By George Otte
How’s your marketing strategy looking these days?
There’s no shame in taking a hard look at what’s working and what’s not. In fact, subjecting your entire marketing plan to a thorough annual review isn’t a bad idea at all. Best practices are changing faster than ever, and it’s up to you to stay on top it of all.
Your business is unique, which means your marketing strategy will have its own unique set of contours and quirks. But most successful marketing strategies share some attributes in common — like these five hallmarks.
1. Robust, Adaptive Social & Word of Mouth Campaigns
Social media marketing is relatively affordable and highly cost effective. Per Hootsuite, social media marketing budgets can be surprisingly complex, but they’re usually smaller than traditional advertising budgets. Even on premium channels such as Facebook, you can expect your cost per thousand impressions to be as little as 20% to 30% of what you’d pay for broadcast TV advertising.
And that’s assuming you pay for your social media placement at all. Some of the most effective campaigns are totally organic — bringing the power of word of mouth into the 21st century. You shouldn’t expect all, or even most, of your social posts to go viral. But, if you hire savvy communicators who know your audience well, you can turn your social accounts into powerful amplifiers for your message.
2. Effective Call Screening
Effective marketing campaigns produce leads. However, it’s crucial not to become a victim of your marketing efforts’ success. Reliable, scalable call screening helps your team qualify leads faster and with less uncertainty. Use a telephone answering service to screen calls and manage your inquiry inflows so that you can focus on the most promising leads. After all, your time is valuable.
3. Far-Reaching Direct Mail Capabilities
In an increasingly digital world, direct mail gets less attention than it should. Mail remains an incredibly powerful and cost-effective way to meet your prospects wherever they are — and, when executed properly, to stick in their minds long after they’ve set your mailing material aside. Plus, direct mail is secure (since it’s not connected to the Internet) and never trips up email suites’ promotional or spam filters.
If you’re serious about making direct mail work for you, you need to work with a partner that understands how to personalize and “localize” direct mail for your audience.
4. Virtual Receptionists to “Personally” Handle Inbound Leads
Looking to infuse your inbound marketing and sales operations with a personal touch? A virtual receptionist can help you do just that — providing a human foil for prospective customers and clients calling into your office for the first time. Keep in mind, your virtual receptionist doesn’t have to replace your office manager or onsite receptionist. Instead, your virtual receptionist can function as an extension of your sales team, freeing up valuable time for onsite staffers to work on other projects.
5. Automated Registration Capabilities
Trade shows, conventions, annual parties, and community events are all great ways to build buzz around your brand and get prospects talking about what you can do for them. However, they can be extremely challenging to manage, especially on larger scales.
Automated registration services greatly reduce one major logistical headache associated with event and convention management. With automated registration, you can quickly and seamlessly register dozens or hundreds of guests and allow them to manage their own relationships with the event. That’s a major time- and energy-saver for your human staffers, who likely need to attend to more pressing matters in the run-up to the big day.
6. Thought Leadership
This is an admittedly nebulous term, but the basic idea is simple: thought leaders are viewed as respected authorities in their fields. Thought leadership content takes many forms, including narrated videos, in-depth articles, friendly Q&A interviews, and more. It’s best posted on your personal and corporate LinkedIn page, your personal and company website, and on websites and social pages aligned with your company’s goals (for instance, trade associations), and it can be seamlessly integrated into a broader marketing strategy focused on your company’s competence and capabilities.