Category Archives: marketing with high return on investment

businessman celebration successful market plan execution

Effective Marketing Plan Tips & Ideas that Get Incredible Results

Most business owners would agree that they want to reach more customers, but very few know how to craft a marketing plan that reaches potential customers. A marketing plan captures all those business growth ideas and gives a business a clear execution plan that achieves results. A marketing plan includes:

  • Summary of the business’ current situation (including product or service, current effective marketing tactics, challenges, etc.)
  • Target audience (including demographic specifics)
  • Future goals (makes these goals specific, such as social media engagement goals, website traffic, etc.)
  • Budget
  • Tactics used in future marketing efforts (i.e. social media, content marketing, advertising, etc.)
  • Marketing schedule (with party responsible for execution and clear deadlines)

Benefits of a Marketing Plan

  • A marketing plan provides focus so the targeted audience is reached.
  • Planning ahead allows for adequate planning and preparation (and avoids charges for rushed projects).
  • A marketing plan puts ideas into a document, so the business can regularly revisit the plan and make sure work is being done.
  • It allows a business to track results—and refine future marketing.

Tips for an Incredibly Effective Marketing Plan

Effective marketing plans are built, not given. The best marketing plan sets clear goals and outlines tactics that coordinate together to achieve those goals. As such, there are some clear marketing plan tips that businesses should use to create a coordinated and target effort that provides the best return-on-investment for the marketing budget.

Identify a target audience.

A target audience is an important part of effective marketing because it guides the selection and tone of future marketing. Instead of saying “everyone,” a marketing plan should specify the location (especially true for local businesses) and demographics of the target audience. A clearly defined audience can dictate the right social media channels that are used by the demographic. (The demographics of social media are outlined in this Sprout Social report.) If the target audience location is key, a marketing plan can demonstrate the need for solid local SEO services.

Set reachable goals.

Most businesses want to growth their business. The most effective marketing plans aim for growth, but do so with a set of annual attainable goals. As nice as it would be to gain thousands of social media followers, a marketing plan breaks the effort into step-by-step goals that get hundreds of customers in the target audience ever year.

Remember, that effective marketing is all about quality over quantity. For local businesses, reaching thousands of customers hundreds of miles away that can’t buy is a waste of marketing funds. Instead, it makes cents (pun intended) for local businesses to invest in marketing tactics that reach local customers that are in a position to purchase the business’ goods and services. A hundred local customers that can or may buy are more valuable than thousands of national customers.

Be realistic.

The crux of a well-executed marketing plan is to be realistic about the amount of staff available to carry it out. If a business wants to keep the effort in-house, the responsible staff member should be chosen carefully (with the right skills and expertise) and have the time available to devote to regular marketing efforts. All marketing passwords should be stored at the business. User profiles should be set up for the business, not the individual.

When there are not staff members available (or not enough time in the day), it may be time to outsource efforts. Just as when hiring a new staff member, a marketing firm should be chosen carefully. The marketing firm should be screened carefully and should be able to provide firm data that demonstrates the return-on-investment of every marketing tactic. For local businesses, the marketing firm should especially be able to demonstrate a clear expertise and have a track record of getting targeted results for local businesses.

Strategically choose tactics that fit with goals.

Targeted marketing requires targeted marketing tactics. This is especially true for small businesses who don’t have the staffing, time, or budget for large-scale marketing. Instead, businesses should choose marketing tactics that reach the target audience and provide the best return-on-investment.

Marketing Plan Ideas

An effective marketing plan utilizes marketing tactics that reach the target audience, though the combination of those tactics is different for every business. This list includes marketing tactics that build trust with an online audience and provide a solid return-on-investment.

Local SEO

Local SEO services set up a business online so that it shows up in searches by local customers. This marketing tactic involves multiple steps, such as claiming listings on online directories, building an optimized website, and creating and promoting quality content. The whole effort is a series of one-time and ongoing tasks that build trust with search engines and online customers. Because it is an ongoing process, it often pays off to outsource this effort to a local SEO service.

It’s also a marketing tactic backed by statistics. Another study published in Search Engine Land found that 78% of all local mobile searches result in offline purchases. Local SEO gets a business found in local searches, and builds continual trust with brand reputation management. Again, the latter is based off of online user behaviors. According to Search Engine Land, research has shown that 88% factor online reviews into their purchasing decision.

Content

Quality content attracts customers in two ways: through listing in search engines and via email and social media. Well-written content with well-chosen images establish a company as a local industry expert and the answer to customers’ problems.

The key is to produce optimized content that positions the content in relevant customer searches and results in clicks on social media and in emails. For the effort to be successful, the content needs to be regularly posted and relevant to the target audience. Content creation should also involve keyword and search intent research and end with a promotion strategy that reaches the target audience. For regular and strategic content creation, a calendar with topics, deadlines, and responsible parties (either in-house or by a quality content firm) should be crafted and maintained.

Social Media

Social media is a marketing tactic that requires strategic planning and execution. The effort starts with selecting the right social media channels based on the target audience and continues with regular posts relevant to the industry and audience.

This marketing tactic is about more than just selling products. Social media also gives businesses the chance to showcase their involvement in local causes, showcase projects and achievements, talk to their customers (with excellent online customer service), and gain positive reviews that show up in online searches.

The latter two elements of social media are often overlooked by businesses. Prompt and excellent customer service is an interaction that can result in sales and loyalty, though it needs to be delivered promptly. For this reason, businesses should select experienced staff members for the responses and establish a system for response and follow-up.

On social media and online review sites, positive reviews are earned; however, businesses are passing up on a chance to earn more customers by not asking for them. There are many opportunities for businesses to remind customers to leave reviews, which is why businesses should incorporate the asks into existing marketing pieces and customer interactions. The effort should be a comprehensive business effort with every staff member trained to deliver during service delivery.

Website Optimization

A well-built, easy-to-use website is worth its weight in gold, both in the eyes of customers and search engines. The website is a business’ chance to tell their story and provide an optimal customer experience that builds customer trust.

Statistics prove that a mobile-friendly, fast website is worth the effort. A study in Search Engine Land found that nearly 60 percent of all searches are done on a mobile device. According to Google, when the time for a website page to load goes from one to three seconds, the chance of an online user leaving the website increases by 32%. That number almost triples, to 90%, when page loading speed goes from one to five seconds. The number increases to 106% when loading from one to six seconds. From one to 10 seconds, the chances of a bounce are a whopping 123%.

In addition to these important parts of the customer experience, captivating images, website content, and an easy-to-navigate website all play a significant part in converting visitors to customers.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the most effective marketing tactics IF executed correctly. Email marketing starts with a list of recipients interested in the business services or products. If the recipients are not interested, the email is going to go to the trash; this is a key reason why buying email lists is not an effective way to build an email list.

Instead, businesses should ask for e-mail addresses with incentives or during interactions with customers. Businesses can ask for email addresses on the website, during the buying process, or at meetings. To continue to grow the list and maintain interest, all emails should be drafted with a subject line that gets noticed, content that is valuable to the customer, and high-quality media that connects with the recipient. For best results, email content should be coordinated with other marketing tactics in a coordinated marketing calendar.

Marketing that Doesn’t Take Much Effort

businessman with clock who has no time for marketingAny business owner or manager can give you an endless list of tasks they have to tackle every day (sometimes every hour). Marketing the business is just another to-do item on the list, often getting pushed to the bottom of the list. That’s why we’ve compiled a list perfect for you, the business owner who needs effective marketing tools but has a million things to do (and little time).

Marketing that works (with little time)

Website SEO

Optimizing a website may not be the most glamorous marketing task; you won’t see your website on a billboard or the news. However, the results and return-on-investment can be just as effective—and with very little effort.

Optimization is the process of crafting an ideal website for search engines, which gets your website to the top of the search engine listings. If you’re a brick and mortar business, search engine optimization technology can be used to increase your website’s local reach. Put simply, local optimization puts your website in listings of users within 10, 20, and 50 miles of your location.

Optimization takes very little effort on your part. Business owners and managers only need to provide information on their services and products and what sets their business apart. A quality optimization firm can do the rest (and be wary if they don’t ask for information specific to your business), and show you proof of their results.

Social Media

Social media may be free to sign up and post, but standing out from the crowd—and getting results—takes time and effort. If you want to drive sales, you need to put time in selecting the right social media sites, taking and selecting images (social media posts are far more effective with images), posting on a regular basis, scheduling for the future, and crafting a plan for the future.

If you don’t have time to take on an effective social media campaign for your business, contact a marketing firm about an affordable social media marketing plan. To make the plan effective, put aside a small amount of time to send testimonials and images to the marketing firm that give your followers a unique insight into your business, services, and products.

Email Marketing

There are several different reports on the effectiveness of email marketing, with some putting them as high as 400%. Email marketing is the process of building an email list (with the consent of your customers, here’s good ways to build an email list) and sending emails on a consistent basis with news and sales offers.

Email marketing can be as time-consuming as you choose. Option one is to create your own emails with relevant content and calls-to-action (make sure you send them from a dedicated server so you’re not blacklisted-more info on setting up quality email marketing here). The second option is to contact a marketing firm that can create and send out quality emails on a regular basis—emails your customers want to receive and keep them coming back.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is one of those “why would I need that?” marketing tools, but content marketing can be an effective way (both return-on-investment and time-wise) to increase the reach of your website and as a foundation for a social media and email marketing campaign. Relevant content posted on a regular basis is a sound part of a website optimization campaign to get your website at the top of local search results (along with local SEO). Quality content can also be used in e-mails and on social media to drive traffic back to your quality website (with these must haves of a valuable website).

Like other marketing tools, quality content marketing pieces can be produced by a marketing firm (tips on how to choose the right content marketing firm here). Be wary of content marketing firms that write one-size-fits-all pieces that are not specific to your business. Instead, choose a marketing firm that answers questions provided by your customers.

What you need to contribute

No matter what marketing tool you choose, or what combination of tools, you, or one of your staff members, need to contribute to make marketing efforts successful. You need to provide information specific to your business that your marketing firm that they can use to market your business (i.e. sales, testimonials, questions from customers).

Images are another valuable part of marketing. Pictures of your staff (with their consent), images of products or services delivered, or “insider” glimpses that intrigue and make your customers want to stay in touch with your business.

You can back up their loyalty by providing prompt and excellent customer service (details for stellar online customer service here). Once a message comes in, follow up with the customer and provide the customer service that your marketing firm has been highlighting online.