Every company, no matter how big or small, has a marketing strategy.
Even if you’re not focusing on actively controlling your marketing efforts, and you’ve never spent one minute on Facebook, investing in billboards, or building your online blog, you’re still amid marketing. That’s because customer opinion begins to form about your business from the second it emerges.
The only way you can have impact on the opinions that gather, is by taking an active role in your marketing. Unfortunately, even when you put the time, money, and effort in, you might find that you’re still not getting the results you wanted.
The easiest way to improve your chances of success, is to begin looking at marketing by design. In simple terms, that means carefully considering the existing marketing solutions you have in place, and gathering as much data as possible to make your next advertising effort more powerful than ever.
Here, we’ll give you an in-depth guide to marketing design, so you can make the most of your advertising budget.
Step 1: Analyse Your Marketing System (Offline)
Whether you’re focusing on offline, or online marketing, the first thing you should do is look to your accounting team for answers on what you might be doing right, or wrong. Here, you can get information on your sales, expenses, and profits. If you’re particularly lucky, you might even be able to get extra information about where your sales come from, what distribution channels are most effective, and which products are the most appealing.
Unfortunately, you’ll need to narrow things down a little further if you want to get information that you can transform into actionable advice. Rather than just learning about your profits, you’ll need to look deeper into everything that makes your brand tick, from complaints and compliments, to marketplace changes, and product information.
From an offline perspective, try looking at:
- Your marketing information forms: This is where you build up information about complaints, compliments, competitive information, strategy feedback, and more.
- Your “Hot List”: This is the information you have about hot leads, such as which products your customers prefer, who your biggest prospects are, what their lifetime value might be, and whether they have any objections to your offering.
- Your promotion effectiveness report: As your sales people capture information for your prospects, they can also gather data on how effective each of your promotions were in generating sales. For instance, you might find that your experiential events offline are more effective than leaflets and posters.
Step 2: Learn to Measure Metrics Online
As most businesses should know today, it’s not enough to just measure your efforts offline anymore if you want your marketing to make an impact. You also need to be able to examine the goals you have in place for success from an online perspective. Depending on what you want to achieve, moving your focus online can make life easier because web campaigns are typically easier to measure. All you need to do is decide if you want to measure:
- Cost per sale: The amount spent on your campaign divided by the number of sales you get
- Cost per qualified lead: The amount spent on every sale divided by the number of qualified leads you receive
- Cost per visitor/response: The amount spent on your campaign divided by visitor or response
There are plenty of great solutions online that can help you to gather information about how many sales, visitors, or qualified leads you’ve got. For instance, you can simply use Google Analytics, which is one of the most powerful forms of lead analytics out there.
Using your online formulas along with an in-depth understanding of your promotional information offline should help you to determine where you’re going wrong, or what you’re doing right with each campaign.
Step 3: Examine Your Target Customer Profiles & Lead Cards
Once you’ve got all the information you can handle about your current online and offline marketing campaigns, you’ll be able to take your strategy for marketing by design to the next level, by examining your customer profiles.
Great marketing design comes from knowing that any good plan is founded on a series of carefully-constructed customer profiles that outline the types of people you most want to reach in your campaigns. This means that you will struggle to achieve any true results unless you fully understand your customers, and continuously update your profiles based on the latest data.
One of the easiest ways to update and improve your customer profiles, is to look at your “lead cards” or lead forms. In the offline world, sales people use lead cards to follow up on prospect interests with the intent of closing a sale. In the online world, lead forms follow a similar pattern, gathering useful information about a prospect so that a business can sell to them at a later stage.
When creating your lead cards, make sure that you not only get enough information to identify the prospect and which product they’re interested in, but also pinpoint a few key demographics too, such as where they’re from, what their age range is, and what kind of job they do. This will help you to narrow down your customer profiles for more effective targeting in your future campaigns.
- Who your customer is (get their email address for lead nurturing)
- What their pain point is / what kind of products they need
- Where they’re from
- How old they are
- Where they came to you from (recommendation, Google search, etc)
Step 4: Make the Search Engines Work for You
Once you’ve got a thorough understanding of your audience, and your existing marketing strategies, you’ll be able to start making an active change to your brand presence. In today’s digital world, that means ensuring you make an impact online.
There are many ways that you can invest in online strategies for your company. However, the most important place to start is typically with something called “Search Engine Optimization“. The easiest way to improve your SEO, is to frequently update your online profiles with plenty of high-quality content.
Since your website ranking is one of the most important ways for customers and prospects to find your site, it’s crucial to improve your chances of ranking high on search engine result pages. This means that you’ll need to:
- Improve the visibility of your most relevant and important content to the top level of your website pages – making it easier for search crawlers to find context about your brand.
- Assign names and add alt-tag descriptions to website images.
- Use descriptive anchor text for links that lead visitors to other pages and sections of your website.
- Create a local Google+ page to combine your online and offline efforts. When your business appears on Google maps it means you get additional exposure to local users.
- Write unique meta descriptions for each of your webpages which briefly describe the content of the article.
Step 5: Align your Digital Presence with your Customer
While you’re working on boosting your online presence, you should also be thinking carefully about how you’re connecting with your target customer through the web. The information you got from looking at your lead pages should be particularly useful here, as it will tell you which demographics are most interested in your brand or product.
For instance, say that you discover your business is particularly appealing to young women between the ages of 18-25, you could consider pushing some of your marketing efforts onto Pinterest – the social media site that’s specifically known for appealing to younger women.
As it becomes increasingly easy for marketers to understand their customer base by taking their marketing efforts online, it also becomes simpler for experts to refine their processes and deliver the best possible buyer journey. Today’s digital marketers can see exactly which content and campaigns are most successful among their customers, and then build on that momentum to get the best returns.
Remember, creating the ultimate buying journey also means thinking about how your customers interact with your brand both offline and online. For instance, is your store easy to find in person? If not, consider adding your listing to Google maps so that your customers have an easier time getting to you. Online, consider how you can make your website as simple and streamlined as possible when it comes to helping customers find essential information.
Remember, brands today must make sure that their websites are consistent with their branded guidelines, easy to navigate, and packed full of useful information. After all, the smoother you can make the buyer journey, the more likely you are to end up with a conversion at the end of the day. Try combining your marketing design efforts with website design for the best results.
Step 6: Make Your Mark on Social Media
You’re almost there. You understand your marketing data, you’ve learned about your customer, and you’re aligning yourself with them online. Now, all you need to do is take a few extra steps towards easier engagement and conversions.
One of the simplest ways to transform your marketing by design, is to think about how you can listen to, and connect with your customers through social media. With the rise of various platforms over the years, it’s worth noting that social media has quickly emerged as an essential part of many online marketing plans. In fact, the Pew Research Center tells us that 52% of adult users are active on at least 2 different social platforms.
Whether you’re a big-name brand or a small local business, social media gives you yet another great opportunity to share, promote, and deliver the web content that you’ve been building to make your mark on your target audience. The key to success, is simply identifying and participating with the social channels where your prospects are spending the majority of their time.
Fortunately, your efforts in marketing by design mean that you’ll have all the information you need to start pinpointing the perfect platforms. For instance, if you find that most of your customers are B2B individuals (business to business), then you can start using LinkedIn to share your industry know-how.
Just remember, since social media trends are constantly evolving, you should re-visit your social strategy as often as necessary to keep yourself on track.
Step 7: Always Keep Learning
Unfortunately, building an amazing strategy for your advertising efforts doesn’t mean creating a single marketing design and sticking stubbornly to it for the next decade. Instead, you’ll need to keep researching and learning if you want to stay relevant to an ever-changing audience.
Put a plan in place that allows you to evaluate your position in the market as often as necessary, by examining your competitors, and thinking about the current trends in your industry. Remember, evaluating your competitors doesn’t mean looking for ways to copy their efforts. Instead, it’s about figuring out what other people in your niche are doing well, and discovering ways that you can outshine them.
A good way to keep track of your overall reputation in the marketplace, and ensure that your marketing results don’t start to falter again when you’ve spent so much time building success, is to examine customer conversations about your product or brand. Today, most customers are happy to voice their opinions about a company, regardless of whether it’s in the form of a formal review, or a social media outburst.
Keeping track of customer feedback is a great way to ensure that your marketing efforts are having the right impact on the people you want to target. What’s more, if you discover that most of your results are good, then you can always think about showcasing customer testimonials on your website too. This helps to give you the social proof that you need to convince future customers that you’re worth their investment.
It’s Time to Refine Your Marketing Efforts
Running consistently effective marketing campaigns isn’t easy. We can all talk about how important it is to refine processes and understand your audience, but actually diving in and getting your hands dirty is a completely different matter. Of course, no matter how daunting re-assessing your marketing might be, it’s worth remembering that marketing by design could easily give you better results, and stronger customers in the long-run.
The truth is that no matter how effective your advertising efforts were when you began your business, the world of marketing is now a constantly changing landscape – with the digital environment emerging as one of it’s most dynamic features. You need to be able to keep an eye on what’s going on in your industry if you want to know how to really connect with your audience.
One of the biggest mistakes any company can make is to become complacent in their attempt to build relationships with customers. The more you learn about your brand, your marketing position, and the people you’re trying to reach, the more profits you can earn.
Remember, when putting the steps above in place, don’t be tempted to give up if you don’t see an immediate response. If you’re trying to establish a presence online, or simply drive more traffic to your local business, you’ll probably have to show some patience before you can see measurable results. Don’t give up, the outcome is well worth the time and effort.