Online marketing is a process; a gradual process that requires a lot of build-up, research and preparation to execute right.
It is NOT an overnight miracle.
Any digital marketing service provider will tell you that online marketing does not always bring immediate results, but will be successful if you stick to the basics and stay patient.
Many people outside the industry think that online marketing has become easier; thus attempting to do things based on what they see as ‘popular’ platforms. They think that social media makes it easier for anyone to handle their own brand marketing. – If a marketer knows the basics of using these platforms effectively it gives him a bigger chance to gain positive results.
Brand management works because it is anchored on tried-and-tested fundamentals.
Following these fundamentals is the first step to ensuring that your online campaign will reap benefits.
Businesses have always been about the customer.
A business fails if it cannot maintain a strong and loyal customer base throughout its existence.
The age of social media has provided brands with a means to keep in-tune with what their clients need in real-time. However, it has also constrained the traditional channels, with fewer instances of physical interaction between client and provider.
Keeping a strong relationship with your customers is a must if you want to survive in an increasingly competitive business environment. The methods to do so, however, can be simple yet time-consuming.
- A face you can trust. Providing voice chat options for your customer assistance portal can go a long way. It gives your brand a ‘face’, and if done right, it can promote your business as a trustworthy company that provides prompt responses for client inquiries.
- Constant communication through the proper channels. Keeping in touch with your clients isn’t just through the complaints and suggestions box. Even if social media helps in monitoring customers in real time, this is sometimes not enough. As mentioned in a previous post, connecting via opt-in emails can help you maintain a stronger line of communication with your most loyal clients. Opt-in emails are often used to give loyal users with advanced information regarding upcoming products; a move which helps maintain loyalty with the brand.
- Customer loyalty programs. You will always have one or two clients who always avail your products and services, so why not give something back for their continued patronage? Establishing a loyalty program can help you retain clients by providing rewards for certain purchases or promos that they avail of. You can also use social media as a channel by running contests and similar events on a regular or seasonal basis.
Gone are the days of bare bones advertising and simplistic approaches to brand promotion.
If you want to make a name for yourself and your business in the online world, you must be able to stand out among the competition. The best way to do that is to add value to your marketing and business approaches.
When we say ‘adding value’, we’re not talking about going fancy with your approaches or designs. Rather, we are talking about ensuring that your target market can get the most out of your marketing goals, products and services. You don’t just create a major marketing plan; you create a marketing plan that appeals to your target market the most.
- Update your methods. Sometimes the usual ad copy or even a blog post won’t cut it anymore. For many industries, interactivity is the way to go. Come up and design interactive videos, graphics and apps that can carry your brand further. Investing in this method can take time, but its returns can be massive.
- Add in the ‘human’ factor. Simply put, learn how to relate to people. Include their stories in your methods of communication. A customer becomes more attached to a brand if they feel like they can relate to it and if they believe that the brand values them as customers. For a fairly recent example, a local fastfood chain created an online video campaign for Valentine’s Day that immediately went viral, simply because people can relate to the stories. The discussions which erupted further support the major effect of a value-added campaign on a brand.
- Stay current. Nothing encourages higher bounce rates more than a webpage that looks stuck in 1997, or a social feed that rarely updates. This level of carelessness can cost your business dearly. Always keep your website and social media platforms up-to-date by enhancing and modifying your previous content based on current trends.
Know Your Competition
Everybody remembers the old adage, ‘know the enemy as you know yourself, and you are sure to win many battles’.
True for wars, true for online marketing.
Knowing your competitors inside and out can help you better formulate strategies that can get more customers than they do. You can gain a better chunk of the market if you effectively apply this knowledge into a tangible marketing campaign.
Familiarizing yourself with the competition doesn’t only involve researching their strengths and weaknesses. It also include ways of determining how to get ahead of them. You can do this through a number of methods like:
- Getting ahead of your customers’ needs through regular monitoring of customer preferences and current trends
- Provide relevant copies backed up by research
- Providing alternatives to what the competition is offering, which may include appealing to niches within your marketing niches
- Updating your brand image and taglines
Note that this is one section where extra effort needs to be exerted. Knowing your customers’ needs can be grueling, and in some cases you won’t find anything useful for your campaign. This should not discourage you, but should drive you to further seek alternatives that will eventually score a hit with your target market.
Learning Never Stops
The marketing scene is an environment for innovators and trailblazers. Those who stick to the old methods tend to get left behind by their competitors who have learned to adapt to newer methods and techniques. This usually involves:
- Training and drilling yourself and your staff with current marketing techniques
- Keeping updated with algorithm updates that may affect your current, previous, and future marketing plans and implementations
- Indulging in marketing discussions with other experts in the same field
- Creating your own innovative approach to marketing based on what you have learned through practice and research
Staying current with the marketing methodology means that you will devote time to studying and reading up. However, that will not be enough unless you can apply what you’ve learned to your standard practices.
Consistency is Key
It can irk customers when you fail to maintain a consistent level of service for them. A lack of consistency in your marketing approaches and products can come off as a lack of professionalism on your part, and a lack of consideration towards your clients. It can also send the false signal that you lack the dedication to market your own brand, and thus should not be trusted as a service provider.
Inconsistency in your marketing can come through a number of sources.
- We’ve pointed out earlier that social media channels are a key platform for getting your message to more customers, so this bears repeating: DO NOT SLACK OFF when it comes to updating your online profiles and pages. Don’t just go for four posts a week on your first few weeks and then suddenly stop updating; people will think you’re no longer in business. Of course, try to keep it in moderation to avoid penalties.
- Your aim for consistency can also suffer if you adopt conflicting messages across your platforms. For example, you can post an update on your social media feeds about a new product you will be offering, but the update gets distorted throughout your Twitter feed, your Facebook update, and your blog post. People will be confused about what information is true, and this confusion can lead to your marketing plan ending in failure.
- Consistency isn’t limited to your online presence. Your real-life image is directly tied to how people view your brand online, so make sure that you don’t overlook it. A major disconnect between your online presence and your real-life image can make your brand suffer severely.
Establishing your brand identity, whether it’s online or in the real world, can be a difficult and taxing process. You can expect to face several setbacks along the way, as well. However, with the right tools and knowledge, as well as assistance from experts and veteran marketers, you are sure to achieve your goals of establishing a well-recognized brand.