With 2018 drawing to a close and end-of-year analysis in full swing, all businesses looking to scale in 2019 will be thinking about how they can improve their marketing.
Simply searching for ‘marketing tips’ on Google, however, is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. There are thousands of them and they all claim to be the tip that can triple your revenues.
Of course, in truth, there is no one-size-fits-all tip because every marketing activity should be relative to your business. Your goals, your audience, your product, your resources and so on need to be taken into account. What works for you might not work for someone else, and vice versa. That’s not a bad thing, mind. It means that businesses are unique, and should operate uniquely.
But, as a marketer, how then do you find what works for you? The key to successful marketing is experimentation and analysis. The continual cycle of performance optimisation (so buzzwordy I know). Try new things, analyse those efforts, continue if successful, move on if not.
To aid you in your bid for better marketing in 2019, here is a list of my very best marketing tips:
Put your target audience at the core of everything you do, not your product: This is a fundamental shift in attitudes, from product-led marketing to pain-point led marketing. What it will do is ensure your marketing communications resonate better with your audience. What we want to tell them is different from what your audience wants to hear, and modern-marketers need to be thinking now from the audience point of view. Start with thinking about their needs and challenges, then build your marketing around it. Always think first: Will my audience find this useful, educating or valuable?
Improve the personal side of your business: Gone are the days when businesses are faceless entities hiding behind generic emails. It’s time for businesses to embrace their personalities and be led from genuine people - this approach is what will build more personable relationships. From a marketing perspective, that means utilising social channels such as LinkedIn for first-person, personal communications. Give your business a voice, be interesting and encourage your thought leaders to do the same. This leads to increased trust, which then translates to brand advocates.
Re-do your content strategy for 2019: Inbound marketing thrives on content, whether it’s content for search or content for discovery. You need to take both into account in 2019. One or the other won’t cut it. When thinking about content for search, consider what your audience will actively be looking for on Google and co. With regards to discovery, think about social media content, thought leadership and what content will work best for additional promotion. Overall, your content strategy should include a range of search engine friendly ‘how-to’ content and authentic editorial - video, articles, etc. If you are stumped on what type of content to try, check out our blog here.
Embrace paid, you need to: Growing organically is a myth. You simply have to include paid to grow. The good news is, the paid options (Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc) are highly targetable and effective. That means you can get in front of exactly who you want to. All brands that are scaling quickly are smashing their paid approach out of the park. Brands who don’t want to pay to promote themselves are left twiddling their thumbs.
Web experiences must be seamless: One of my biggest pet-peeves is brands who have a really clunky website that doesn’t seamlessly align marketing, content and web browsing in a nice user experience. In fact, I’ll go as far as saying I hate it. Your website is more likely than not going to be your first impression - and first impressions last. Make sure the content is good (and regularly updated), the user experience is clean and aligned, it is nice on the eye, and customer interactions are measured so you can subsequently tailor your marketing activities. Whether web traffic is coming from social channels, outbound email, search engines or direct, improving your web experience is a sure-fire way to encourage more readers, more interest, more content downloads, more sales, more form fills, blah, blah blah. You get the gist. Think about adding conversational marketing functionality, such as Drift, to your website to quickly improve the experience and aid sales/downloads/customer experience.
Make the most out of historic content: You might think that a blog you wrote two years ago has no value anymore. Think again. It should be a standard practice for your business to continually reap the rewards of old content. It’s the art of ‘repurposing’. Repurposing old content comes in many forms - grouping content together to make a guide, updating URLs within a blog, rewriting to modernise, turning into a video, turning into an infographic… the list goes on. The key is that by repurposing you are able to quickly tap into existing content (speed and efficiency) while telling search engines that the content has been updated, meaning it will start ranking again. So don’t let your old sh*** sit stale. Find it, update it, use it.
Use data to truly nail modern marketing: Sending the same communications to your entire database can still get some form of results, but it’s not sustainable. Think of it like this. You are a brand called X selling two products, one for cyclists, one for runners. You send two emails a month to your database, which is a mix of cyclists and runners. But, why would the runners in your database want to receive emails about cycling, and why would the cyclists want to get the emails about running. Same applies in the B2B world. Your database is likely full of different industries, job roles, interests and more - and it is particularly important if you have multiple products/services. Data is the lifeblood of business today. Don’t just dip your toe in, emerge yourself fully into the world of analytics, segmentation, personalisation and so on. That is how you deliver outstanding, personalised marketing.
My final and most important marketing tip for 2019 - tell a story: Stories drive emotion, and emotion drives business decisions. Your product or service shouldn’t be seen as just a product or service, view it as the solution to your audiences pain-point, or the potential to do something great that wasn’t before possible. Bring your sales to life with storytelling. Modern-buyers are becoming immune to promo content. Instead, they want an engaging narrative that will show them how they can achieve what they want. Look at brands like Wistia, Databox, HubSpot, Uber and Microsoft. They don’t just sell a laptop or a taxi ride. They sell the potential to unlock creative boundaries, or a chance to get from A to B in a safe and secure environment. Just look at this from Microsoft.
Stories capture everything that is good about marketing. They are a heady mix of powerful visuals, compelling writing and emotional narrative. Think about how your business can be brought to life. For more on the power of storytelling, read our recent blog.
Aaaaand there it is. Hopefully you’ve found some value from these tips and it has provoked some thought about your future activities. I opted to steer clear of the obvious ‘video is the future’ style tips, in favour of more actionable tips (video is vital, for the record). Just remember, trial and test. Then go all in on what has worked well.