The Best (and WORST) Ways to Market your Business
Updated: Apr 14, 2022
This blog will discuss the pro's and con's of different marketing strategies for your business, some of the major pitfalls and mistakes I see clients making, and why content marketing is the biggest con of the 21st century (contrary to what 99% of digital marketing agencies out there will tell you).
There are lots of ways to 'market' a business, and the BEST way for you will depend on the service/product you're selling and what market sector you're selling it to.
There is NO 'one size fits all' approach that works when it comes to marketing!
There is, however, just one rule that if followed it all but guaranteed to get you results in the form of more QUALIFIED leads, and more sales to your perfect customers...
Always be TESTING.
Trends are constantly shifting, people's wants and needs are continually evolving, and new technologies are forever reshaping the economic landscape. So, the way you market your business and speak to your potential clients must always be evolving to - you need to be aware of what's going on out there, understand what your ideal clients want, and be agile enough to speak to them in THEIR language before the guards change.
“Amazing things will happen when you listen to the consumer.” –Jonathan Midenhall, CMO of Airbnb
The best marketers keep trying new marketing strategies continually, throwing out the stuff that doesn't land, and doubling down on the stuff that does. Do that, always be testing, and you WILL find methods to market your business that resonate with you customers without leaving a sour taste in your mouth.
The Different Types of Marketing Made Simple
Marketers and agencies like to make marketing sound more complicated than it actually is, so for the sake of simplicity we're going to break it down into 2 main types of marketing:
Each of these has 2 sub-types:
Don't be fooled!
'Free' marketing doesn't mean there isn't a cost attached to it... it just means you're not actively paying per click for leads. There' still sweat equity to consider, and whatever you value your hourly rate at.
Content marketing, for example, is considered as a type of 'free' marketing (unless you're paying some halfwit content marketer to create and publish nonsense on your behalf... not that I'm at all bitter) but if you're spending 5 hours a week doing it and you're hourly rate is £20 per hour then the real cost of this 'free' content marketing is in the region of £100 a week (or £5,200 annually).
Perhaps if you were delivering client work you would be generating £100 an hour in revenue... in which case, this 'free' content marketing is costing you 5 times that (an 'opportunity cost' of £500 a week, or £26,000 annually).
Perhaps if you spent even a fraction of that 'potential revenue' on paid advertising you would realise a portion of that as actual sales revenue, maybe even all or more, through actually delivering work as opposed to writing blogs and spammy Facebook posts...
“You can’t expect to just write and have visitors come to you. That’s too passive.” –Anita Campbell, CEO of Small Business Trends
Now you're starting to see why the promises of content marketing peddled by sexy marketeers is the biggest con of them all... but I digress, we're getting ahead of ourselves.
So, let's have a look at the different types of marketing activities you might want to consider 'testing' in each of these categories:
Word of Mouth Referral
Posters/Leaflets in local communities
Social Media Marketing
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
So, what works and what doesn't?
There's no denying I have a beef with content marketers and businesses who post endlessly on their social media channels without doing anything else, but I do think being present and having a certainly level of visibility on social media through producing and posting original (original being the key word) content designed to engage your target audience in a meaningful way (again, meaningful being the key word) has it's place. But, and this is a BIG but, I think it should bolt onto your primary strategy rather than BEING your primary strategy.
When it comes to social media, don't post 'n' run! Your 'content marketing' should be 20% content, 80% engagement - that means starting conversations with your content and sticking around to continue them allowing your audience to feel like they're connected to you and that they are being heard.
Don't stop there; find other people who are creating active communities and quality content in your sector and engage with them too - have conversations, and focus on building meaningful relationships to build your network rather than constantly (and selfishly) going on and on about yourself.
“Social media is a contact sport.” –Margaret Molloy, CMO of SiegelGale
I also don't think it's worth paying someone to perform mystical SEO wizardry on your website unless you're turnover is above £1m. The results are hard to measure, therefore making the costs hard to justify relative to your revenue/profit level. In my experience, you'd be better off taking their monthly fee and putting it into a paid advertising campaign either through Google Ads or Facebook Ads - it's way more measurable, and is far more likely to give you a positive return on investment.
So you're saying we should forget about SEO, I hear you cry?
There are some simple things you can do to really boost your SEO for FREE. Want to know more? Okay...
Keyword Research - yup, it's a ball-ache and no one really wants to do it, but once it's done it will really give you an edge when it comes to writing your website copy to make sure you're content, articles and social media posts are hitting the G-Spot (not THAT G-Spot you filthy animals!). Using the right keywords and phrases in your copy will help the Google algorithm match your content to people who are looking for what you do, and the more content there is on your website and social pages containing these keywords the more searchable you will be
Video - Google automatically transcribes all video content and the spoken words in that content is totally searchable, especially videos posted on YouTube (as YouTube is owned by... Google!). So, if you're creating video content make sure you get it posted to your YouTube Channel and embed the videos on your website.
Blogs - this one of the best ways to get keyword rich content (and lots of it) onto your website. Build credibility through sharing your industry specific knowledge so that people find you when they're searching for answers or solutions. Customer has a problem, searches Google for a solution, your blog comes up giving them loads of answers to their questions and building massive credibility in the process, and they're already a raving fan before they visit your sales page. Good for business? Uh-huh! Blogs can also be used to take snippets from to create micro content for social media posts, and can be shared as more in-depth articles on LinkedIn with links (ah, glorious back links!) to your website.
Images - here's a cool hack for you; when uploading images to be used across your website and social media load the file names with relevant keywords (you're starting to see the value in doing that keyword research now aren't you?). This makes your website images keyword harvesting machines so that the Google algorithm spits them out when your ideal clients search for them on the search engine, and the image leads right back to you!
The above 4 points should form the foundation of your 'free' content marketing strategy and is far more likely to get you the results you want rather than posting unrelated pictures and other nonsensical rubbish in millions of Facebook groups and a Facebook page that basically get ZERO organic reach these days anyway.
Which brings me nicely round to my next point; the best way to get qualified leads from your marketing is to PAY TO PLAY.
"Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody else does.” – Steuart Henderson Britt
In other words, you need a marketing budget.
Whether is social media advertising on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok or Google Ads, if you're serious about generating high quality leads for your business then you need to put your money where your mouth is.
Here's the thing; content marketing and networking (whether in person or on-line) is a long term strategy and it's time intensive. Paid advertising is automated and works whilst you sleep (or preferably whilst your serving clients and making money).
I spent years creating blogs, writing Facebook posts, growing Facebook groups and doing daily Facebook Live videos. It was a lot of work, took up a lot of my time, and delivered mediocre results at best (sound familiar?).
Does it work for some people? Sure. People who started back in the day when growing a social media following was easy if you showed up consistently and delivered valuable content. But the digital landscape has changed a lot over the last few years, never mind the last decade! The space is now SATURATED with Facebook boasting 2.7 BILLION monthly active users (that's over 1/3 of the global population).
It was relatively easy to grow a following on your Facebook page 5 years ago because the organic reach on the content you posted there was INSANELY high... now it's nonexistent.
I've lost count of the number of times I've checked out Facebook pages of new clients when on-boarding them to find loads of great content and just as many tumbleweeds with almost no interaction whatsoever.
So you have to pay to play.
Facebook and Instagram Ads can work well for some businesses, especially for brand awareness campaigns, app downloads or website/e-mail list sign-ups. Just make sure you set them up correctly else you'll fall pray to the bottomless 'Boost Button' money pit that has consumed the life savings of so many giving nothing but vanity metrics in return. If paid advertising is something you'd like to learn more about you can book a free consultation with us to make sure you avoid the pitfalls and make sure your social media advertising works for you rather than against you - just click here to learn more.
We've had some good results from social media advertising, but when we started using Google Ads it was a real game changer and it's become our primary advertising strategy for this reason.
So how much did it cost us to have our Google Ads professionally set up? NOTHING.
That's right - it didn't cost us a penny apart from the monthly ad spend.
All you need to do is set up your Google Ads account and Google will contact about their Google Ads Implementation Service. They will assign you an account manager and personal implementation team who will guide you through the whole process and set up your ad campaigns for you.
Why? Because they know how to set them up so that they WORK, and if they work you'll get great clients from your Google Ads. That's great for Google, because the better their ads work the more money you'll spend with them!
Let's face it, no one knows how to create better ad campaigns on Google than Google themselves.
So look, keep creating great content but make sure you've done your keyword research and you keep it relevant, meaningful and focused on delivering answers and solutions to your target audience...
BUT (and it's a pretty big but) if you're serious about growing your business through marketing and advertising then you must be prepared to pay to play.
Ask yourself, 'where do my ideal clients go to look for answers and solutions to their problems?' - put your money into advertising there. For some of you it will be Facebook... for most of you it will be Google, and for some it will be the right mixture of the two.
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