Tag Archives: Marketing Tips

Mythbusters: Marketing Edition

b972ce7e359d54e2dd3b3e805a6a92214bd25d17As the marketing industry changes and develops, it’s only natural that misconceptions will come out of the woodworks.

Whether you’re an emerging brand or a veteran of the industry, it can sometimes be hard to determine which marketing myths should be taken with a grain of salt, and which should just be completely ignored.

Here are five myths busted, so you can be properly informed when going into your marketing planning.

Marketing is the same as advertising

If you go around believing that marketing and advertising are one and the same, keep reading. While the two go hand in hand, they are still very different. According to the American Marketing Association, “marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” Marketing focuses more on the technical process of creating awareness and understanding your customers by getting inside of their head. It is much more overarching than advertising. Advertising is a component of marketing. It is focused on the creation of actual items to drive promotions through mediums such as print, radio, television, billboards, etc. If you use the terms marketing and advertising interchangeably, it’s time to stop.

I don’t need social media

Social media seems to touch every part of our lives, so neglecting it for your business is a mistake. Social media isn’t just a way to connect with friends, but is an asset for sharing your business’ content and information. Customers like to conduct online research about products before making a decision. 74% of people will consult social media to help decide which product to buy. Typically customers will see it as a red flag if your business does not have some sort of social media presence. Social media is a way to provide customer service and connect with your customers on a more personal level. Even if you feel like you’re not in an industry where social media is necessary, don’t neglect its importance.

Marketing is too expensive

While it’s true that you will eventually have to spend some money for an effective marketing campaign, you might not need as big of a budget as you may think. Depending on which area you want to spend your time and money (social media, paid media, inbound marketing, etc.), there are ways to cut expenses when needed. Take influencer marketing, for example. Many brands feel the need to shell out the big bucks for big-name influencers and celebrities to promote their product when there are plenty of smaller, niche influencers who will charge a lot less for a partnership. Some will even take non-monetary compensation! If you don’t have a hefty marketing budget, get creative with how and where you want to spend your money.

It worked for them, so it will work for us

While there are general strategies that should be implemented for most marketing campaigns, not everything will work for everyone. For example, a B2B tech company wouldn’t utilize an Instagram campaign like a consumer retail business would, because that’s not where their audience is. Their audience is most likely on LinkedIn, which means they’re better off focusing their time and energy there. To get the most out of marketing, your brand has to utilize the tactics that will reach the right audience, in the right way.

All you need is a good website

Your brand could have the best website in the world, but that doesn’t matter unless people know it exists. That’s where good marketing comes in. Through social media, content marketing, SEO and other tactics, your website can be seen by a much larger audience than if it just sits there on its own. To increase traffic to your website, start by feeding it into as many places as you can — social media, blog posts, contributed posts, etc. And even if you’re not an SEO expert, you should at least know the basic keywords related to your industry and utilize those to increase the chances that your brand will show up during Google searches.

 

4 Reasons Why Content is Key

3-Key-Takeaways-from-Social-Media-Marketing-WorldProducing great content is what draws people into your business and allows your audience to discover what you can offer them.

According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is “the strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action”.

Content marketing includes a broad range of tools for you to attract your audience. It can be anything from blogs and images, to webinars and social media posts. Your content should be something that both educates your audience and encourages them to take an action.

Now, why exactly is creating the right content for the right audience so important?

First impressions

It’s human nature to make initial judgments on new things. When you meet someone new, you probably form an opinion about them before you’ve even had a conversation with them. People will do the same thing with your content, which is why it’s so important to make a good first impression. Part of making a good first impression is understanding your audience. Make sure that you research your target audience to understand what they are looking for. If you research your audience enough beforehand you will waste less time on creating content that may not apply to them.

When sending out email newsletters, for example, catchy subject lines will persuade your audience to open the email rather than ignore or delete it. If you’re creating graphics, make sure they are attractive and easy to read. Creating a distracting image can often be a turnoff for people or cause them to misinterpret your message. Lastly, when deciding on a title for your blog be direct and informative so that your audience can easily understand what you are going to tell them.

Helps with SEO

Content marketing is key to driving organic traffic to your website. Producing useful content opens up many opportunities for your business and will lead more people to visit your site who will actually find value in it. Including your site’s keywords every chance you get, like when writing informative blog posts, will increase your rank in Google search and provide many SEO benefits.

Shows your creative side

Creating valuable content is an opportunity to show off the personality of your business, so don’t be afraid to have fun with it! The content you create will be associated with your brand, so use your content to create a voice for the company that people can easily associate with your brand. Don’t hesitate to get creative and catch the eye of your audience in an entertaining and engaging way. Being creative provides more value to your audience because they’re more likely to pay attention to something that stands out yet is still personable.

Connects with your audience

Your content is a great avenue for connecting with your audience on a more personal level. This is your platform to directly speak and interact with your customers. Social media channels give you the chance to receive feedback and learn more about what they’re looking for. Research and understand their needs so that you can produce content that is right for them.

About Lauren Usrey: Lauren is a student at the University of Texas at Austin and a marketing communications intern at Manzer Communications. She supports clients with social media, blogging and tech PR activities. Manzer Communications has offices in Austin, Denver and Houston and provides digital marketing and PR services for tech companies seeking rapid, sustained growth. Some of the services provided include content marketing, social media strategy and ad buys, email marketing, and media relations.

 

What is inbound marketing?

Typing on laptop closeup, chatting in FacebookFor years, when people thought of marketing, the first things that came to mind were flyers stuck on their windshields and over-the-top sales people pushing products in person or over the phone.

These methods were interruptive and worked hard to push consumers to take a specific action. Over the years, the marketing world, especially in the world of B2B marketing, has shifted to something called “inbound marketing.”

Inbound marketing focuses on building up the brand and creating long-lasting relationships with the consumer. When it comes to inbound marketing, it’s crucial to understand your target audience so that you are providing content that they will appreciate and engage with.

Pull vs push

Inbound marketing relies on pull tactics that draw consumers in naturally rather than pushing them in a certain direction. It communicates on a platform where the audience has given the marketer permission to interact with them, and is a more natural process where consumers observe and make decisions for themselves. Respecting the consumer’s space builds trust — which is important for not only gaining customers in today’s crowded market, but retaining them as well.

Relationship building

Inbound marketing helps shape brand preference for consumers and influences their purchasing habits in the future. For example, think about walking around the mall. Are you more likely to visit a store because someone is standing outside shouting at you about their deals, or because you received an email earlier in the week informing you about their sale? You probably chose the email, right?

People don’t like to feel pressured when making decisions. Inbound marketing takes away some of the pressure from customers. It’s based on building relationships with customers who are actually interested in your product. This organic creation of desire for your product or service is much more lasting than the pushy efforts of some in-your-face outbound marketing. While it’s a big deal to get people to initially buy your product or service, it’s an even bigger deal to make them want to continue purchasing it.

Digital presence

The widespread use of the internet has dramatically shifted the way we market things. Inbound marketing is centered around the use of the internet and is directly related to digital marketing. The audience for inbound marketing typically originates from blogs, search, and social media. 

When using these platforms, your customers may not even realize that you are marketing to them, which allows them to feel like they have more control and gives them confidence when making purchasing decisions. Another great advantage of blogs, search, and social media is that your online audience is much larger. The number of people online is constantly growing, which means that the number of people you can market to is constantly growing as well. In today’s mobile-social world, a strong social media and online presence is key to drawing people into your business.

About Lauren Usrey: Lauren is a student at the University of Texas at Austin and a marketing communications intern at Manzer Communications. She supports clients with social media, blogging and tech PR activities. Manzer Communications has offices in Austin, Denver and Houston and provides digital marketing and PR services for tech companies seeking rapid, sustained growth. Some of the services provided include content marketing, social media strategy and ad buys, email marketing, and media relations.

Four signs your marketing needs revamping

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It is entirely possible that the marketing strategy which previously brought you tons of customers is no longer as effective as it used to be. Whether the customer base has shifted, or the way your prospects do their product research has changed, or new competitors have joined the market — what worked last year might not be working so well anymore.

Whatever the case, it’s important to look at your marketing strategy with a fresh new perspective in order to stay relevant in your market. Here are some signs your marketing needs an overhaul:

You’re getting contacted less

If there has been a noticeable decline in the number of customers seeking you out, you should probably take a step back and re-evaluate. Unless there has been a clear change in general economic trends (i.e., a recession), then the reason for the drop off is either because your marketing is not reaching the target audience or your competitors are addressing that audience more effectively than you.

Website visits are down

You should be using an app like Google Analytics (it’s free!) to monitor the traffic on your website at least weekly. If you see a decline in visitors perhaps it’s because the information on your website is getting stale. Or maybe it’s not optimized for mobile. Things to look at include the state of your SEO, traffic coming from social media and the frequency of your blog posts. Any or all of these factors can lead to a decrease in traffic. Your website is the face of your business and needs to be up to speed on the latest upgrades and updates to open your brand up to as many opportunities as possible.

Social network follows have not budged

You should be consistently gaining followers on your social media platforms of choice. Fortunately, most social networks are good about keeping you informed on new follows. Try to keep an ongoing record of the new follows so you can spot any trends — for instance, which posts generated more follows versus ones that were duds. Also consider joining a new network that your customers are active on, or freshening up your social media campaigns and profiles by trying out new tactics, messages and visuals.

Your competitors are doing just fine

Keeping track of your own performance metric is clearly vital to your success. Perhaps just as important is keeping track of your competitors’ performance. If your sales are down and your new inbound leads are lacking, it’s worth taking a closer look at the competition to see if they are having the same problems. If they aren’t, take note of what they’re doing differently so that you can quickly figure out a better way to do things.

About Sam Lauron: Sam Lauron is a Communications Associate at Manzer Communications. She supports clients with digital marketing, social media, blogging and tech PR activities. Manzer Communications provides digital PR and marketing services in Austin, Denver and Houston and for any national brands seeking rapid, sustained growth. Some of the services provided include content marketing, social media strategy and ad buys, email marketing, and media relations.

The value of customer testimonials

Get your fans talking like Austin Eastcider's fans!

Get your customers talking like Austin Eastciders’ fans do!

I write a lot about the value of media coverage for all kinds of businesses and nonprofits. After all, getting a timely article in a local newspaper or interview on TV can pay huge dividends in the form of more brand awareness, increased credibility and even more revenue.

There’s another form of credibility, however, that can cement your reputation in the eyes of customer and it often goes unmentioned – the customer testimonial.

There’s a good reason why Yelp became so popular and customer reviews on Amazon and other e-commerce sites are one of the most frequently visited parts of a product page. People value the opinion of others who have already tried a product or service and want the skinny before they take the plunge.

There’s no question references (either in the form of emails, phone calls or pre-written testimonials) are an integral part of the purchasing decision. In a prior life I sold 6-figure ERP and CRM software deals and I always arranged for my prospects to speak with past and current customers. It helped provide the extra peace of mind they needed before signing a contract and committing to a 6-figure payout for software and consulting services.

Bottom-line, a testimonial can be the difference between crossing the finish line in first place or dead last so you should secure as many of them as practical to support your brand.

When asking for a testimonial, don’t forget to ask that your customers recount specific accomplishments or product features when writing down their thoughts. “I really liked working with Jill,” or “this widget helped me improve my bottom-line” won’t go very far toward capturing the imagination of your prospects.

If you’re a B2B company, ask for facts like return on investment, increases in revenue, savings in costs – any metrics that can lend credence to claims you are making about your product or service. If you’re a B2C business, then be sure customer testimonials emphasizes emotional connections to your product or service in order to paint a persuasive picture and capture the imagination of prospects.

So don’t be shy! Go ask your customers for a little love. Get lots of specific details. Provide a little editorial guidance if need be. Post completed testimonials to your website on a testimonials page or as call-outs on main product or service pages. And don’t forget to ask if your customers would be willing to write the testimonial on your behalf in LinkedIn, not to mention Twitter and even Facebook.

After all, if they are happy customers and you treated them well, then they should be willing to give you a shout out to do you a good turn!

About Dave Manzer: Dave Manzer founded Manzer Communications, an Austin PR & content marketing agency for startups and fast-growth businesses in 2009. He specializes in highly integrated PR & inbound marketing strategies that help companies in technology, healthcare, consumer and professional services reach their goals in brand awareness and revenue growth. If you have any PR questions about your startup or small biz, feel free to tweet him at @davemanzer or email him at dave(@)manzercommunications dot com.

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