Local Marketing: The Biggest Weapon in A Mobile and Social World
Engaging with customers has always been the name of the game in marketing. Thanks to the Internet, target audiences are increasingly spread out. That isn’t to say the Internet hasn’t been a benefit to marketers. It unquestionably has. However, the Internet isn’t marketing’s final frontier. Far from it, actually. When you think about some of the biggest digital channels businesses are using today, mobile devices like smartphones and social networks like Facebook unquestionably come to mind.
When you break down those two categories into their core elements, however, what you’re left with is the same type of local marketing businesses have been using for decades. This is why traditional print marketing and — more specifically — localmarketing remain hugely valuable tools to businesses in the 21st century.
What Is Local Marketing?
Studies have long shown that most people do most of their shopping within a ten mile radius of their home. This is still true, even at a time when people can have something delivered to their home with the press of a few buttons and the click of a mouse. People are still willing to venture out of the home to pick up that hot new item or to participate in a service they truly believe in. They just need to know where to look.
According to a recent report released by the CMO Council, 49% of all respondents to a survey agreed that localized marketing was crucial to the overall growth and longevity of their business. More than that, one in four marketers were spending at least 50% of their total marketing budgets on localized programs, certain location-centric promotions, and more.
At its core, local marketing allows you to use these types of stats to your advantage by not just targeting as many customers as you can with your campaigns, but by targeting the right customers — namely the ones who live in the area where your business is actually located.
The Benefits of Local Print Marketing
To illustrate just how effective local marketing can be, think of one of the oldest such strategies in the book: the business card. As you meet new people or network with fellow industry professionals, you’re likely to hand out a business card to whomever you meet. Even if that particular person doesn’t have any use for the product or service you provide, they may know someone who does. Thanks to your business card, they now have something tangible they can give that person to point them in the right direction.
The whole idea is brilliant in its simplicity. You’re establishing your organization as a local leader in a way that creates increased traffic right to your doorstep. On the one hand, it really is no different than sending out mobile "push" notifications to a smartphone or making people in your area "friends" on your Facebook page. The advantage it does have over those digital channels, however, is that it’s something tangible. By tailoring your printed materials to a local market, you’re instantly increasing their relevancy in the lives of those people. The result is improved marketing effectiveness, which will ultimately build brand awareness and position your business as the type of authority you know you are.
Targeted local marketing remains one of the best ways to bring your organization to the attention of a new set of customers who may not even realize you exist. In an age where you’re competing with digital businesses that may offer the same services, it’s no longer about trying to attract the biggest possible audience. It’s about attracting the right audience. That’s the power local marketing gives you if you know how to use it.
Building a Prospect Database
HOW TO BUILD AN EFFECTIVE CUSTOMER AND PROSPECT LIST
There are many ways to build a prospect database, but none can add new prospects as quickly as buying a list. Still, these methods are worth trying since they don’t cost much and they generally result in better prospects than commercial lists. In addition, unlike buying rights to use a commercial list, leads you generate yourself belong to you completely. You can use them however you see fit.
Note: Databases are critical.
The value of your business is quantified by the quality of your customer base.
The more detailed and accurate the better.
Use these techniques to build your own prospect database:
1) The old-fashioned cold call is a surefire way to build a database of customers and potential leads. But don’t stop there. Remember that every time a person on your staff comes in contact with a prospect, their information should be added to your database
2) Join prominent community organizations: Chambers of Commerce, convention and visitors bureaus and charitable groups. Participate in community events where you can reach your target market.
3) Cross-pollinate with businesses that target similar markets. For example, a hair salon and a clothing boutique or an accounting firm and law firm. Share lists, swap brochures and promotional materials, offer discounts to each other’s customers, or co-sponsor events such as an educational seminar for clients of both businesses.
4) Provide registration cards at events and conduct periodic surveys.
5) Business card fish bowls at tradeshows and online registration forms are other ways to capture information on your prospects to build a database.
6. Collect business cards everywhere you go, with new people you meet, make sure you gather their contact information and qualify what level of a lead that they are for you.
Planning a Meal, Planning a Marketing Campaign
Imagine planning a special meal. You start by thinking about the different dishes you want to serve and how well they’ll go together. You try to choose flavors that complement each other and fit well with the occasion. You hope to create a delicious feast people will love and remember for months to come. The same should be true of your marketing.
Understanding integrated marketing
Planning a successful integrated marketing campaign is a lot like planning a successful feast. Just as choosing various dishes that complement each other helps to create a memorable meal, using a variety of marketing platforms to create a single campaign will help to capture the story of your brand.
Too many companies try to create different marketing campaigns for each platform. The result is like a meal of random dishes that have absolutely nothing in common. Separately, each might taste good and draw compliments, but together they seem confusing and fail to provide the lasting impact you hoped to create.
The importance of audience
It’s also important to consider the desired audience for an integrated marketing campaign. When you plan a meal, you carefully think about the atmosphere and what people will expect. Similarly, when you plan the various aspects of your integrated marketing campaign, you need to consider who you want to reach. If your audience consists of largely retirees and empty nesters, focusing a large part of your campaign on Facebook might not be the best use of your time and money. The same way you think about the types of dishes people would expect and appreciate, you want to maximize the reach of your marketing campaign by thinking about where people are most likely to appreciate your message.
Planning a large meal requires careful preparation to ensure that each dish fits together well to accomplish the desired final effect. Similarly, your integrated marketing campaign must combine various marketing elements into a successful, incredible campaign that attracts the right attention.
#470 – Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Hitching a Ride on the Bandwagon
Have you ever wondered why most brides wear white for their weddings? The white wedding gown became common after the wedding of Queen Victoria to Prince Albert in 1840. Before that, brides would wear a variety of different colors for their big days. Women would choose blue, yellow, black, or even brown for their wedding dresses. The primary consideration was finding the nicest dress the woman already owned.
In the mid 19th century, however, that began to change.
The queen’s wedding was well-photographed, and the image of the white wedding gown intrigued people. Other members of the higher classes began to choose white wedding gowns as well. Etiquette books and advice began to speak about the value of wearing a white wedding gown, especially as it communicated the bride’s purity. Although it became increasingly more common, it still would not become mainstream among all the social classes for another century.
After WWII, Hollywood and film became increasingly popular, and guess what color brides wore on the silver screen? You got it: white. It was the presentation of Hollywood’s brides that largely sealed the fate of the white wedding gown.
So what does any of this have to do with marketing?
Well, the white wedding gown is an excellent example of the bandwagon effect. When society’s elites throughout North America and Europe saw the Queen of England marry in a white wedding gown, they felt driven to mimic her style. The same principle applied to the rest of society mimicking Hollywood. People saw their favorite stars adorning themselves in gorgeous white gowns and wanted the opportunity to take part in the style as well. A tradition was born, and now brides that choose to select other colors are viewed with mild surprise. It only took a few generations for the concept of a white wedding gown to become that firmly entrenched in culture.
This is the bandwagon effect at work. When we see our friends or those we admire doing something or using a particular product, we want to try that product ourselves. We feel that if these other people like this product or service, it must be worth trying. Finding a way to capitalize on this effect can help you boost your sales and brand loyalty.
Using the bandwagon effect in marketing
Like the white wedding dress, your company can benefit from the bandwagon effect. You might never make your product an inherent part of the national culture, but you will be able to increase sales and conversions by capitalizing on the ‘me, too!’ phenomenon. If you want to start developing a new marketing campaign, contact us today to help you get started.
Blog Update #468 – Tuesday, March 10, 2015
How Engaging Are Your Sign-up Forms?
Take a moment to think about the forms you ask your visitors to fill out and submit when they visit your website or come to your store. These forms help convert those individuals from anonymous visitors to active leads you can contact regularly. To make that happen, you want people to feel encouraged to leave you with their name and information so you can remember them.
Make the offer look enticing
Leads are the lifeblood of any organization. If you want people to provide you with their contact information, you need to give them a reason to do so. Make your sign-up forms appealing. First, make the offer something desirable. Then, make the actual screen look inviting.
Developing a desirable offer means understanding the people with whom you’re speaking. Carefully analyze your buyer personas and consider the type of information and material that would appeal to them. Once you develop the information you want to put behind a sign-up wall, advertise it on the parts of your site where you know those specific buyers are likely to venture. For example, mention it at the bottom of relevant blog posts or alongside product information geared toward specific customer groups. As with all content, your primary goal should be to provide high-value information.
When visitors reach your landing page, you want to make sure the offer looks appealing on the screen. Add an image or two to help them connect with the offer. It doesn’t have to be an image of the real offer. A cartoon drawing with the name of your ebook, for example, will work just fine. Use a balanced layout and enticing language to encourage people to sign up.
Make the form itself manageable
Once you’ve attracted visitors to your sign-up page, the last thing you want to do is scare them off by making the process too drawn out or complicated. Make sure the form itself doesn’t look too intimidating. The amount of information requested should be comparable to the offer you’re providing. If it’s just a basic ebook, you should only ask for basic information. If you ask for too much, people will get turned off and click away.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to entice leads, contact us today. We’d love to help you with your marketing campaign.
Keep Your Existing Customers Around By Improving Engagement
If you’re like many business professionals, you know that half the battle of growing your business is getting existing customers to stick around. When you provide your customers with outstanding customer service, some incredible things happen:
In our intensely competitive modern market, you can’t afford to overlook these benefits.
The key to providing this outstanding level of service is taking the time to engage your existing customers. Too many organizations focus so much energy on attracting new customers that their existing customers feel neglected and overlooked. This can lead to feelings of resentment. Fortunately, with just a little bit of extra effort, you can keep your existing customers engaged and invested in your company. Here are a few ideas to get started.
Leverage the ‘social’ part of social media
Social media was designed to give you a platform to chat and get to know your customers on a personal level. Rather than advertising blindly to large populations, you can communicate directly to individual people and meet their needs personally. Encourage your existing customers to communicate with you on social media. You can do this in a number of different ways.
When you use social platforms to reach out and communicate with your customers, you show them how much you care about their experience, which resonates with both existing customers and those considering your company.
Run relevant promotions that existing customers can use
We’ve all experienced times when special promotions or discounts were made available only to new customers. Such deals often leave us feeling unappreciated and annoyed. Many customers facing such restrictions look for ways to get around them, such as switching back and forth between companies just to take advantage of the promotions. This leads to poor service and frustration for customers and does no good for the company’s reputation.
Instead of rewarding only new customers, offer your longtime customers a "loyalty" discount based on their longevity with your company. Customers will feel more appreciated and more loyal to your brand. They’ll see this simple ‘thank you’ as evidence that your company truly does value them, not just the bottom line.
Develop communications relevant to your existing customers
The more personal you can make your communications and correspondence, the more likely your customers are to respond. When people buy from your company, remember what they bought and why. Initiate messages, such as emails, asking customers about how well their needs have been met and if they have any questions about using your products or services. Ask customers for reviews and feedback, and make your requests using the name of a salesperson the customer dealt with personally.
Keeping customers engaged is an important step in encouraging them to stay with your company. When you do this successfully, you can grow your customer base and your bottom line.
Blogging Can Be a Fantastic Promotion Tool Across Platforms
Building a successful blog is an excellent way to integrate your marketing campaigns across several platforms. Here are a few ways to use your blog to promote your business regardless of medium.
With direct mail
When you send direct mail, mention your blog to let people know it’s there for them to read and comment on. Highlight some of the recent topics you’ve covered to entice them even further.
Direct mail is a wonderful way to advertise deals and upcoming sales. Market your blog as another way to stay updated about specials and events. Promote it as a way to learn more about your industry, so customers can get the most from your products and services.
On social media
Social media is an excellent tool for promoting a blog and connecting with page visitors. Use your social media accounts to promote your blog posts among your followers. Invite conversations on social media about subjects you’ve covered in your blog as a way of keeping your social channels active and engaged.
Promoting your posts on social media makes it much easier for people to share your content. People can read and post your content to their own social media pages without much effort. The more people share your content, the greater your reach, which can help spread your brand name and reputation.
With community events
Becoming active in your local community is a fantastic way to promote your brand. Customers enjoy working with local businesses they see as interested and supportive of the local community. Sponsor various charity events or host a table at community picnics and other neighborhood gatherings. This will allow you to get your organization in front of others in the community, so your company becomes a familiar entity. Use these opportunities to begin conversations about your industry and products with interested parties to further boost your reputation as an industry leader.
Use your blog to promote the events you participate in and to speak about your involvement with the organizations holding them. Encourage people to participate and get involved. After the event, post some pictures and write a post with highlights from the day. These types of posts can help advertise the event and encourage people to participate, while also demonstrating your involvement in the community even for those who are unable to attend.
A successful marketing campaign means reaching out to prospective buyers on a variety of platforms so they get to know your brand and how you can serve them. Your blog can be a fantastic tool for accomplishing this goal. If you’re still debating the merits of starting a company blog, consider the benefits it will bring to your integrated campaigns. If you’d like assistance getting a campaign off the ground, let us know. We’d be happy to help you with your marketing.
Instilling School Spirit at Your Company
Many factors go into the decision about where to attend college. While majors, location, and ranking undoubtedly hold a high place, the experience of other students and the school’s reputation also play a crucial role.
Schools must strike a careful balance between providing a rigorous academic environment, while at the same time offering an enjoyable experience that will make students talk about their school in a positive way to other prospective students.
Satisfied students can be the best brand ambassadors an institution can find. When students love their school, it emanates from everything they do.
Such enthusiasm builds a positive culture around the school and encourages new students to come and try it out. Building a strong brand around any organization entices people to want to belong to that particular select group and culture.
What colleges can teach us about building a winning culture
Most professionals realize that employees are important for keeping the company running smoothly. They know that turnover is bad because it wastes time and resources. They also know that high turnover can damage their reputation among potential hires.
What they don’t realize, though, is the importance of employee satisfaction when it comes to the customer experience.
Just like the college student who loves their school so much they broadcast it to anyone who asks their opinion, employees who feel respected and appreciated help to broadcast a positive image of the company and can increase customer satisfaction rates.
Think about it.
Employees are the face of your company. When they feel valued, they take the time to invest their energy into the company and their interactions with customers. They also strive to embrace a culture of success, which can help inspire their peers to improve their interactions with customers, too.
Employees and brand advertising
Employees can be wonderful sources for building up your brand. Just as happy college students take the love for their school to every facet of their life, satisfied employees tend to bring their jobs with them wherever they go.
Think about the last time you heard someone complain about the company where they work. How did those complaints impact your perception of the company? Chances are, that negative feedback made you feel worse about the brand in question — and less likely to turn to them when you need products or services in their industry.
An entirely different experience, however, comes when an employee is positive and upbeat about their employer. When they tell you enthusiastically that they can help you solve your problem, you become inclined to trust them.
Treating your employees well can help boost their satisfaction and improve how they represent your company to the general public. Remember that your employees are the face of your brand. That means you need to select them — and treat them — with that goal in mind. Cultivating a great employee culture is a wonderful way to improve your brand’s reputation from the inside out.