Marketing is the system of researching a market, delivering value and satisfying the customer with a profit in mind.
This discipline, also called marketing, is responsible for studying the behavior of markets and the needs of consumers. It analyses the commercial management of companies with the aim of attracting, capturing, retaining and building customer loyalty by satisfying their desires and solving their problems.
In this blog article we will detail what marketing is, the types and strategies that exist, several examples, the difference between advertising and marketing, the characteristics of a good marketer, which profiles are the most demanded today, how to develop a marketing plan and which learning resources we have for you available.
What is marketing?
Marketing is a strategy that every company must implement in its overall plan in order to grow. Many companies use marketing techniques to achieve their goals, even without realizing it. Marketing is nothing more than the exchange between various parties in a way that produces a mutual benefit.
Many people do not know exactly what marketing is and when asked they define it as selling and others define it as advertising. All answers are true, but they are only a part of what marketing means, because it can also be product distribution, packaging design or creating landing pages.
Other possible definitions to answer what marketing means are:
Here’s what Webster has to say about marketing: Marketing — “The act or process of selling or purchasing in a market; the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service; an aggregate of functions involved in moving goods from producer to consumer. “
Marketing is the process of exploring, creating, and delivering value to meet the needs of a target market in terms of goods and services.
With all this information, what can be clearly seen, is that marketing today is focused on the needs and desires of the consumer. It is no longer about “shocking” them or reaching them indiscriminately, but about listening to them and adapting to what they demand.
Therefore, marketing should not be understood as simply a grouping of techniques, but as a philosophy or way of working that should influence all areas of a company. We use a holistic approach for this. But more later.
Furthermore, marketing and sales should not work in isolation. Rather, they are two areas that should be understood as one and work in a very intertwined way. Because without marketing, sales are not generated and without sales we cannot know what the real pain points of the end consumer are.
The true art of marketing is not knowing how to sell, but understanding the end consumer and offering them what they need at the right moment in the buyer journey.
Marketing strategies and types
Let’s divide this section into offline and traditional marketing strategies and digital and online marketing strategies:
Offline and traditional marketing strategies
First we start with promotional materials, e.g. business cards, postcards, leaflets, brochure or even branded items. You can have a variety of cost-effective promotional materials to give people to make it easier for them to remember and find you.
Be sure these contain contact information, such as your email, phone number, website, and social media profiles. They also serve as a durable form of showcasing your work or products.
Direct mail marketing is any physical correspondence you send to customers in the hopes of getting them to contact your business.
All that your direct mailers need to have is something identifying you or your business, a call to action (CTA), and a way for your customers to contact you. The rest is up to you. Be creative and send pieces like birthday cards, anniversary notes, seasonal postcards, or unique business updates or announcements. Sending personalised cards to your customers can help your business feel more personal and stand out from the competition.
Print media, such as newspapers, magazines, or trade publications, gives you both visibility and credibility by establishing you as an expert on your topic. It’s a powerful marketing tactic to build your business’s reputation and share your contact information.
We use a press release platform “Help a Reporter Out (HARO)” which connects experts with journalists and bloggers researching information for articles they are writing. This may be a valuable way for your business to gain brand publicity. We have a template which you can use to answer queries and to have more chances of getting a response from those journalists and bloggers.
Digital and Online Marketing Strategies
Digital marketing is the promotion of brands to connect with potential customers using the internet and other forms of digital communication. This includes not only email, social media, and web-based advertising, but also text and multimedia messages as a marketing channel. Smartphone apps, television, and podcasts are all types of digital marketing.
SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” In simple terms, it means the process of improving your site to increase its visibility when people search for your products and services. It aims to improve your website’s position in search results pages. Remember, the higher the website is listed, the more people will see it.
Social Media Marketing
In simple terms, Social Media Marketing means building a business through many different mediums, such as viral videos and blogs, in order to give exposure to a company and execute different purchasing processes.
The involvement of the community of people and society at large has driven the growth of Social Media Marketing. There is hardly anyone who is not participating in one or the other type of social platforms. Be it exchanging emails, using chat or posting pictures and exchanging music, etc.
With the increasing number of online community participation, social media has become an important medium that is being explored by marketers. They find it the most effective way to approach customers and get to know them deeply.
Social media marketing includes activities like creating text and image updates, videos and other content that drives audience engagement, as well as paid social media advertising.
Connect with your potential clients across different channels by informing, educating, entertaining, and effectively promoting your services.
Email marketing is the act of sending a commercial message, usually to a group of people, via email. In its broadest sense, every email sent to a current or potential customer could be considered email marketing.
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
Search Engine Marketing
Search engine marketing is a form of Internet marketing that aims to increase the visibility and ranking of a business or website in search engine results pages.
How to develop your own small business digital marketing strategy
Let us introduce you to the 10 best marketing strategies for small businesses. First let me explain that there is no magical formula to gain exposure and get more clients to your business.
You could offer the best products or services in the world, but that alone won’t help if your potential customers can’t find you – so you need a great marketing strategy to match your end goal.
What should you consider before creating your own marketing strategy?
There are a few questions you need to answer yourself, before creating the right strategy for your business and not waste any time on something which brings no ROI.
- Analyze and evaluate your current marketing strategies, recent activities, and future goals:
- Communication of a consistent message to the right customers
- Reveal new, unknown or neglected markets
- Fine-tune current strategies and plans to increase current market share
- Overview of your company:
- Location, date established, sales history, number of employees, key personnel
- An estimation of the current awareness level of the company as well as the perception of your company amongst your buying influencers
- Describe your marketing goals and objectives (e.g. increase company visibility, increase audience size, differentiate from the competition, generate quality leads or increase usage within existing customers:
- Long term goals with priority what to achieve the next 2-3 business years
- Short term goals for the next 12 months
- Current customer and buyer persona
- Job titles, functions, industry, geographic location, company size, and behavioural descriptions
- Size of current customer audience
- Preferred target customers
- Reasons you are targeting a specific group
- Behaviour that needs to be present to target a specific group
- Size of the target audience
- Describe services
- Strength or weakness compared to the competition
- Changes to products and services over time
- Current perception and awareness level of your services
- Past Marketing Encounters
- What has helped you grow your business
- Not been tried but might help?
- What has your competition done to grow their business
- Begin to Outline a Communication Plan. Begin to list current and future media sources as well if costs are fixed annual costs, and what funds are available for new efforts for:
- Advertising vehicles like broadcast, print, out-of-home and online advertising.
- Promotional vehicles like the website, collateral, direct marketing, interactive and online marketing.
- Media relation vehicles like media contacts, public relations and articles.
- Event vehicles like trade shows, special events, seminars, and webinars.
- Analytic vehicles like databases, market research, and tracking systems.
- List any promotional medium considered to be the most effective to date.
Once you have answered those questions you will be able to choose from the marketing tips for any size of business but especially for small businesses.
Here’s a list of our 10 best marketing strategies and tips that are sure to increase your visibility and help bring lots of new customers your way. These tips will give you an overview of marketing channels which could hold the key to your future growth.
1. Establish your identity with your brand
Branding and why it is important for small businesses
In order to differentiate yourself from your competitors and establish a unique presence in the marketplace, you need a strong brand for your business.
Luckily, you have already answered all the questions above and know what your target audience is. It is not of any value to waste any time or money on developing your brand if you haven’t answered those questions and don’t know who your perfect target audience is.
So ensure that you know what they like or dislike, their needs and what motivates them. If you fail to send your message across in the right way then all your efforts are worthless.
Read this article here at Zopto.com, about “How To Define Your Target Audience Together with Your Marketing Team”
Is branding important for small businesses?
You might think that your branding is not important as it is only of value for large corporations. This is far from true. My advice would be to think big right away from the start. There is no reason why your efforts won’t lead to a great success and you want your ideal customers to know your brand right from the beginning.
What you should think about when it comes to branding?
The colors of your brand and the logo are important as those are the first things a potential client will see when they get to know you. Try and create the right impression but don’t stop there. Your brand is not only your logo, but many other aspects. It is how you represent yourself in your community.
The client wants to relate to your company and the services you offer and not just buying a product from you.
When it comes to your name, you want your audience to understand what your business is all about and it helps them to get a clearer picture about yourself.
2. Know your customers
Who do you want to engage with your products and services?
Have you heard about a Buyer Persona?
A buyer person is a profile that you create and which describes your target customer and potential “buyer”. Of course you will have multiple buyer personas as there will be different decision makers in the decision making process to evaluate your product.
I suggest to start small here as it could be overwhelming for a smaller business and you might be at the beginning.
Start by creating a list of questions which should include the following:
- Personal Info
- Professional Info
- Goals & Challenges
- Values and Fears
Being clear about those details will allow you to develop a targeted and more effective overall strategy that focuses on the channels most likely to produce results for you. Once you have created your first Buyer Persona, you will then be able to develop this further by speaking to existing clients. This will help you to create the perfect description of your client profiles.
3. Use the power of Facebook Ads
Facebook Ads can be very cost effective and Facebook helps you identify users based on their interests and user behaviour, and display your ads accordingly.
Here are 3 reasons why Facebook is important for your business:
- Over 1.5 billion people spend time sharing the most important parts of their lives on Facebook and this is where businesses can engage them in conversation
- Average Facebook user has 200 Friends. This social network enables a viral marketing effect that can grow your customer base much faster than traditional marketing.
- Gather valuable marketing information. Use Facebook Insights to dig deeper into your fan base and create a detailed buyer persona. Info like demographic breakdowns and what specifically fans are interested are more readily available and accurate on Facebook than on YouTube, Google Analytics etc.
Is your business verified on Facebook? Do you have the badge? Why should you have it?
It will rank higher on the list of searched items.
- You’ll ‘steal’ a certain number of views from fan pages, unofficial pages, and your unverified competition
- A higher chance of interaction from your audience.
- Not only will it be easier for them to find your page, but they will also be more inclined to like, comment, or buy a product from you.
- Your page looks more trustworthy, while your audience is sure that they are receiving genuine information.
4. Let your website speak for itself
There are a few things that can help you improve your web-presence and your website design, but if not done correctly they might damage your conversion rate or even your Google ranking. This is why we created this post and give you the essential web design tips.
Your company website is a reflection of you and your business.
You don’t just want people to visit the site; you want them to stay and look at it. If you have a high bounce-rate, as in people leaving your site too quickly, you will find it difficult to gain a dedicated following.
The design of your site could be the problem here, especially if you have not updated it in quite some time. If you are not generating the traffic you need, read these crucial reasons people could be leaving your site.
Your website is not about the products you sell, the services you provide, or the information you share.
It’s about the people who visit it and their needs. It is your job to make those prospects convert to paying clients.
5. Understand the power of SEO
Increase your sales by improving your SEO
SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is a set of actions you can perform to increase your website’s visibility on search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Your potential clients are changing the way they are using the search engines.
E.g. in the past your clients looked for a hairdresser in a certain town or area but nowadays they use different search queries, such as “Where can I find a hairdresser that uses organic products?”.
This is what you should be focussing on and improve your SEO strategy to increase your exposure and visibility on search engines.
You want to be the expert in this niche and the go-to person for your clients.
“Create topics and not keywords”.
6. Create an email list and use it
Email has many advantages as a marketing channel and should definitely be on our list of marketing strategies. It is easy to do, easy to automate, allows instantaneous communication and costs very little.
To get the most out of your email marketing efforts, you need a solid strategy, insightful segmentations, and powerful unique content..
The main idea is to get people to come back to your website at a later date when they are likely to buy your product. Email leads still have one of the highest conversion rates of all sources.
7. Use Google My Business
Google My Business is a very powerful and useful tool for local businesses with a local customer base. When people in the local area search on Google for the product or service you provide, this is a great way to have your business appear near the top of that search.
A listing can help your business to stand out in search results, and can help people to find your business, whether it’s online or offline.
Listings provide key information quickly for searchers which can help them to find a business and decide on a visit.
Opening hours, popular times to visit, and maps to help with directions all make it more likely that searchers will visit the store.
8. Get referrals from your clients
Use your existing customers to drum up more business: try to incentivize referrals to encourage your customers to bring in more.
Depending on what kind of business you run this can take many different forms, but it should be easy to decide on as an expert in your field and with the knowledge about your clients.
The other advantage of referrals is that if your clients are recommending you to their friends and family, then this means that they will already be more open to speak with you.
9. Use Google Adwords
Google AdWords takes advantage of the ability to play ads for a particular product to users when they’re looking for just that product.
Those users have an exact idea of what they want right now.
Therefore those clients are more likely to convert than on Social Media.
Google charges with Pay Per Click (PPC). This means that as soon as a user clicks on your ad, you pay a certain amount to Facebook or Google.
To keep a better overview of the costs of your campaign, you can choose a daily budget or set the total budget for the time that the campaign is running.
As an advertiser on AdWords, you’re bidding on specific keywords that Google users type into their search query.
The goal is to have your ad appear above organic search results. What’s in favor of Google AdWords?
According to Statista, Google currently has a worldwide market share of 88.44% as a search engine. The probability of a sale is very high, as the user is reaching you because he actively looked for a certain keyword.
Relevance: You reach users who are looking for exactly the right keywords.
Retargeting: Someone was already interested in your product? Google remembers this and plays your ad again to this user. There are good chances to convert an interest into a buy.
10. Use Social Media Accounts
Social media offers many benefits to business owners, as it allows them to reach out to their customers and to gain the attention of more people/potential customers.
Choosing the right Social Media platform for you and start creating and sharing content to help you achieve your marketing goals.
Let us help you define your Social Media Marketing goals:
- Who is your target audience?
- What Social Media platform does your target audience use?
- What message do you want to deliver to this audience?
Again, we see the importance of the Buyer Persona as this will help you to see where your potential clients are.
Recap: What are the best marketing strategies
Don’t waste your time on things that don’t push your business to the next level
With every small business ramping up their online presence in a scramble to survive, how can you stand out and weather the storm?
The internet is the only place we’ll be seeing your small business while we all self-isolate and help flatten the curve.
There are so many different marketing channels to choose from and things you can do to increase your visibility. Above all, don’t be afraid to try different marketing strategies – and focus your energy on what works best for you and your business.
Online is where we’ll get to know you, stay connected and decide whether to do business with you during the weeks, and possibly months, ahead.
Yet, with every small business ramping up their online presence in a scramble to survive, how can you stand out and weather the storm?
Now more than ever, you need a digital marketing strategy.
We have a strategy-building framework that we use with small businesses and nonprofit clients.
Every small business owner feels the pressure of limited time and resources. You’re constantly trying to weigh the effort of any marketing initiative in your business against the potential reward it will bring. And if you’re not sure it is going to bring you a reward, it can be so tempting to skip it. When the going gets tough, you have to be able to measure (and confidentially know) if the juice is worth the squeeze. And if it’s not, then it’s totally OK to move on to something else.
Digital marketing is hard. At some point, I promise you, it will feel like a slog. If you start using a digital tool before you know what you want to achieve with it, and before you make a plan for getting you closer to that goal, you’ll waste your time.
And in these unprecedented times, no small business owner has any time to waste and no room to wing it. Use our digital marketing strategy to know exactly what’s working, what’s not and where to go next.