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7 Steps to Boost Your Marketing in 2011

How would you score your marketing in 2010? Give yourself 10/10 if you had a consistent flow of profitable new customers joining your business month after month. Unfortunately for most businesses, they either don’t have a clearly defined marketing plan at all, or anything they do have doesn’t generate any leads, or attracts the wrong types of customers. Either way it results in you having to work harder for less money.

If you don’t have a marketing plan in place yet, or you need to improve what you’re doing, following is an overview of how to boost your marketing in 2011:

1. Strategy Before Tactics

Let’s be clear, your website, pay per click advertising, print ads, direct mail, emails, twitter, facebook are all marketing tactics used to execute your marketing strategy. Your marketing strategy encompasses 2 key areas.

Firstly, you need to identify your Ideal Customer. A great way to do this is by reviewing your existing customers and identifying who is profitable, and who refers you, and then articulating what are the common characteristics of these customers. This will provide you with a framework for your Ideal Customer moving forward.

Once you’ve done that, you need to develop a clear and unique marketing message that differentiates you from the competition. Again, your existing customers hold the key. A short survey with existing customers who meet your Ideal Customer profile, and asking some thought-provoking questions will help you identify what really sets you apart.

By having a clear marketing strategy your tactics will become more powerful and effective, and your business will also become more profitable.

Action: Identify your Ideal Customer and develop a clear and unique message that differentiates you from the competition and ultimately reduces the emphasis on price.

2. Embrace The Marketing HourglassTM

The Marketing HourglassTM maps out the 7-step process a prospect goes through when considering buying your product or service (Know), all the way through to post-purchase when word of mouth starts to happen (Refer). The full process is Know, Like, Trust, Try, Buy, Repeat, Refer.

When you start to look at your business in this way, it can change your whole approach to marketing. Instead of viewing marketing as an add-on that is solely responsible for generating leads when sales are down, it becomes an all-encompassing outlook that informs every activity of your business. Marketing ceases to be about leads or sales but delivering an exceptional overall customer experience.

Action: Design your marketing in a way that provides a remarkable experience at every single touch point.

[Next: Adopt the publishing model]

3. Adopt the Publishing Model

The definition I use for marketing is “Helping someone with a need, to know, like and trust you”, which relates back to the Marketing HourglassTM described above. People don’t buy without trust, so you need to change your marketing approach from trying to land a sale with a ‘one-off’ ad, and looking to build trust with a prospect before they buy.

One of the most effective ways of building trust is through the use of content. Content that positions you as an expert on your particular topic, whether that’s tax or employee law or retirement planning or building complex data integration systems. The content can be presented in a number of different forms, for example blog posts, articles, white papers, presentations, podcasts, videos or events.

Plus you’re also able to inject some personality into the content through stories, and bring your business and brand to life.

Action: Commit to producing content that builds trust and educates.

4. Create a Total Web Presence

Gone are the days where you developed a website, and then didn’t touch it for 2-3 years. When people are looking for answers, the first thing they do is go online and ‘Google’, searching for content-rich information to answer their particular problem. To increase your chances of ‘being found’ online, your website should be organic, growing on a week-by-week basis.

Let’s start with your blog. If you write one post a week, by the end of the year you’ve added 52 pages. Now overlay any tweets, or updates to your Facebook page, both of which are linked to your website, and that further increases your website footprint. Expand that even further with videos on YouTube or maybe even a Podcast, and your footprint gets larger still.

And when other people start re-tweeting your posts, or distributing your content, your links start to multiply. And those links tell the search engines that your website is a trusted source of relevant information for *insert your particular subject here*, and increase your ability to be found online when someone is searching for what you do.

Action: Develop a plan that takes advantage of appropriate social media tools to improve your SEO and increase your chances of ‘being found’.

5. Orchestrate the Lead Generation Trio

Your lead generation should include 3 core components that work together in an integrated way, and utilise the internet and technology to make them more effective.

  1. Advertising: whether that’s Google Adwords, print ads, directory listings, direct mail, leaflets or even signage, you should have a combination of different advertising that targets your Ideal Customer.
  2. Public Relations: nothing is better than someone else saying how great you are, and PR is a great way to increase your awareness and position you as an expert.
  3. Referral Marketing: having a system in your business to promote word of mouth marketing will improve your sales conversion and increase your overall profitability.

Action: Harness technology to create multiple ways of generating leads via advertising, public relations and referrals.

[Next: Drive a Lead Conversion System]

6. Drive a Lead Conversion System

Marketing does not stop when you generate a lead, and needs to nurture prospects through your sales process in a way that helps to increase your sales conversion. The process should be structured around more content that continues to build trust, and takes the emphasis off ‘selling’ so that everyone in your organisation can use it.

As outlined with the Marketing HourglassTM, marketing should continue after the sale as it moves into ‘Repeat, Refer’ steps which includes transitioning prospects into customers and your operations, and continuing to build trust to encourage repeat purchases, as well as word of mouth marketing.

Action: Develop a sales system that everyone in the organisation can use

7. Live by the marketing calendar

Many times I work with clients they go from having no marketing at all, to having a lot to do. The trick is to not get overwhelmed, and to simply break it down into manageable chunks. I like to create monthly themes, for example, February is developing your marketing strategy, March is developing your lead generation plan, April is updating your website, etc.

This enables you to break everything down month-to-month, and then into weekly and even daily tasks, and this becomes the essence of your Marketing System.

Action: Make marketing a habit by establishing monthly, weekly and daily action steps.

How would your marketing improve using these 7-steps?

What do you think?

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Joel Norton

Joel Norton

Joel is Chief Strategy Officer of <a href="http://Boosthq.com.au">Boost Marketing</a>, a specialist small business marketing consultancy. He is an accomplished marketing professional with 22 years experience, and is passionate about delivering strategic, practical marketing solutions that help small business to be more profitable. Joel is also a sought after speaker on the elements of small business marketing. You can follow Joel on twitter <a href="http://www.twitter.com/boosthq">@BoostHQ</a>

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