With everything on your plate as a small owner, it can be easy to fall into the old trap of thinking of marketing as a one-step process where you try to pull in new customers. But marketing isn't something that you do once and then forget about. It's an ongoing process that supports your customers during every single step of their journey with your business: that's why it is so critical that you have a documented strategy for your content that follows each step of their customer journey with your company. After all, a prospect may look for something different than an existing customer, and good content recognizes this.
We know that for many smaller businesses, this sounds really intimidating. After all, you are already so busy with every other aspect of your business. But honing in on a marketing strategy — namely, one that actually works — goes a long way in making your company visible and boosting sales.
So how do you start developing a marketing strategy?
Here are the steps that small businesses need to focus on in their marketing strategy. These aren't rocket science, but they are necessary for ensuring that your content truly makes an impact on your bottom line.
Okay, this step isn't part of the customer journey per se. But it's an integral part of your strategy and lays the groundwork for ensuring that all of your marketing efforts are actually effective.
It's about knowing your customer base inside and out: Who are your buyers? What do they want, and what do they do? Create your buyer personas and document them thoroughly so you can refer back to them whenever you are creating marketing materials or planning out a new campaign.
Customer acquisition: getting more new customers to buy from you. This is the step that companies often focus on, to their own detriment. Yes, it is important to find new customers, but it is not your entire business.
For this stage of the journey, you need to start at the top and develop content and a website with strong SEO that makes it easy for prospects to find you.
Make sure that you have persona-based content that helps prospects discover and trust you, and understand the value of your products or services. Blog posts and white papers are great at this stage: they are content that draws prospects to your site and establishes your position as an expert in the industry.
Then, you need to convert the prospects and close the sale. This is where you get to the details: your product's features, pricing, and so on.
So plan your customer acquisition marketing campaigns around two parts: engaging, high-level content that piques their interest and brings them to your landing page or website, and more detailed, promotional messaging that encourages them to buy.
So, you've made a sale and gained a new customer. Don't let them slip away! Just like a good company provides each new employee with a thorough onboarding, make sure there's an onboarding process for customers, too. This does not have to be rigid or extensive process — just consider making helpful guides for using the product, or tips and tricks that the customer might be interested in. For example, if you are an eCommerce company selling hair products, you might want to follow up an order with an email full of great hairstyle ideas.
This doesn't sound like marketing, does it? Well, it isn't — at least not in the traditional way. But it will make it much easier to turn new customers into brand advocates and get glowing customer testimonials.
Whenever possible, offer a helping hand to your customers to make sure they are getting as much as possible from your product or service. For example, a gardening supply company might want to have an automated email that goes out a few weeks after a purchase to ask how the product is working out, and possibly mention other items or services that could be used in conjunction with it. Now that's a sneaky marketing trick. Just make sure that it doesn't come across as pushy or promotional. It's okay to mention that you have these other products that they might like, but it's not okay to be overbearing.
This has to work hand-in-hand with great customer service, or it won't be authentic — and customers will know it. Added bonus: your customers will be more likely to recommend you to others.
Most of your business probably comes from repeat customers. This is why it's important not to put all of your energy toward customer acquisition content. What can you do to engage customers after the sale and convince them to come back — can you send them a newsletter? Offer them more helpful tips and advice? Be creative and make them want to keep doing business with you.
In this stage, you want to make sure that they stay warmed up for future sales. But it's also a great time to work on building a pool of brand advocates and powerful customer reviews. You might also want to consider setting up a referral program to boost sales even further and keep customers engaged.
To learn more about inbound marketing programs that can increase your bottom line, call us today at 661-702-1310 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.