I recently made a short presentation to specialist contractors in the construction industry. The aim of the talk was to try to remove the ‘mystery’ of marketing and try to explain that it need not be a hugely expensive and impossible task, but something that can make a positive impact on your business.
To keep things simple, let’s start with what marketing isn’t and kill a few of those misconceptions:
• It doesn’t have to be expensive
• It’s not about full colour advertising in trade media
• It’s not difficult
• It’s not something ‘just big companies do’, or something others do, but is not you.
• It doesn’t work!
Marketing does work and when a little thought and strategy is applied to it, then it’s very effective. Yes, it might take a little time and consideration, but doesn’t anything that’s worthwhile? Yes, marketing can make a positive impact on your business!
What do you need to do? The first thing you can do is have a think about your customers. When did you last contact a customer, other than those you have a current project for?
Do your customers know what it is that makes your business different? The chances are they don’t so tell them. Customers pigeon-hole you based on what they know about you, so make sure they know all there is to know about you. Keep in touch with them – regularly.
Is there something you do better, faster, more cheaply or quicker than your competition. Talk to your customers about themselves – make what you say about them and not about you. Whatever you may like to think, customers aren’t interested in you, they’re only interested in what’s good for them – and what you offer could be that one big thing that helps them save time, do a better job or make more money.
Now have a think about how you can communicate this to them. If you’ve found that advertising doesn’t work, your website doesn’t work, direct postal or e-marketing doesn’t work and that social marketing has had no effect, then how do you reach them? Perhaps you’ve tried all of the above and more, individually. Why not try them together?
Think about how you can use the media available to you to present the same benefit-led message across those same channels, but in a different way, simultaneously. Media working together; synergy across a marketing or advertising campaign.
Make your website central to your marketing. Use your e-marketing or your advertising to get people to your website and when they get there don’t leave them ‘lost’ on the home page. Use different landing pages to welcome them and direct them to what you want them to see. Engage with them; make them feel wanted.
And finally, for now at least, have a think about how much that customer will spend with you over time, through repeat business. Market to your customers. Selling more to existing customers is one of the easiest ways to grow your business.
One final thought. We’ve not mentioned sales. With the support of a planned and well targeted marketing strategy, sales will follow. Think of marketing as your ‘air cover’ and sales as your ‘ground forces’ and use marketing tactically to pave the way for your sales team to go in and sell.
Geoff Noake is a Fellow of the Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing @Adplace