As business owners and marketing and communications professionals, how do we adapt our communications during a crisis? We are all experiencing a difficult time with the coronavirus - many closed businesses, financial concerns, working remotely, concern for loved ones and those in need.
If your organization’s social media program isn’t in high gear, here are a few tips to get there. You wouldn’t enter a cycling team in a long-distance race without a great deal of preparation from planning to training, and ensuring you have the all the right gear to go the distance. Success with social media and digital marketing also requires planning, preparation and of course flawless execution. It takes a team to pull it off.
Many business and marketing professionals have asked me where to focus their social media and how to make the most of it. As mentioned in the past, I believe strongly in first developing a strategy and a plan, identifying who you want to reach, and with what message and call to action. First find out what your target market is talking about online. Listen and learn from conversations in your industry. Then develop an editorial calendar and adjust if current events change the conversation.
After you’ve developed a strategy, or worked with a professional outside firm to help you develop one, execution is critical. A colleague one said “Execution Eats Plans for Breakfast”. This is true in so many scenarios—of course in sports, and also when it comes to marketing through social media. Even the best plan won’t garner results without a skilled team of experienced social media experts handling the execution.
Several times I’ve seen businesses assign team members with very little social media experience or training to implement their social media plan. The thinking goes something like this ….”Well, anyone can post on Facebook or Twitter.” But this same group of business managers probably wouldn’t consider assigning ‘just anyone’ to developing key content for their sales messages, or their website. They are typically disappointed with their social media results and find themselves wondering if it’s really an effective route for marketing.
Social Media isn’t just about posting and activity, it’s about interacting with customers and potential customers on relevant information they are interested in discussing in a conversational way. It’s about positioning your organization as a ‘thought leader’ by serving up fantastic ideas and content that is helpful to your audience. And this takes an expert’s approach. If you want to manage your social media internally, plan to dedicate the hours necessary to win the race. Assign a team manager with lots of experience and understanding of social media. Gather a team of 3 – 4 people or more depending on the size of your organization, and offer continual training to keep them up to date on the constantly changing environment. Set team goals and monitor results during execution. Remember, ‘Execution Eats Plans for Breakfast’.
If you don’t have the internal resources available to dedicate to social media, talk to a professional about creating a social media team for your business. Let’s Chat. www.bohmanmarketing.com.
Have you developed marketing personas for your customers and prospects? With the multitude of digital marketing options including social media, blogging and email lead generation plans, tailoring your content to make it more relevant to buyers will most likely improve your results. Marketing personas are a great way to get started.
As a small to mid-sized business marketer, no doubt you’re wearing multiple hats and may be short on resources. Follow these steps to start using customer personas to improve your digital marketing results:
Did you say car ride? Nothing like hanging my head out the window as my ears flop in the wind.
Translation: Customers and prospects love to be taken on an interesting journey. Sharpen your storytelling skills to share customer successes.
If you feed me crap, I’ll most likely be suspicious of what your feeding me the next time around.
Translation: If I sign up for your email list, and you send me content that isn’t interesting or relevant, I may not open your future emails. Keep it up and I may unsubscribe all together!
How ‘bout a belly rub? Ah, that feels so good.
Translation: Even business prospects like to receive a compliment now and then. Keep it positive and praise those in the industry when they deserve it.
You don’t look familiar.
Translation: No SPAM please! If I didn’t ask for your content, chances are I’m not interested.
If you ask me to do a trick and provide a treat, I’m probably all in.
Translation: Remember to have a clear and concise call to action – and it doesn’t hurt to throw in a special offer to get your prospects to respond.
Did you just call my name? I respond to that.
Translation: Take the extra time to personalize all outgoing email and test it before sending.
Uh, is that a cat video? I prefer the Puppy Bowl!
Visuals matter. Be sure to use relevant photos, infographics and videos to that resonate with your audience.
Contact us today - to talk about growing your leads and revenue!
4 Marketing Myths vs. Facts
Myth #1: A Conversation with Family and Friends is Market Research.
It’s natural to want to get feedback on your new products and services from friends and family, however, it doesn’t provide accurate market research results. Family, friends and basically anyone who knows us will most likely shy away from giving us constructive criticism, which is exactly what is needed prior to a new product launch. Even discussion among an internal product or marketing team at a larger company isn't enough. Getting both quantitative and qualitative input from customers and potential customers is critical to bringing a product to the market if you want to have a better than average shot at succeeding.
Myth #2: We'll Sell More with a Broader Target Market.
Many companies think they've clearly defined their target market with terms such as 'small businesses', people 20 - 40 in age, 'businesses in a specific state or regional area'. However, truly defining the ‘sweet spot’ of your market as narrowly as possibly will result in more sales in a shorter period of time. Naturally, as entrepreneurs, we don’t want to miss out on an opportunity. However, really honing in on a niche market doesn't exclude anyone from buying your product or service - it simply allows you to focus your marketing budget on reaching those 'most likely to do business with you' and 'those who are the most profitable customers'. With limited marketing budgets, the more clearly and specifically we can define a target market - the more results from each marketing dollar spent.
I worked with a client who targeting 'small businesses in Ohio' with technology services. Through several strategic planning sessions and customer and market research, we were able to more clearly define their target market as "serving as an IT Department to medical practices". This was a market they excelled in. Now clients feel like they are dealing with the 'expert' in their industry.
Myth # 3: Customers Don't Know What They Need, But We Do.
A technology business owner made this claim and asked me to come up with a marketing plan to convince customers they needed their product. Much easier to take time to do a little market research, to determine customer's 'pain points' and make sure your product offers a desirable solution. We worked with a promotional apparel firm on their strategic marketing plan, branding, PR and marketing initiatives. They were certain that what set them apart from the competition was the fact that they had 'the 'largest showroom in the Midwest'. At the time, they were centering their branding and messaging around the showroom. However, when surveyed, their customers ranked ‘having the largest showroom’ as number eight on a list of ten attributes they were looking for in this category. Number one was 'receiving updates on the status of their order'. Who knew? With research, we were able to help them market what is relevant to potential customers. We worked with the firm to develop new branding and messaging - that would resonate with their potential customers. They went on to win many business awards and were on the Inc. 500 list, and were recognized by the magazine Fast Company.
Myth # 4: Keeping Information “Secret” Protects Us from the Competition.
Working with a technology and software firm on B2B marketing, I had recommended a strategy for the firm to position as ‘thought leaders’ in their software space. Tactics included providing rich content through case studies and white papers. However, the software firm wasn’t comfortable sharing successful case study details for fear their competition would read them and benefit. The result is their competitor has much more online content for potential buyers researching software.