As the proprietor of a small or mid-sized business, you don't need anyone to tell you how important it is to use every resource you have in your arsenal. It's vital to exhaust all options before moving forward and purchasing a new service or product. This is especially true when it comes to a marketing campaign. These ventures are supposed to generate some revenue, so allocating a budget for them isn't entirely outside the realm of possibility. However, you shouldn't go overboard because it just makes it that much more difficult to get the best return on your investment.
If this situation sounds familiar, then you might need to spend some time rethinking your approach instead of spending money. Thankfully, there are many ways to reinvigorate your marketing and bolster your brand without breaking the bank.
What do you already have?
While it's already been stated that making the most use of what you have is a useful tip for any businessperson to employ, this isn't just in regards to a software or business cards. If your business has a website, keeps track of customer interactions or even just has comment cards penned by the clientele, then you are already in possession of an important gold mine of data. This information, called "first-party data" in the marketing world, is your secret weapon against the competition. Why is first-party data so lucrative? Because no one else has it and it isn't for sale.
"First-party data comes at no added cost to you."
According to Econsultancy, first-party data is "everything that brands can record and measure from any internal source," and it's entirely tailored to your brand and the preexisting customers that already patronize your business. Moreover, this information comes at no added cost to you or the business as a whole, but it has the potential to impact the company in ways that no other consumer data could.
Signal and Econsultancy co-authored a report that outlined the benefits of first-party data and how other companies use that precious information in tandem with outside studies and general marketing idea. The report noted that nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of respondent companies believed that first-party data provides the best insight into customer though processes when it comes to selecting a store and then purchasing a good or service. To this end, companies that want to format a marketing campaign or create an application for mobile devices are better off looking to their own client base for guidance rather than examining outside data for support.
Almost half (49 percent) of marketing respondents from the same Signal and Econsultancy report plan to use first-person data in their campaigns for the remainder of 2015 and into 2016. These companies claim, and do so correctly, that this information is invaluable to businesses because no two sets are alike and they shouldn't be working off the same data to cater to their different customers.
After your business has collected the data and determined which metrics are appropriate for the next marketing venture, it's time to leverage that information in such a way that it attracts consumers and gets a better return on investment than you would have had otherwise.
What do your customers like?
If you already have an established client base, then you know what it is that your community wants from a business - whatever your offerings are! However, if you want to get more people in-store or on the website to make purchases, you can't just claim to have the products the customers already expect you to have.
In order to get the foot or Internet traffic that you want, you need to use first-party data to establish what your consumers respond to well. Have you found that past marketing campaigns have been most successful when you've been active on social media? Or perhaps your clients aren't exactly within the social media demographic and instead favor radio advertisements and signage in store windows? The only way you're going to know which marketing tactic will work best is by investigating data collected from your business phone and other outlets and using that information wisely.
"60% of companies use customer data to design apps and mobile sites."
If you are looking to create an application that will make the purchasing process more of an enjoyable one for your customers but are unsure of where to start, consider using first-party data to help you with your major decisions. The Signal and Enconsultancy joint report noted that nearly two-thirds (60 percent) of companies with strong ROI use data from customer relationship management software, Web analytics and other sources to determine how mobile apps and the general mobile Web experience should be tailored to fit customer wants and needs.
After you have the data in place and you have established what your customers will respond to, it's time to implement this information in a meaningful way to get customers in the door and on the website.
How do you reach your customers?
In this day and age, there are many ways to get your brand on the brain of existing and potential consumers. The tricky aspect can be deciding which methods to use and when. It's important not to inundate and annoy customers when you're trying to entice and pander to them.
Some newer marketing tactics include:
- Text or email notifications. With over two-thirds (64 percent) of American adults always carrying around a smartphone, according to a PewResearchCeneter Pew Research Center report titled "U.S. Smartphone Use in 2015," it makes sense to optimize that platform for marketing purposes. Sending a quick text message or email to subscribed users will remind them to visit your store either in-person or online. Of course, don't send too many of these, as it overcommunication could be a deterrent for some users.
- Social media posts. Even if subscribers don't opt for emails or texts, you can still reach people via the Internet. Pew Research reported that over nine in 10 (91 percent) people ages 18 to 29 use their smartphones for social media purposes. Advertising sales, programs and products on these sites will reach a large audience no matter where they go.
Some more traditional marketing ploys include:
- Radio advertisements. While people do listen to other forms of music in their cars and in other stores, it's important to recognize that many people still enjoy the radio. Well-placed and snappy ads are surefire ways to get people mulling your brand over. Commercials with loud music, garish sound effects and intense language may be effective to get people to remember the ad, but can be a definite turn off for many. Consider consulting the radio studio before recording.
- Newspaper ads. The large-scale newspaper may be dying, but many small towns still have a local newspaper that would love to support local businesses. Much like a radio ads, newspaper ads shouldn't be too busy and distracting away from the brand, but one that must makes readers curious for more. And don't forget to list a phone number and website for new clientele who may have questions about your products.
Marketing your company has the potential to be tremendously profitable. The best way to get a good return on your investment is to take data that your company already has and then leverage it in such a way that appeals to your clientele. Success is possible and it's there for the taking.