New year, new marketing strategy?
It’s probably not quite that simple. If your current marketing strategy is already working well, there’s no reason to abandon it wholesale. But January is a great time to determine which marketing strategies should stay and which ones should go. What’s serving you well? Is there something that’s just eating up time and money? And are there any strategies you could use to make your business better now?
Reviewing Your Current Marketing Strategy
Do you have a current marketing strategy? If you’re not sure, the answer is that you don’t. And if you do already have a marketing strategy, it could probably use an update.
A marketing strategy is more than occasionally updating your Facebook page or relying on word of mouth to gain new customers. Many small-business owners don’t have a marketing strategy in place because they think they can’t afford it. If you’ve been flying by the seat of your pants, it’s time to buckle down and create a concrete strategy.
That strategy shouldn’t just be in your head, either. You should document it and make it accessible to anyone touching your marketing campaign or social media accounts. Businesses with written marketing strategies are a stunning 313% more likely to report success than those that don’t.
To develop an effective marketing plan, you want to ensure you have SMART goals in place. These are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound goals. You’ll also need a SWOT analysis outlining your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Once you know your goals and have done a self-inventory of your business, you need to turn to strategies. You’ll need to ask what demographic your business is serving. What voice will you use to connect with them, and how will you implement your new marketing plan?
It’s a lot to take on — that’s why so many business owners avoid it! So, it’s hard to know where to start. For most small businesses, social media is the best way to reach an audience and build a brand. Here are 3 areas you should focus on in 2022.
No. 1: Tell A Story
We’ve talked about the importance of telling a story in your marketing campaign, but we’re mentioning it again. It’s just that important. Customers have a seemingly endless number of choices in products and services. Why should they stop and take a look at yours?
Telling a story gets people invested. If you have a unique background, make yourself stand out by shouting it from the rooftops. If your small business is a family enterprise passed down through generations, tout your experience and longevity. If you think your story is a little mundane, don’t worry about it. Focus on how it makes you more relatable to your customer base. Whatever your story is, lean into it and make it a part of your business.
But telling a story is about more than just making a personal connection with your customers. You also need a brand story. A brand story explains what sets you apart from your competitors and why people should choose your product or service. You can also influence the feelings you want to elicit from your customers. Every business has a brand story, whether they know it or not. Make sure you’re defining and controlling yours.
No. 2: Consider Automation
How much time are you spending on your social media posts? Do you often scramble for ideas at the last minute? Do you sometimes forget to post because you just got too busy? Or do you end up posting at odd hours, limiting your impact?
Social media automation can solve all of these problems and more. Automation services allow you to pre-write and schedule your social media posts when you want them to go up. You won’t have to stop what you’re doing to create and post! Many also offer data collection and analytics, which are essential to determine whether you’re meeting your goals. Lose the headaches and the stress by automating like the pros.
Automation helps not only with your social media marketing but also with your customer relationship management (CRM). If your business is small, you probably can’t offer live customer service 24/7. Also, if most of your communication takes place over email or phone, customers have to wait. Chatbots can help close this gap by answering your customer’s frequently asked questions during all hours of the day and night! That way, they can get the information they need quickly and easily.
No. 3: Partner With Influencers
Love them or hate them, influencers seem to be here to stay. Even though most social media users recognize when content is sponsored, they still appreciate a personal connection. And you can facilitate that with the people they follow — and an emotionally hooked prospect is more likely to become a customer.
To start, you need to choose the right influencer. If your target demographic is middle-aged men, a fashion influencer in her early 20s won’t be a good fit. You should also approach influencers who have a realistic chance of promoting your brand. Unless you’re a national brand, you probably won’t score a deal with a Kardashian. Research smaller and local influencers that are a good fit for what you’re selling. They don’t have to be “famous” — they just need to have a dedicated following by people you’re trying to reach.
When partnering with influencers, make sure you both understand your legal and ethical obligations. If you’re paying an influencer for their endorsement, they must mark their post as an advertisement. Failing to do so can lead to hefty fines. You might think acknowledging the formal relationship will reduce its impact, but countless brands have found it doesn’t.
Though it can be intimidating, social media is your friend — as long as you know how to harness it. Make sure it’s a part of your 2022 marketing strategy! You’ll reach the people you want to reach where they already are.