Everything you do related to your business is “marketing,” not just the ads you buy or the postcards you mail or the content of your website. So if you want to transform your marketing in 2015 to generate greater-than-ever returns, you have to think holistically.
Where should you focus your efforts to bring about the greatest transformation? Here are four suggestions that will work whether you’re a dentist, a restaurant owner, a retailer or you provide a personal or home service. If you’re responsible for marketing a church or specialty school, read on, because these suggestions pertain to you as well.
1. Make it more personal.
Increasing personalization isn’t just a marketing fad, it represents a permanent change in the buyer-seller relationship. You cannot afford to ignore the need to individualize your marketing in as many ways as possible. Beyond developing more effective marketing, thinking about how you can reach and serve customers, clients or patients on a one-to-one basis will make you a better business person. And that’s ultimately what builds repeat business.
If you use generalized postcard marketing to attract new customers or patients, it’s important to keep doing that, because the first step toward personalization is introducing yourself to prospects. Once you get them in the door, you can learn more about them to continue your interactions in individualized ways.
2. Open more doors with multi-channel marketing.
Some call it omni-channel marketing, because your customers, clients or patients are using myriad technologies to conduct business and personal activities. In 2015, you cannot survive if you aren’t marketing to your audience where they are. That means sending direct mail right to their mailbox. Sending text or audio messages right to their smartphone — appointment reminders, surprise sale alerts, “this just in” new merchandise announcements, etc.
Multi-channel marketing means interacting with prospects and customers on the social media platforms they use most. And it means thinking about how you can combine multiple techniques to cross-promote your business and specific campaigns, to reach the most people and produce the biggest response.
As you enter the new year, make sure you have the basics covered. Does your website need a fresh look or improved navigation? Is your content up to date? Are you making the most of your blog? (And if you don’t have a blog, make starting one a priority, because that in itself can significantly transform your marketing response.)
Use audio and video more. Create audio tips of the day as well as written tips. Record your webinars or in-store demonstrations and post them on YouTube or offer them as downloads. If the audio portion works on its own, offer that as a podcast people can download and listen to as they’re driving or going about their business. Churches often offer audio messages of hope or recordings of significant sermons.
3. Do your math.
“Big data” is everywhere, even for the smallest of businesses. If you aren’t using the information available to you to accurately determine return on investment of every marketing effort, you are not marketing strategically. Raw sales and customer numbers are good to know, but for maximum profitability you need to compare those figures to costs, over time, so you can refiner your marketing and make the most of your budget.
4. Call for help.
If 2015 is going to be a banner year, your marketing has to be both efficient and effective. Smart small business owners know when to call in professional help, so sit down with your digital marketing expert to identify ways you can use online tools more strategically. Sit down with your direct marketing expert to identify ways to improve your postcard mailings.
Transformation requires skill and creativity. It requires looking at your business through your customers’ eyes. With expert guidance and a customer-centric focus, you can transform your business as well as your marketing in 2015.