With print media going out of fashion, more brands are relying on digital marketing to expand their customer bases. Arguably, the best aspect of digital marketing is that it is accessible to businesses of any size, age and budget. There is no one solution to suit all, but we’ll go over a few options worth considering for anyone with a start-up looking to get their name out there.
A common pitfall for new businesses is that they try to do everything. Although it’s logical to think that the more you offer, the more customers you will attract, it’s typically not feasible, particularly in the first few years of a company’s inception.
For that reason, it’s important that your marketing strategy accurately reflects what you have available, and not what you would like to do in the future. Highlight what makes your offering unique, whether that’s personal customer service, bespoke products, or your expertise in a particular area.
Much like your USP, you will have likely thought about your target audience before you began putting together your business. In order to make the most of your company’s appeal, you should consider breaking your customer base down into buyer personas so that you can get a better idea of how to market to each customer type.
This is much easier to do once you have begun operating and have already collected customer data, but it’s not impossible to do when you are just starting out. There are some useful guides online that can take you through a step-by-step process, but to put it simply – take what you know about your customers (or those of your competitors, if it is very early days for your brand) and use it to describe a fictional, ideal customer.
This can include their age, gender, hobbies, social background and, most importantly, their business needs. Distilling your customer base this way into a small handful of personas makes marketing to them less daunting, and more direct.
Individuals are bombarded with thousands of marketing messages daily, and it’s impossible for the average person to absorb and retain that much information. In order to make your marketing stand out from the white noise, you need to be able to grab consumers’ attention at a glance.
Big brands are instantly recognizable not just from a name, but from a logo, a slogan, or even a colour scheme – think about McDonald’s golden ‘M’, for example. It appears on all of their marketing materials, their website, and their restaurants. If you want to compete with the big businesses, you have to use their tactics. Include any colours and logos from your website or company material in your digital marketing, as the repetition will help customers to associate it with your brand.
There are few marketing strategies simpler than setting up social media pages, but it’s how you use them that will give you an edge. Twitter and Facebook have been the most popular platforms for businesses due to their visibility and ease of use, but more brands are now using Instagram and YouTube to diversify their advertisements. Which medium you go with depends on what suits your brand – don’t feel you need to make videos if text and images better exemplify your company.
If you don’t employ someone to work on social media or marketing in general, then you’ll want to concentrate on just two or three platforms so that you can always keep them updated. The key to successful social media campaigns is making sure that they saturate your customers’ feeds without overwhelming them and causing people to become blind to your marketing or, worse, stop following you.
Social media is free, but if you have the money to invest in a new campaign then it’s possible and often beneficial to pay to boost your adverts.
To get the best ROI on a paid promotion, first do some customer research to find out what times your customers interact with your pages, and what devices they use. Don’t waste time and money producing and promoting a long video that will be released at 12pm if your customers are most active in the evenings, using their phones or tablets (and therefore less inclined to sit through a video).
Outside of social media, you could look into Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising. This allows you to appear higher in search engine results and you only spend money when someone interacts with your advert. You essentially bid to have your ad appear above others by paying a higher price per click. It can be a fairly low-cost and low-risk way to attract new business, but bear in mind that there may be companies paying more to beat you to the top.
Celebrities have been doing brand deals for years, and now everyone wants to be internet famous, so getting someone to represent your company is now cheaper than it has ever been. By giving them a free product or service, or simply paying them, you can get an internet influencer to advertise your company and even demonstrate how one of your products works.
We see this mostly with beauty and fashion bloggers, but really any company can take advantage of it for their marketing. It’s a win-win situation, as having any kind of brand deal legitimises both the influencer and the company sponsoring them. Affiliate links and codes, which can be used for money off or free trials, further help to attract new customers by making it less expensive for them to give the company a chance.
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