There’s no denying it; The advent of the internet has dramatically altered the landscape of marketing.
The pace of change has overwhelmed most local business owners, leaving 62% wondering if their marketing campaign works at all! It’s without wonder after you consider all the aspects of social media marketing, search engine optimization, advertising, web design, content writing, mobile optimization, apps and software, the list goes on. There’s still a huge chunk of businesses losing out by sticking with the mentality that a website is like a business card on the internet, when with the proper approach they could be actively reaching out, helping their customers solve problems locally, and inviting them in. Even if you don’t have products to sell online or to a global audience, you can still be drawing in a lot of revenue by reaching out to your customer base online.
The major marketing stumbling block of business today isn’t a lack of information, but an overload. A successful campaign in today’s market means you need a very diverse skillset; Research skills, graphic and web design, coding, social media management, and making sense of the reports and analytics. It’s far too much to manage alongside running the rest of your business. Successful business owners today are realizing is that this stumbling block of information overload is also an opportunity to partner with a marketing team and jump ahead of their competitors. A marketing team with a diverse skill set can collectively form the perfect marketing strategy for your local business, and help make sense of it all at about the cost of one employee. In order to hire that employee, you need to have a basic understanding of how marketing use to work and how it works today.
Yesterday’s marketing was synonymous with advertising; A direct, one-way message from company to consumer, usually designed to interrupt the attention of the buyer with something eye-catching in order to sell something. Today’s approach couldn’t be more different. Mobile information at everyone’s fingertips has encouraged the average consumer to research almost all their options online before making a purchase, the focus now is on being the first to reach out to the search engine queries and comments of customers, and help solve their problems by providing accurate information. It’s important to note that while it seems counterintuitive at first, the initial focus is NOT on the product or the sale, but on providing the right information at the right time. This establishes you as an expert, generates trust with customers, and provides the online doorway to your business, inviting them to discover your products as they need them. It’s an exciting opportunity to share with your target audience the expertise your business is built on! So the obvious first step for small local business today is to hire a marketing agency.
This begs the question; How do I know which marketing agency I should trust? It’s a sad fact that there are a lot of illegitimate companies out there who are using the average business owners lack of understanding about marketing to offer shady tactics that provide vague results. While the rules of marketing have changed dramatically, they still rely on the same foundation; Building trust with customers. Keep in mind that trusted marketing agencies are using the same principals to reach out to their client-base as they’ll be using for your campaign. Trustworthy marketing companies provide transparency, the information you need to understand the metric of success, hard numbers, and measurable analytic reports. They have up-to-date posts on market trends, show their research and results. They’ll also provide comprehensive material about the various strategies and services they provide. Look for agencies who offer a well-rounded and diverse approach, and focus on social media, mobile site optimization, apps and mobile software, utilizing local listings, developing quality content that’s indexed by top search engines, and most importantly a measurable ROI.
As a small or local business, the most important aspect of hiring a marketing agency is understanding your return on investment. When business owners ask, “How do I know if my marketing campaign is working?” it’s because they don’t have an understanding of how they should be measuring their ROI, and this is the question that marketers spend the most time answering. The reason is that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution as every business has different needs. Businesses with a local demographic approach are finding bigger isn’t necessarily better when it comes to finding a marketing partner as larger agencies have a generalized approach while smaller ones tend to focus on the needs of a specific business segment. They understand the metrics and data and know how to tie it into actionable goals.
Before you hire a marketing agency, it’s good to have some understanding of what your goals are in marketing your business online. A lot of business owners today understand on a conceptual level what they should be doing, but not what they should be getting out of it, or when they can call it a success! While there’s an almost infinite wealth of data to consider, the obvious goal of your campaign should always be on bringing in and converting more customers, in effect, generating more revenue. Generating meaningful metrics and drawing insights from data is both an art and a science. An effective marketer should work with you to develop key performance indicators specific to your business, and have an encompassing approach that incorporates quality control variables like the impact customer service has on data and a delicate balance of other factors. It’s important to recognize that measuring clicks, likes, shares, traffic, and analytic reports is important, but you should look to marketing companies who understand how to turn data into actionable goals for your company, and accurately measure the results.
If you need consultation in creating your marketing plan, we’d love to help! We encourage you to contact us and to learn more about all the exciting ways you can benefit from this new paradigm in marketing. We love learning more about this expanding industry and we hope that shines through when we help you create goals you can take action on.
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