Now more than ever, marketing plays a critical role in any business’ growth, development and ultimately, success. As we begin to return to some sort of normality, many businesses need all of the help that they can get to claw back what they’ve lost as a direct result of the pandemic. They must also set themselves apart from their competitors, as customer favour has become more relied upon than ever before. Marketing is the key to achieving both of these goals.
According to recent data, 90% of businesses have said that targeted marketing efforts significantly increased exposure for their business, whilst 75% say website traffic has rapidly increased, resulting in direct sales. It’s clear that when implemented correctly, marketing can have a huge impact on any business, enhancing awareness and profits in turn. However, many business owners don’t know where to start.
‘Businessperson of the year’, Sarah Kauter, is CEO of multi-award-winning marketing and PR agency VerriBerri; having worked in the industry for over a decade, she has noted the top marketing tips for business growth and how to implement them. Here, she shares her expertise, outlining the marketing techniques businesses should be utilising in 2021 to effectively stand out from their competition. With a little help, we can all reap the rewards of effective marketing.
Have a Plan In Place
‘As a business owner, your first priority should be to develop a marketing plan. Even if you’re not an expert, outlining your initial goals and what you’re looking to achieve is a good place to start. Business owners are often overwhelmed by the sheer amount of marketing that’s required to put their business on the map; although they may try their hardest, independently overseeing a marketing strategy whilst managing the everyday running of a company is, in most cases, an impossible task. As a result, the growth of the business is hindered.
Having a marketing overview can help prevent this outcome. Break it down into sections, define your goals and identify where you’ll need support. Taking a look at your competitors and their successes can also give you an indication of what could work for you, providing you with a useful point of comparison.
If marketing isn’t your area of expertise, then stick to what you know and find a reputable marketing agency to help you – specialist expertise is always an invaluable investment. Begin by booking some consultations to find the perfect marketing match for your company; discuss the agency’s values, how they could help you and make sure they understand your business.
Having a plan in place ensures that you never lose sight of the bigger picture and what you’re wanting to achieve; only by accepting help and looking beyond your own understanding can your business truly grow. Think about your goals, consider what you need to do to achieve them and embrace the expertise of specialists.’
Develop a User-Friendly Website
‘A professional looking website can make a tremendousdifference when it comes to sales and generating a reliable return on investment (ROI). However, this isn’t simply a case of setting up a domain and immediately being good to go… A website must be nurtured consistently to maximise its SEO value. This essential maintenance is often overlooked and as a result, businesses end up further and further down search engine results pages (SERPs).
If your website doesn’t look inviting, whilst being filled with content that isn’t relevant nor concise, then potential customers won’t stay on your page for very long. Google will pick up on this and your SEO will be negatively impacted. According to Google’s EAT guidelines, you must be viewed as an authoritative and trustworthy expert to climb the SERP ranks; therefore, it’s important that your website is filled with valuable, informative and reliable content, whilst looking professional. More specifically, your content must be updated frequently, relevant to the common searches, informative and, of course, easy to navigate. User friendly pages will encourage readers to engage with your website – people won’t always read between the lines so you need to be clear, concise and credible.’
Prioritise a Social Media Strategy
‘A social media presence is just as important as an optimised website. In today’s ever-changing digital society, social media is essential for business growth; if used correctly, it’s a steadfast way to gain quick, long-lasting exposure to a wider demographic and, in turn, increase your business’ revenue.
The great thing about social media is that you don’t need to be an expert, you must simply decipher what you wantfrom it. Firstly, consider the platforms most appropriate for your brand; with over a billion monthly users, Instagram is often a good place to start for many businesses, however this depends on your industry and the platforms your customers use most frequently. In any instance, keep in mind that the content you post should be effective and appealing, it’s a direct reflection your brand and shouldn’t be frivolous. Be strategic with your posting; if you want to gain maximum recognition, then post valuable content at times when social media traffic is high to increase the engagement you receive. Similarly, sporadic posting does nothing for your credibility against most platforms’ algorithms, so update frequently; one post a day will garner results.
Additionally, the use of hashtags is a brilliant way of getting your business noticed by the right people as users can follow and engage with specific hashtags to stay updated on trends and/or topics that they’re invested in. If you use hashtags that are relevant to your business then you’ll naturally reach potential customers who will be interested in your brand. Remember, social media allows you to connect and converse with consumers – this is essential if you’re looking to grow.
Finally, if people are talking about your brand be sure to acknowledge it! Engaging with current and potential customers alike will only play to your advantage.’
Remember, a Good Reputation Is Marketing 101.
‘Marketing 101: a good reputation will see your business grow from strength to strength as consumers will always go to a reputable source for what they need. Fortunately, there are a few simple ways by which you can improve your reputation and propel your company’s development.
Firstly, focus on your SEO. As humans, we want quick results and that’s why it pays to be higher up on SERPs; most of us will only ever click on the first few options that appear. The more people that click on your domain, the more credible you are in the eyes of Google. So, focusing on your SEO will steadily improve your ranking, giving you maximum visibility online whilst strengthening your reputation and recognisability.
Link building and backlinks are another brilliant way to gain positive recognition and stimulate business growth. A ‘backlink’ refers to a reputable source linking to your business as a point of reference. Essentially, they’re giving their approval of your business to Google and potential customers by recommending you. The more backlinks you get from authoritative websites, the more trustworthy you appear.
Meanwhile, really listen to your audience. Having a personable and sincere etiquette sets you apart from your competitors by demonstrating your commitment to customer satisfaction. Anyone can be taught sales and merchandising techniques but amazing customer service is something that will consistently bring you business.
Lots of companies are so focused on reaching more people that they unknowingly fail to prioritise their current customers. New customers are of course important but you should never underestimate your existing customers; their loyalty and continued custom speaks volumes. Repeat customers have fewer barriers to overcome before using your services, because they’ve supported you previously, and their continued trust in your brand shows that you’re a reliable business. Really get to know your target demographic and listen to current customer feedback. Establish strong foundations to begin with because a misread of audience early on could cost you further down the line…
No two business are exactly the same, however it’s vital that every business takes the time to evaluate their marketing strategies; this will form the basis of continued growth. Consider your goals and how you can more effectively engage with existing and potential customers; by thinking outside of the box, listening to feedback and accepting help that comes your way, you’ll undoubtedly find marketing success in 2021.
Sarah launched VerriBerri in 2009; it has since continued to grow, subsequently becoming one of the leading marketing and PR agencies in the South East. Sarah was recently awarded 'Young Entrepreneur of the Year' and ‘Businessperson of the Year’, whilst VerriBerri has been nominated for and won several titles including ‘Best PR & Marketing Agency 2021’ at the Global Business Awards.