Performing Regular ‘Checkups’ on Your Marketing Campaigns

26 08 2014

Well-baby checkups are one of the most important health precautions new parents can take to ensure their child is growing properly and remains in good health. At these appointments, vaccines are administered, growth charts are established, and the overall health of the child is monitored. Within the baby’s first year, new parents will bring their child in several times, with fewer appointments after that as the child ages.

Even as a child grows older, however, regular checkups remain important. Schools will require them for sports teams. Camps and similar activities want records that show the child is up-to-date on their shots. And parents don’t want to wait for something to go wrong before bringing their child to the doctor.

As a business owner, you should think of your marketing campaigns like a child. Just as a child needs regular checkups, your company’s marketing will benefit from regular ‘checkups,’ too, even if nothing is actually wrong.

Why are checkups so important?

Yearly physicals can help doctors and parents stay on top of a child’s overall health, even if everything seems to be going well. Doctors can address minor annoyances that might not seem to warrant visits themselves, while also watching for potentially unnoticed signs of problems. This kind of preventive care allows doctors to keep their patients in better health.

It works the same way with your marketing campaigns. When things are going well, it’s easy to put off running diagnostics and doing checkups. However, even if a campaign is bringing in customers, regular checkups are still important. Breaking down the campaign piece by piece and examining it can help you find potential weak spots where customers are slipping through the cracks, so you can repair those rough spots and improve your conversion rates.

Diagnostics and regular checkups can also provide a warning if something is about to go wrong. For example, if you find during your examination that most of your customers are coming through a particular channel, you can devote the time and energy necessary to make sure that channel continues running smoothly, while also investigating what might be holding up the others channels you’ve been targeting.

What should you look at?

At a child’s physical, the doctor will listen to the heart and lungs, examine the nose, throat, and ears, and perhaps administer shots. A marketing campaign checkup should also look at the bare bones of the process. This includes looking at where customers are coming from and where they are being lost. Start by breaking down the sales funnel and determining who is leaving at each stage. See if any aspects of your marketing campaigns are attracting so few customers that they’ve become a waste of money. Determine if they can be improved or if they should just be scrapped.

Research what competitors are doing and try to improve even the strongest aspects of your campaigns. Survey customers to see what they wish could be improved about the process.

Yearly physicals are important for monitoring and improving the health of all children, and regular checkups are important for your marketing campaigns, too. Regularly get out your data, sit down with the marketing team, and break down campaigns step by step. Yes, such checkups will require time, but they can help make your campaigns more efficient, improve conversion rates, and help your company grow.

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What the Cola Wars Can Teach About Marketing

19 08 2014

Imagine you are walking down the street and see a group of people trying to get volunteers for a taste testing. In the cups before them they have two identical-looking colas. They ask you to try both cups and pick which one you prefer. You will then need to try and identify which is Coke and which is Pepsi.

Do you think you would be able to tell the difference? Do you think you would actually pick the flavor you usually drink (in other words, if you usually drink Coke, would you actually select that one as your favorite)?

Shockingly, many people don’t. A number of different experiments have shown that many people are unable to correctly identify which cola is which. Even more surprisingly, in double blind taste tests, Pepsi often wins. It was this phenomenon that led to Pepsi steadily encroaching upon Coca-Cola’s lead in the market in the 1970s and 1980s. In an effort to win back customers, Coca-Cola introduced the debacle that was New Coke. The new formula was quickly rejected by consumers, and the company worked to gain back the trust of their loyal customers.

Coca-Cola managed to transition out of their problematic campaign and back to their original formula, but this left them in an interesting position. They still used the original formula, which customers said they wanted, but this formula was the one that often lost to Pepsi in taste tests. In the twenty years since this fiasco, Coca-Cola still manages to lead the market and has been holding steady.

According to what many people view as the unwritten rules of marketing, this should not be happening. Coke has two major points working against it.

  1. Coke’s formula is often deemed inferior by the consumer base in taste tests.
  2. The company completely alienated much of its loyal consumer base when it introduced New Coke without adequate market research.

Yet somehow Coca-Cola remains ahead.

Understanding why this happened and what companies today can learn from it can help you revolutionize your advertising campaigns.

Branding

Coca-Cola’s advertising works to develop a certain mentality in us. When we see the brand’s familiar script logo, we connect to the company’s rich history. We see small children walking up to drugstore counters to buy a Coke. We also connect with the company’s familiar advertising icons (its polar bears, for example) that are often featured in various advertising campaigns. Of course, Coca-Cola’s friendship ads help us feel connected to other Coke drinkers around the globe, as well.

The key here is the brand. Coca-Cola is now an iconic brand. It has become such a staple in our culture that in some regions, the word ‘Coke’ is used to mean any soft drink.

So what are you doing to develop your brand? Creating and maintaining a strong brand should be at the center of all your marketing. Customers make decisions based on the subconscious associations they develop between a company’s brand and its intangibles, including its quality, reliability, and history. Successful marketing helps to encourage positive associations in consumers’ minds.

Thinking about the entire customer experience

Taste tests often show that Pepsi is the preferred brand, especially considering it is slightly sweeter. While this might be better for short-term tastes, many people drink soft drinks in vast quantities. They don’t just drink a sip or two. They drink large bottles. Given the entire customer experience, it’s easier to see why the slightly sweeter brand seems to be less preferred in the long run.

Branding and considering the entire customer experience have both had an enormous impact on Coca-Cola’s ability to hold onto its lead over Pepsi, despite taste tests and marketing troubles. When you keep these criteria in mind for your company, you’ll also be able to boost your success. So grab a soft drink, sit down, and work with us to begin determining how you can better market your company.





Nurturing Leads from Every Angle

15 08 2014

When it comes to successfully nurturing leads from your marketing efforts, you already know you need to stay on top of email with potential clients. Email is a great way to stay in touch with customers, reach out to them periodically to see if they’re ready to buy, and even just remind them about your company. While email is undoubtedly a useful tool in the world of marketing, it isn’t the only way to successfully turn a lead into a sale. Here are a few other tools you should keep handy as you work to nurture new leads.

Understand who your customers are and where they are in their purchase journey. Then use that information appropriately.

A buyer’s journey includes all the research and decision-making steps they take as they prepare to buy a product. Some customers are just starting out. They’re looking for general information about their options and what factors they should be considering. Other buyers have narrowed down their search to just a few options and are looking to be convinced why one is superior to another. Still others are just about to make a purchase but just want to verify the product information. Understanding the buyer persona and where people are in the buying process will allow you to create targeted ads, messages, and content for customers at every step of the journey, increasing the odds they’ll make a purchase.

Make sure your website makes it easy for customers to move through the buying process.

Your website should be designed to encourage people to move through the sales funnel, exciting them about your products and making them eager to complete the transaction. Personalization is a fantastic way to accomplish this. Have your website greet people by name, especially if they’ve visited before.

Use retargeting ads

Retargeting ads can be extremely helpful for bringing customers back to your website, especially if they’ve left items in your site’s shopping cart. Customers have a tendency to visit pages while they’re doing research, but then leave the page because they’re not ready to make a purchase yet. Retargeting ads can help bring customers back to the page and remind them about your products and why they’re superior. Even better, have your page remember the customer the next time they return. Remember what items they looked at or what they seemed interested in. Customers will appreciate the extra effort and the added ease in finding what they’re looking for.

Make the most of social media

Keep an eye on social media for mentions of your company. This will alert you to customers considering your company or investigating your industry. You can then swoop in and make contact as they’re beginning their search. Social media is also a great tool for remaining in contact with potential buyers and past buyers. Like people’s status updates, retweet interesting things they have to say, and generally show interest in them. It will make them see you and your company more favorably, while also helping you remain in the forefront of their mind as they prepare to make a buying decision.

Nurturing leads is critical to persuading customers who are considering a purchase. While follow-up emails certainly play a role in bringing customers to the checkout button, they’re not the only factor. Use some of the ideas above, and begin improving conversion rates quickly.





Watch What You Say, Especially in Advertising.

8 08 2014

The language you use in your marketing materials has more of an effect than you may realize. In fact, something as simple as your choice of pronouns can end up having an influence on your potential customers and the likelihood of them purchasing your products.

The value of the first person

In general, customers respond better to marketing materials, especially websites, that use the first person. This might include buttons that say “create my account” instead of “open an account,” or “start my free trial” instead of “start your free trial.” Making this simple transition can provide a noticeable jump in conversion rates and higher click-throughs. Potential customers will spend more time on your website, learning about your company and what you have to offer. Even if they don’t buy during their initial visit, they’ll begin to feel familiar and connected with your brand, and therefore more likely to return to you when they are ready to buy.

Why do first person pronouns matter?

It all comes down to the power of psychology. Using first person pronouns helps potential customers feel as though they already “belong” — that your company truly cares. That’s something many companies struggle with when trying to reach customers online. It’s much easier to develop close relationships when interacting with customers in person. However, switching to first-person pronouns on your website can help to produce this same kind of connection with customers whose only interactions with your brand take place online.

Making the switch

Effectively incorporating first person pronouns as a part of your call to action must be paired with quality marketing materials. You cannot simply switch your pronouns and expect to see a change if your copy still requires a considerable amount of work. Focus first on developing quality advertising, whether on your website, in social media, or on a traditional advertising platform. Once you have the ad itself set, rather than wrap up your message with a standard call to action, make the switch to the first person and prepare to be amazed at the influence such a simple change can have.

Developing a quality call to action can play an important part in finding new customers and encouraging those who see the advertisements to convert. Incorporating first-person pronouns in that call to action can have a profound effect on your bottom line. If you’re interested in learning more about these different advertising techniques, give us a call today. We’d be happy to help you get started growing and finding new customers.





What Shakespeare Can Teach Us About Marketing

5 08 2014

Shakespeare was a master playwright who continues to entertain audiences centuries after his death. His mastery of the written word has been admired by people throughout the generations and around the world. While he may have never imagined anything like the Internet or modern marketing, there are still a number of lessons Shakespeare can teach us as we set out to master our own marketing techniques.

Becoming a master of words

Words are a major part of any marketing campaign. We all use words to reach our customers, to develop content that will interest them, and to explain why our products and services are superior. Shakespeare teaches us about the power words can have when they’re carefully thought out and used appropriately. People still enjoy reading and watching his plays hundreds of years after they were first performed. That’s because Shakespeare was a master at putting words together so they communicated the point to the audience and engaged them in the content.

Creating plots people can relate to and want to read

Shakespeare wrote for an audience that lived hundreds of years ago. Their life experiences were vastly different than our own. Yet, somehow Shakespeare’s writing appeals to us as much as it appealed to the people of his day. That’s because Shakespeare developed plots that people could relate to on the most intimate levels. His writings involved timeless themes, such as love and jealousy, which are still alive today. Shakespeare completely understood his audience and was able to use the difficulties people face to attract audiences, engage them, and convince them that he sympathized. By building this relationship with the audience, Shakespeare was able to build a loyal following to his brand.

We, too, must answer these same challenge from our own audiences (customers) today. Consumers want to know that companies understand and address their struggles. This helps to build the critical relationship that leads to customer loyalty and improved brand awareness.

Using multiple resources to develop content

No one develops their content in a vacuum. It’s estimated that of Shakespeare’s many plays, only a couple were actually completely original and developed by Shakespeare himself. This means he was frequently drawing inspiration and ideas from other sources of content. He would use these sources of inspiration to help get his own creative juices flowing. He would develop and embellish on the plots, characters, and themes until the works were completely his own, but still had parts that were drawn from other classics.

As content creators and marketers, we must also be willing to draw upon the experience and expertise of others. The marketing world continues to change, and we must all stay on top of the new methods if we want to remain competitive.

Looking at the successful work of others to draw inspiration can offer help with building our own content, too. As we read and see what others do in their marketing campaigns, we gain a better understanding of what we want to write and discuss with potential customers. Content development has become an increasingly important part of marketing. Listening and reading what others have to say can help any marketer start to develop their own voice, the same way Shakespeare found inspiration for his writing.

When you set out to develop your marketing campaign, you’ll likely spend a considerable amount of time reading modern marketing experts and trying to incorporate their wisdom into your own campaign. While these modern marketers will certainly impart a lot of wisdom, don’t discount what the wordsmiths of the past, like Shakespeare, can teach you as well. If you’re ready to jumpstart your marketing campaign, give us a call today.