Don’t succumb to Shiny Object Syndrome.
Most business owners come down with Shiny Object Syndrome on occasion, but the risk is especially high when it comes to marketing. Everybody wants to make sure they’re using every tool they can to win more business—or at the very least, not fall behind the competition.
Unfortunately, not every marketing trend is created equal. Some will revolutionize your ability to engage customers for decades to come. Some are the second coming of the Pet Rock.
Marketing trends work best when they are logically incorporated into timeless strategies—those which are proven to reach your audience and compel them to act.
Here are some tried and true ways for marketing your small business:
Use a CRM System
Customer relationship management (CRM) systems close the gap between sales and marketing. With a well-constructed and well-maintained CRM, you can accurately segment your customers, identify their needs and track your relationship with them. Based on where they fall in the sales process, you can then tailor messages in a more meaningful way, which leads to a faster increase in sales and better customer retention and satisfaction.
If those benefits alone aren’t enough to convince you that a CRM is worthwhile, here are two more. A CRM system results in an overall better customer experience because you can deliver the right message at the right time. Plus, if the cost was holding you back from buying one, there are CRMs on the market today priced for any business size.
Consolidate Your Marketing Efforts
Search marketing is quickly outpacing the ability of do-it-yourselfers to handle matters on their own. It makes sense for small businesses to hire a trusted partner who’s familiar with evolving best practices, who might have status as a Google Partner.
But search marketing isn’t a stand-alone activity. It requires strategy development, written content, graphic design and expertise in user experience, as well as SEO knowledge to perform well. Small businesses can and should consolidate marketing vendors, suppliers and agencies or freelancers to achieve streamlined integration.
Simply put, by consolidating your marketing sources, the left hand knows what the right hand is doing and vice versa. Doing so means different strategies can work in tandem to reach sales goals.
Put Your Money Where It Performs Best
Evaluate your marketing budget just like you do your other budgets. Look at which marketing avenues are leading your sales and identify those that aren’t. Then you can move money from the nonperformers to those proven to grow your sales.
Maybe it’s time to question what a salesperson said you needed to do. You might need to do something different from what you’ve always done in the past. Incredibly, even in 2016, there are small businesses sticking with Yellow Pages advertising even when they can’t recall the last time a customer found them there.
Team Up to Achieve Economy of Scale
Collaborative marketing is timeless because it works. For years, like-minded companies have come together in marketing because they target the same audiences. Retail merchants with storefronts in the same shopping center. A VoIP phone service provider and a computer networking company. A specialty pet food company and a veterinary clinic. You get the gist.
Trends, while new and well … trendy, can leave you with a useless Pet Rock or a website with Flash animation. Both cool at the time; not so much now. Some trends can be embraced with little financial investment. Others cost thousands of dollars or more and return little, especially as the trend withers away.
Small business owners don’t have the luxury of being trendy. Sure, you can incorporate elements, but there’s no magic bullet. Ensuring that every marketing dollar is allocated to align with your marketing goals is what’s most important.