Reach, Differentiate and Gain Sales
Great marketing is incredibly important for SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises). Marketing allows SMEs to reach potential customers, differentiate themselves from competitors, and ultimately drive sales and revenue.
Effective marketing strategies can help SMEs to:
- Increase brand awareness: Effective marketing strategies can help SMEs to get noticed by potential customers and increase brand awareness, which is critical for generating interest in their products or services.
- Attract new customers: By reaching out to potential customers through various marketing channels, SMEs can attract new customers who may not have otherwise known about their business.
- Retain existing customers: Marketing can help SMEs to keep existing customers engaged and interested in their products or services, which is important for building long-term relationships and generating repeat business.
- Differentiate themselves from competitors: Marketing can help SMEs to stand out from their competitors by showcasing their unique selling points and communicating their value proposition effectively.
- Drive sales and revenue: Ultimately, effective marketing strategies can help SMEs to increase sales and revenue, which is critical for sustaining and growing their business over time.
In today’s highly competitive marketplace, SMEs that fail to invest in marketing are likely to struggle to attract and retain customers, which can impact their long-term success.
The need to improve your marketing
Improving your marketing is crucial for the long-term success of your business, regardless of its size or industry. Here are some reasons why:
- Keeps your business relevant: As your target audience evolves, so should your marketing efforts. By regularly improving your marketing strategies, you can ensure that your business stays relevant and continues to resonate with your target audience.
- Increases brand awareness: Improving your marketing can help you reach more people and increase brand awareness, which is critical for generating interest in your products or services.
- Differentiates you from competitors: Effective marketing can help you stand out from your competitors by communicating your unique selling points and value proposition.
- Generates more leads and sales: A well-executed marketing strategy can help you attract more leads and convert them into paying customers, which is critical for driving revenue and growing your business.
- Enhances customer loyalty: By consistently communicating with your customers through marketing efforts, you can build stronger relationships and enhance customer loyalty.
- Provides valuable insights: Marketing efforts provide valuable insights into your target audience, including their needs, preferences, and behaviors. By regularly improving your marketing, you can continue to gather insights and adjust your strategy accordingly.
Improving your marketing is essential for the growth and success of your business. By regularly refining your marketing strategies, you can stay relevant, differentiate yourself from competitors, and drive revenue growth.
Improve Your Marketing With CONVERTS
If you are advertising digitally or through print media then the following CONVERTS acronym can be useful as you look to improve your marketing.
Many companies end up with website pages that fail to convert, adwords campaigns that cost significantly more than they should, and print campaigns that are effectively useless.
All of which result in both a waste of time or a financial loss. Check out CONVERTS below and see if it can help your marketing performance.
- C : Ensure there are Clear Calls To Action
- O : Develop a mafia Offer
- N : Narrow Focus the advert / page should only feature one element / message
- V : Very Important Attribute what is it that the reader will engage with
- E : Effective Headline – the first message that will engage with the reader / viewer
- R : Resolution – (how will the message appear to the viewer)
- T : Tidy Visuals – great design will further enhance its chance to perform
- S : Social Proof – can companies other than you endorse how good you are
Additional Tips To Help Convert
- One of the criteria that Google uses in ranking sites is the speed of loading. This is impacted by numerous factors from the hosting of the site through to the size of images used and how well the site is coded. A great tool to check the speed of your site is this one
- Do you ever need to get the email address of a prospect. This tool can help you identify the correct email address
- If you get the email of a prospect you might need to verify it before you send the exact email. Anymailfinder can be used for free for a limited number of checks
- Google Search Console
- Google.com/trends – for higher volume search terms the tool will allow you to see by region , topics and queries how much interest a term generates over a long period of time
The 4 step process to digital engagement
- Stage 1 – is stimulus where you need to engage with the prospect
- Stage 2 – the zero moment of truth – the immediate point whereby the recipient sees (or doesn’t see if the page doesn’t load)
- Stage 3 – The first moment of truth – when the customer clicks and goes to the next area
- Stage 4 – The second moment of truth
Marketing Mistakes & How To Improve Your Marketing
Marketing Mistake #1 : Not Thinking Outside The Box
We live in times where it is no longer business as usual. Technology is moving at a rapid pace. The speed and types of communications have changed beyond belief. From a few television channels we now have hundreds. Whereas printed directories were once a key element of the marketing mix (particularly yellow ones) they are now consigned to the back of the cupboard. The way that we do business and think about doing business needs to develop. In this article we will look at how thinking outside the box could help your marketing and sales
When you are planning for your next marketing and sales plan consider the following.
Make sure your marketing is different from your competitors
Is your marketing just like your competitors, do you have a similar looking website. Does your product range have a strikingly similar feel to your competitors. They perhaps have yellow and blue products, whereas you have blue and yellow products. Is the way that you engage and try and develop customers just like your competitors.
I recently attended a major trade show where numerous manufacturers had all got a similar style and format brochure / price list. The reason being the easiest way to get these produced quickly was through a standard “show” printer. The net result companies looked the same, its hardly a strong selling point when you are just like your competitors. The immediate comparison someone will make is how do you compare on cost, is that what you want?
There is no reason for your marketing to be similar. Doing something “different” can be a challenge but if it sets you apart from all the others within your sector can provide a significant point of differentiation. The challenge is that doing something different takes effort and time.
Make lots of small measurable improvements
The classic question “How do you eat an elephant” , the answer “One piece at a time”. Making major changes can seem daunting, which is often why the net result is that nothing happens. But what if you looked to make a series of small improvements to you sales and marketing tactics, systems and processes.
Now this does mean that you will need to be measuring the performance of what you are doing or how well activities are performing.
Once you have measurements in place, you can start asking questions like
- What could we do to increase conversion rates
- How could we get more enquiries
- What would happen if we increased prices
- Are we attracting the right kind of enquiries
And for all of these questions looking at making small changes and evaluating if it makes a difference. In the next article “Ask The Right Marketing Question” I will feature a real life case study on how measurements and small improvements can make a big difference to sales
Establish how much a customer is worth to you
Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is an important metric that all businesses should consider.
In very simple terms the following would appear bad (not desirable)
- When you are spending more to acquire a customer than the value of any possible transactions
- When you work hard to secure a customer and lower your prices to gain the work and never get any additional higher priced projects (Jam Tomorrow)
- When you don’t have the capability of selling your customer additional products / services once you have acquired them
- When you don’t know the potential spending power of a customer. So you are happy selling £X worth to them, when in fact they are buying £X’s
- When you provide great products / services to a customer but never ask for a testimonial or referral
Understanding the value of your prospects / customers should be an integral part of your marketing and sales strategy
Perform the marketing vending machine calculation
The following analogy sounds crazy but provides a foundation to the marketing / sales process.
Imagine you had a magic marketing vending machine and every time you put money in, it spat out an average customer for you.
How much money would you be prepared to put in?
If you would like to consider this concept more and how it links with your marketing and sales strategy then please give me a call 07748554756 and we can work out how much you should be putting in!
DDWT (Don’t Do Without Thinking)
For many of the companies we work with the factor that most impacts on their growth is TIME. There just isn’t enough of it to deal with operational and strategic issues.
The DDWT approach is a Hard Hitting, High Impact approach that in 90% of cases will free up time without impacting on profitability
If you would like to find out more about DDWT e mail firstname.lastname@example.org and simply put DDWT in the subject line.
Marketing Mistake #2. Poor Prospect Management
If the product or service you are selling involves a considered sales process, then the likelihood is at anyone time you have multiple prospects involved discussions with your business. Depending on the size of the company, the number of people involved within sales and the number of prospects / existing customers you trying to manage, will impact on the systems and processes required to ensure the optimum sales conversion rate. In this article we will look at some of the main issues to prospect management and ways to overcome these issues.
Prospect and Customer Management – In the beginning
Firstly let me make this point. The people responsible for new customer acquisition and managing customers don’t deliberately set out to mismanage the process. What typically happens is that over a period of time
- The number of existing live customers increases.
- The number of potential prospects increases.
- The status of this ever increasing list prospects varies from
- I’m really interested but nothing is going to happen in the next 9 months
- I might be interested at some point
- Call me in 4 weeks and I will order
- Call me next week
- No idea who the decision maker is within the company – but the company would appear to be desperate for our product
- Met this person at a networking meeting and whilst they arent directly buying they know people who are
The problem with getting Prospect / Customer Management wrong
From a customer perspective
You work so hard to get a customer, but often once you have taken their first payment you forget all about them. (It is after all way more exciting chasing new business!!). So what often happens is that we wait for the customer to recontact us when they have their next requirement. If you have a long established relationship where the customer knows all about you then this is possibly fine.
Unfortunately things change so what happens if the person you were dealing with leaves; a competitor approaches the company; the customer suddenly has an urgent demand for a product / service but they didn’t know you did this. As a customer how long should I wait or expect between communications ?
In the end the worst outcome of not managing or keeping in contact with your customer to the correct level is that you will lose them – at what cost to the business.
From a prospect perspective
As we have seen prospects have multiple profiles often linked to where they are within the purchasing process, hence the terminology “sales funnel” . Whats the worst that can happen if you get it wrong with a prospect. Key to this is to identify how much time / cost you have invested. What could be worse than nurturing a prospect only not to contact them at the right point and lose the sale.
For many exhibitions and networking events are a core activity to meet people and build a list. What is the point of doing this though if you get a pile of business cards or contacts but never follow them up.
As Your Business Grows (Tries To Grow)
Over time as the business grows so the list of prospects and customers will inevitably get bigger. The simple spreadsheet (or multiple spreadsheets as many companies end up having) is no longer good enough. It doesn’t work for a number of reasons
- For the sales person – its really difficult to prioritise and requires loads of information to be retained in ones memory . (not a problem there but what if the salesperson is suddenly off ill)
- For the Director / Manager how do i easily see or track what prospecting activities have been carried out. Identify what stage each sale is and forecast sales projections over the next few months / year
A Better Approach To Managing Customers and Prospects
With increased competition the issue of managing clients and prospects has never been more important. To aid this a plethora of bespoke CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems have been developed. These range from the incredibly powerful and complex AX through to very practical systems like Workbooks. As with all systems the challenge is to get one that fits your business and people and can be implemented to help improve the management process.
We have been exposed to numerous systems and importantly the challenges of ensuring that the organisation embraces the system. As with all IT garbage In garbage out. You can have the best CRM system in the world but if sales / marketing people don’t update the system when they have an interaction then there is likely to be no business improvement.
Marketing Mistake #3.: Not Creating New Website Content
There are many benefits of adding “news” content to your website. Before we can do this we have to identify does your website have a “news” section.
Many companies when I first talk to them about their websites say ” we haven’t got a news section as we don’t have any news to tell people about”. It’s only when we discuss what constitutes news that they suddenly start to identify new items.
General News Items
Some typical general topics that are newsworthy for a company website
- The launch of a new product / service
- The improvement to an existing product or service , focusing on the benefits that this provides customers
- Case studies about work completed for customers. Identifying what their issue was, why they chose you and your solution, the benefits they have found as a result
- Information about any legislation happening within the sector
- Events your company is involved in, which automatically creates 3 stories
- We will be attending / exhibiting this event / tradeshow etc
- We are at this trade show / exhibition
- We attended this trade show / exhibition and this is what we found
So without too much effort we have potentially 12 articles (1 per month) that we can add to the website over the course of the year.
News Content Is Liked By Google
If you create a regular stream of new (unique and quality) content for your website then this will help your site from an organic search perspective. By identifying the key search terms used for your products or services and writing articles in an optimised format can help improve the credibility of you site. Importantly in some cases these individual news articles may actually rank well for organic search.
Writing news for website has two benefits. It allows people to see that you are still trading and current when they visit your site and it can potentially help you in your organic rankings
Marketing Mistake #4. Badly Set Up Adwords Campaigns Will Burn Your Budget
If you want to get search traffic to your website quickly then Adwords provides on the surface the perfect tool. Choose the search words / terms that you want your ad to be associated with, assign a set of money and “Boom” you can be getting instant traffic to your site.
Now on the surface this appears to be marketers perfect mechanism to do targeted marketing. Your advert appearing at the time that someone is actually searching for what you are selling!
So why do so many companies get Adwords campaigns wrong
I must premise this with the fact that many companies (especially the larger ones with dedicated resources) get it very right and Adwords is a cost effective and critical part of their lead generation and sales process.
The 4 biggest Adwords mistakes offences we see being committed are
- Companies setting up a campaign without any great thought. Now its interesting that Google etc make it so easy to set up a campaign. You can type in some search terms, accept the default settings add payment details and you are live – you now ready for the world of impressions and CTR. Whatever you want to spend the process, its been made really easy and off course £technically” you can monitor exactly how well your advertising is performing
- Sending traffic to the homepage. Why would you send a visitor to the home page of your website? The purpose of the homepage as discussed many times before should be to make it easy for a visitor to navigate too the specific content that they are looking for. If you have a search advert send the customer direct to the page that’s relevant or even better create a specific landing page associated to the advert, that way you can match advert and content messages perfectly
- Not analysing in detail the results achieved. I ‘m shocked how many companies set up their adwords campaigns assign a monthly budget and leave it at that. Assuming that if they have spent the budget then they have got the leads they desired and everything is in order. In many cases companies are only spending £00’s per month so no other analysis required. But what if the £00’s are generating no results – that’s money that could be used elsewhere and all of this is avoidable see point 4.
- Not setting up Adwords, Goal Tracking and Analytics correctly. We recently analysed a company who were spending £1500 per month on adwords. They were using a PPC agency to manage their campaigns but the agency hadn’t set up any goal conversions or tracking. The company had absolutely no idea which of the 9 campaigns being run were actually performing. We subsequently set up tracking and over a period of 8 weeks identified that 7 of the 9 campaigns were generating no conversions
Adwords Is Great Marketing Tool But Needs Managing
If you are currently running adwords campaigns but are not generating the ROI you expect or are not measuring at all then request an Adwords Analysis
If you are thinking that adwords could be beneficial to generating more traffic, we will conduct an analysis to identify how to get the most from your budget.
There is a wealth of information on adwords and integrating with analytics (100’s of books – who wouldn’t want to read all 739 pages of Google Analytics Demystified third Edition – a very good book). Alternatively talk to someone who will actually set up and manage a campaign and provide you with the business case (not just produce a standard report without any context as to if its working or failing).
If you would like more information on Setting up and managing Google Adwords Campaigns please complete the form below or call Andrew on 01733 361729. For more information on how to avoid marketing mistakes click here. To speak to a marketing and sales expert click here
Improve Your Marketing
Use the above approaches CONVERTS, Differentiation, Customer Value, DDWT, Improved prospect management, improved website design and content, correct Adwords set up, ABC to improve your marketing. Combine this with the top tips for gaining more sales.
For an SME (small and medium-sized enterprise), it is difficult to identify a single most important factor to improve their marketing since there are several aspects of marketing that can impact their success. However, if we had to narrow it down to one factor, it would be identifying and understanding their target audience.
Understanding your target audience is critical for developing effective marketing strategies that will resonate with them.
- Helps to tailor your messaging: By understanding your target audience, you can tailor your marketing messaging to their specific needs, pain points, and interests. This will make your marketing more compelling and relevant to your target audience, which can increase engagement and conversions.
- Determines the right channels to use: Understanding your target audience can help you determine the most effective marketing channels to use to reach them. For example, if your target audience is primarily active on social media, you may want to focus your efforts on social media marketing.
- Improves product development: Understanding your target audience can also help you develop products or services that are better suited to their needs and preferences.
- Builds brand loyalty: When you tailor your marketing messaging to your target audience, you are more likely to build strong connections with them, which can lead to increased brand loyalty and repeat business.
Understanding your target audience is critical for developing effective marketing strategies that will resonate with them. By focusing on this factor, SMEs can improve their marketing efforts and achieve greater success in reaching and engaging their target audience.
If you would like to know more about improving your marketing contact Andrew Goode MBA, MSc, FCIM Click here to arrange a call
Other articles linked with marketing metrics that may provide additional insight. Marketing metrics and analytics, marketing ROI Planning , marketing revenue analytics and Marketing Measurement Metrics and Website Design
Marketing Observations From An Automotive Electronics Provider
Cosworth is synonymous within Motorsport for engineering and manufacturing to improve vehicle and driver performance.
It could have just been a lucky coincidence that at the right time and the right place people with the right skills got together i.e. the mixture of engineering genius and business specialist and so Cosworth was created. This right time and right place will become a common theme within this article.
Brand development from racing to general public
The Sierra RS Cosworth got a brand known only to racing enthusiasts known to the general public. The relationship with Ford created ground breaking niche volume high performance road cars.
One of the mantras that appears as a theme is the fact that you “need to be close to your customers” both physically and metaphorically.
In the late 1980’s Pi Research was purchased by Ford to form the current Cosworth Group. This was part of their understanding that “Electronics key to winning in motor sport at that time” whereby the electronics would capture information on pressure, weight, force, drag etc as well as data acquisition there was also engine control.
Drivers for change
- Advanced materials
- Need to boot up really quickly
Cosworth had established a reputation to building equipment to the above characteristics. Cosworth core competences understanding vehicles and making sense of data. With this is place this provides the opportunity to take these skills and move them away from pure motor sport and mass produce with the technology. This is now the case with Performance Data Recorder PDR which puts the technology in road cars (and ultimately consumers)
Cosworth Unique Capabilities
- Capture and analyse data to make sense of vehicles and drivers
- they help customers get the answered they need from the data captured (you can have too much data)
- Opportunity to be involved in connected and autonomous vehicles along with automotive intelligence
Marketing Observations From An Automotive Electronics Provider In Summary
Being in the right place at the right time is important along with having the key skills to capitalise on opportunities