respond to reviews that suggest customers need to hear from you, including a personal message.
First, you need to know why you’re a safe, secure and trustworthy brand. Then communicate it along with your ISPs in your marketing messages. Never assume your targeted audience know what makes your business the perfect partner.
Always incentivize your customers to provide reviews ideally on third party sites like Google Reviews.
Hand out free samples to your loyal customers to try and provide a review.
Don’t lose sight of your existing clients in the hot pursuit of new customers. It costs five times more to attract a new client than it does to get repeat business from an existing client.
Pareto’s Law states that 20% of your customers will give you 80% of your new business and new referrals.
Go through your database, identify the top 20,% and then work out how you can optimise these relationships for the long term.
Your existing customers can provide feedback and referrals. You need feedback to hone your customer service and develop new offerings.
Build a community
It’s not enough to have the best product and service. You need a community. Your community can be both online and offline.
For example, if you’re a retail store, your offline community is made up of walk-ins, i.e. customers purchasing from your physical store.
Your online community is found following your blog and social media profiles. Commit to providing unique, interesting and relevant content for your community.
Use content to connect.
Reach out to your customers to find out what information they’d like to get from your business. Learn how to write blog posts or outsource your article copywriting to a trusted professional who understands your audience and marketing goals.
Blog and social media content should:
- Inform – provide tips
- Educate – this is your opportunity to show your expertise with how-to training. Use videos as much as you as they connect using two senses, visual and auditory.
- Share – your business ethos, goals and inspirations
Use sharing buttons to encourage your blog readers to share your posts with their followers on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and more.
Also, use your site analytics to discover more about your customer’s needs and wants.
With your offline community, hold regular events in-store to bring your community together. For example, free tastings or free samples or a charity fundraising event.
You can also hold online events too. On your social media profiles, you can have competitions and quizzes.
There are many ways to get more followers too.
Referrals take less time to convert into customers, with Nielson reporting 83% to rely on referrals from family and friends.
Seek referrals from your community
Write down a list of your community of people – clients, suppliers, colleagues, associates, and other possible contacts.
Identify potential advocates that can help promote your message, give feedback on your service or expertise. At the same time, you can help support them in their objectives. As someone once said: Shine the light on others, and you shine even brighter.
Marketing is a profession that needs time and resource. To do it well, your business needs a marketing plan with a foundation of strategies that work on your three Rs, i.e. reputation, relationships and referrals.