Try Something New (And Safe) in Your 2020 Marketing Plan
Many companies get stuck in routines. It’s easy to do something because that’s always the way it’s been done.
And that’s true of everything from a production line to a customer service team to your marketing program.
You can’t totally knock this attitude. Doing something new often comes with non-trivial risk. The last thing you want to do is make a change to a product because you think you’re being smart only for your customers to become frustrated that something they in turn rely upon now no longer fits with their system.
Shaking things up can be a great source of growth — but you can’t just start shaking anywhere and everywhere.
Luckily, with modern marketing practices? There’s plenty of scope for trying out small experiments that, if they work, you can scale up — and if they don’t, you lose very little.
Take A Look at Your Digital Ad Strategy
Let’s say you run ads in a trade magazine. They might get you a good deal of business, but you may have seen that business dwindling with the magazine’s readership. The common problem on top of that is that it’s also very difficult to track business to a particular ad.
And while you may be able to wrangle discounts here and there and there are different ad sizes to choose from, booking a print ad is a whole process that doesn’t come with a ton of flexibility on price. You must run your ad in a particular issue that covers a particular period. If you want to advertise an event on January 10th and the quarterly magazine comes out January 6th? You’re wasting all that post-January 10th exposure, you’re probably not going to convince many people in those four relevant days anyway — and the previous issue may have come out before you had vital information ready.
This is where digital ads can come in. For a low cost, you can start running some ads on platforms like Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn. You get instant feedback on how they’re performing, you can target according to interest, and you can even run them alongside your traditional methods.
Run a small, short campaign and compare the cost of the campaign to the revenue brought in by your new business. If you’ve made more than you’ve spent, consider increasing your budget. If not, rethink your targeting or your messaging.
Put Some Content On Your Website!
You probably have a website. But have you considered what you actually want to have on it? Most companies will have a home page, an about page, a contact page, and at least one page about their services.
You may think about your website as a store front. But if a customer walked into a store, would it be enough to just put things on shelves? Maybe if we’re just talking about a grocery store, but if you’re selling a complex product or service like IT support, you wouldn’t just put pamphlets out and expect them to do all the work.
You’d have sales reps on the floor engaging your customers in conversation. Why? Because customers want to get a gauge on your level of expertise.
You can bolster your website with just this. Create a blog and post to it on a regular schedule. Discuss topics in your industry and provide how-to guides, just as a human might try to help someone in-person. Consider creating different types of content as well — webinars are great not only live, but as part of an archive of recorded sessions people can access any time.
Engage different people throughout your company. A technician might have some great how-to tips, whereas a someone who’s been around for a couple of decades is probably a wealth of information your customers can use at a higher level.
In terms of investment? Again, you can start small. A blog may only take a couple of hours to do — and you may have someone in house able to write it already. A blog section can be easily added to the most common website CMS options as well.
And a webinar can be a lot simpler than it might seem! Essentially, you’re just streaming a presentation — and somewhere in your company, someone already has a presentation they’ve given a few times.
While it can take time for a full long-term content strategy to pay off, there’s no reason to not start small and see what kind of reception you get.
Sales and Marketing Alignment
One of the biggest mistakes many companies make is not aligning their sales and marketing departments. The messaging marketing develops must be informed by what the sales team is experiencing in direct conversations with customers.
If you’ve never created a persona, insight from the sales team is critical. If you’re working off of information that’s one, two, three years old — or older — you’re going to miss important changes in the market.
So what does alignment mean? It can be as simple as arranging some time for the two departments to share information. You could set up quarterly meetings where marketing checks in with sales and shows them what they’ve been working on and what they will be working on in the future. This way, you’ll be able to ensure that the materials and messaging better connect with your potential customers.
In terms of how much this needs to cost? It could be as small as a few hours of time per year — though you can certainly do more.
Consider doing a regular review of your persona. Loop the sales team into case studies in order to target exactly the kind of customer that may be a priority with the great success stories they’ll be aware of. Find out what sort of materials will make the selling process easier. Do a joint content audit to find out what you might already have that would lend itself well to a content repurposing effort that would transfer it to a more sales-friendly format.
If you’re already enjoying a well-aligned sales and marketing approach, take things to the next level with Account-Based Marketing. Identify key accounts that you want specifically to win and work together to create a hyper-focused marketing campaign that can work alongside the sales process.
How About A New Marketing Partner?
If you’ve tried some of this before and not really experienced the results you were hoping for, why not try a new marketing partner? Flawless Inbound has helped more than 90 B2B companies grow their revenue through smart modern inbound marketing by establishing expertise with great, relevant content, using SEO techniques to get it found by your customers, and converting leads with compelling offers.
Want to learn more? Check this out.