The Ultimate Guide to the Best Website Marketing Strategies

website marketing strategies

Running a business has always required a solid marketing strategy, but this is the Information Age – and now, marketing takes place on more levels than ever before. If you want your business to succeed, you need a strong online presence that follows the most cutting-edge website marketing strategies.

The Ultimate Guide to the Best Website Marketing Strategies

Your digital marketing strategy starts with a highly engaging and functional website. You need to:

  • Get to know your ideal buyer persona
  • Develop your brand presentation
  • Provide a high-quality user experience online
  • Optimize your website
  • Strategically position your company on social media channels
  • Gather and maintain online reviews
  • Create and commit to an email marketing strategy
  • Track performance with powerful analytics

The following sections delves into each of these website marketing strategies, how you can implement them, and how they’ll help you.

Get to Know Your Ideal Buyer Persona

Before you start any website marketing strategy, get to know your ideal buyer persona. Identify the perfect customer for your product or service, and write down who he or she is – this information will inform every marketing decision you make, from content development to social media engagement.

Website Marketing Strategies - Develop Your BrandSample Buyer Persona #1

She’s between 25 and 40, and she knows exactly what she wants. She doesn’t spend a lot of time window-shopping – she goes directly to the department she needs and zeroes in on her favorite brands. Her salary as an emerging professional in her field ranges between $65,000 and $85,000 per year. She’s in command of her finances, her emotions and her decisions, but she always appreciates tongue-in-cheek humor and prides herself on her ability to choose quality home furnishings and décor.

Website Marketing Strategies - Developing a Buyer PersonaSample Buyer Persona #2

He’s a hard-working adventurer who’s always looking for an opportunity to escape to the lake, the woods or the mountains. Because he works so hard, he appreciates a great deal – but when he’s not working, you’ll catch him stepping into a canoe at 4 a.m. on a Saturday morning, packing his Jeep with gear for a weekend getaway or strapping on snowshoes and heading north. This all-around good guy earns between $45,000 and $75,000, and he’s always on the lookout for the latest outdoors gadgets.

Send out surveys and questionnaires to help zero in on your ideal buyer personas. You can use your existing opt-in email list or pose questions on social media. Don’t be afraid to ask your customers to inform your future marketing decisions.

Develop Your Brand Presentation

Website Marketing Strategies - Develop Your Brand

Once you identify your target market by creating buyer personas, figure out how to present your brand in the most effective ways.

Define your company’s values and mission, and translate them into language your ideal customer can understand and appreciate. How does your company meet your customers’ needs? How does your brand fit into and complement your customers’ lives?

Create a story around your brand. Follow it from its inception through today, focusing primarily on how you want your ideal customer to feel when he or she sees your logo, your company name or your products.

Pro tip: Use color psychology to match your brand to your buyer personas, and always keep your branding consistent across every channel.

Provide a High-Quality User Experience Online

Zero in on optimal website design so your users have the best possible experience when they find you online. You have to stand out with:

  • Fast, responsive design that renders exceptionally well on any device
  • Easy navigation between information and products or services
  • Great content that informs, inspires and encourages visitors to act

Good user experience, or UX, focuses on what users want – not on hard sales and self-promotion. For most business owners, consulting with a professional marketing agency to create a positive UX is absolutely essential.

Optimize Your Website

SEO as a Website Marketing StrategyYour website is the connection between your company and its potential customers – and the best way to attract them is through search engine optimization, or SEO.  

Sure, you can put up a dozen blog posts or promotional videos each day, but that’s not going to cut it. Your competitors are doing better, and you need to, too.

You need data-driven ideas that bring in search engine traffic and turn prospects into loyal customers.

Search engines crawl websites to rank and sort pages according to how useful they are to searchers. Search engine optimization allows your site to meet users’ needs so Google and other, less popular search engines can deliver it on the first page of results. For that reason, 61% of all marketers make SEO a top priority.

Strategically Position Your Company on Social Media Channels

Social media is your key to connecting with buyers where they’re most comfortable. Facebook dominates the U.S. market – 68 percent of adults in the U.S. actively use it. Here’s a quick run-down of other platforms:

  • 35% of American adults use Instagram
  • 29% are on Pinterest
  • 27% are on Snapchat
  • 25% are on LinkedIn
  • 24% are on Twitter

Drilling down more, Americans aged 18 to 24 are primarily on Snapchat – 78 percent of them, in fact. Further, 71 percent use Instagram and 45 percent use Twitter.

Pro tip: Take note of your buyer personas and zero in on the sites that dominate those age groups to inform your social media strategies.

Social media marketing is about more than creating a few posts. It’s about engaging your customers and sharing content they really find useful – and that they know their friends and colleagues will also find useful.

You can’t afford to drop the ball when all your potential customers are watching from the sidelines, so it may be worth outsourcing social media development and maintenance to the pros.

Gather and Maintain Online Reviews

Your website is the foundation of your digital marketing campaign, but social proof is the glue that holds everything together. Your reputation is on the line with every order, every purchase and every delivery – and because 84 percent of people trust online reviews as much as they trust a friend’s recommendation, it’s important that you’re proactive in managing yours.

Seek out favorable reviews, and when you get them, acknowledge and thank the people who leave them.

Pro tip: Promote favorable ratings by asking your webmaster to create code that incorporates Google’s star ratings in your search results. (Websites that feature Google’s aggregated star ratings get higher click-through rates than those without them.)

Create and Commit to an Email Marketing Strategy

Give your visitors an incentive to receive marketing emails from you. Maybe you’ll create an e-book packed with great tips, or perhaps you can send people exclusive access to members-only deals. You can use that valuable asset to encourage your customers to share their email address with you – and the best part is that they’re already interested in what you have to offer.

Creating an email marketing strategy helps you stay a step ahead of your competitors. Your customers are hearing from you, and you’re giving them something your competitors aren’t – your brand earns loyalty that way. Use your email campaigns to continue building that relationship with people who already trusted you enough to give you an email address.

Track Performance With Powerful Analytics

Google Analytics in a Website Marketing StrategyA professional gymnast watches his routine dozens of times to evaluate exactly where he slipped. An expert archer shoots thousands of arrows and scrutinizes each draw. A successful marketer does the same thing: carefully executes an informed, data-driven plan and watches its journey all the way back to the website.

Use powerful tools like Google Analytics, Moz, KISSmetrics or CrazyEgg – or another tool you’re comfortable with – to evaluate the life cycle of every piece of marketing material you use. You’ll be able to make more informed decisions and enjoy better results after every cycle.

Let’s Talk About Your Marketing Strategy

The internet isn’t going to stop evolving, and neither should your marketing strategy. Because you have other things to do – like run your business – it pays to learn from and work with the industry’s most trusted experts.

We invite you to read through our marketing blog for tips and tricks that help you stay on top.

When you’re ready, call us at 469-661-1040 or fill out the form below for a free, one-hour consultation with a marketing expert who can propel your company to the next level.

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How to Get Started with Digital Marketing

How to Get Started with Digital Marketing 

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing encompasses a broad range of marketing strategies associated with the internet that are designed to target and engage specific consumers. Attention-grabbing websites uncovered during Google searches, customized email programs, and social media are becoming universal elements designed to engage existing customers and attract new ones. Unlike traditional mass marketing strategies like TV, radio, and newspapers, digital marketing attempts to focus messages to a population that is most likely to require the company’s goods or services in the near future.

As the population continues to spend more time online, creating a presence to connect with them is critical.

Effective digital or online marketing is essential in today’s business environment. According to an Adweek.com, 81% of shoppers conduct an online search before making any important purchasing decision.

Digital marketing, much of which is also termed Inbound Marketing, is designed to attract viewers’ attention with an exciting and pertinent website or other marketing devices that may include such tools as:

  • infographics
  • interest-catching blogs
  • online brochures
  • ebooks
  • details such as newly imagined logos and other branding assets.

Also, useful interactive tools are designed to engage consumers to linger and take notice as they speed through their internet searches.

As another important element, online consumer feedback and commentary are driving many of today’s purchases. Consumers seeking products to provide pleasure or to solve a problem usually rely on experiential input from online posts to guide their decisions. Effective digital marketers capitalize on positive feedback while minimizing negative feedback in timely ways.

Important disciplines to enhance your presence are:

Experienced professionals like MarketCrest in McKinney TX provide creative support to companies throughout the United States and key international markets.

Establishing Your Starting Pointdigital marketing

MarketCrest offers a free one-hour consultation and discovery call for potential clients to discuss their current situation and identify strategies that may begin to build profitable new revenue and sustainable growth through digital marketing. Each professional at MarketCrest brings a unique set of skills and experience that will provide a holistic view of your brand and market building.

During the discovery phase of the free introductory consultation, the MarketCrest experts will address your current circumstances including:

  • How does your company work?
  • What are the ways you generate revenue?
  • What are your ongoing marketing initiatives?
  • What are your online marketing goals?

From the analysis of your current situation, the digital marketers can develop a customized strategy designed to drive the appropriate traffic that generates qualified leads and profitable revenue.

Once initial objectives are established, the process of further evaluation and strategy development begins. The three core categories for consideration are:

  • Website Design and Development: Evaluate the current design and adjust to meet the new objectives. Such issues as visual appeal, user experience, mobile readiness, and page load speed will be analyzed for acceptability. If tweaks or significant changes are needed, this will be the time to do so.
  • Content Optimization: Evaluation of success rate of your landing pages is essential. With ongoing, real-time analysis of your content, MarketCrest professionals can determine if you are developing trust, establishing credibility, and enhancing the image of your company.  Content should be engaging and include relevant keywords that increase search engine optimization. Other data tools can be added to track demographic and geographic interest.
  • Conversion Optimization: How many visits you successfully convert may depend on a variety of elements in your content. Continual monitoring and adjustment where needed can improve conversion rates.

MarketCrest’s Digital Marketing Process

The MarketCrest Process consists of four steps from the initial discussion to the goal of sustained revenue development.

  • Strategy Development is a result of website analysis, traffic analysis, keyword research, competitive analysis, campaign planning.
  • Traffic Creation will stem from initiatives that include organic and paid searches, display advertising, online directories, social media, public relations, and blogs.
  • Lead Generation is output resulting from improved landing pages, enhanced content, online calls to action, conversion forms, and email marketing, for example.
  • Sales Conversion strategies utilize ongoing analytics, A/B testing (comparing two web pages or other variables), CRM (customer relationship management) integration, lead scoring, and customer nurturing strategies.

 Managing the Strategic Campaign

Once the newly designed digital marketing campaign is in place, MarketCrest will monitor traffic and impact generated by strategies that include SEO activities, content, Pay-per-Click (PPC), web optimization, automation, social network interaction, and more. By monitoring and analyzing real-time data, the firm will actively manage your campaigns, deliver daily, monthly, quarterly, and annual summaries depending on your plan preference. From continuous data, the strategies can be reinforced and refined to ensure optimal results.

Sign Up for a Free Consultation with the MarketCrest Professionals

Situated in downtown McKinney, Texas, MarketCrest, LLC, is an award-winning digital marketing agency committed to helping companies generate more revenue through new business. The firm offers a team of experienced, talented people and proven technologies to attack your market, transform your business, and build market share.

MarketCrest believes that for each dollar spent on online or digital marketing, you should reap at least 2-3 times your investment in meaningful revenue. Contact the experts in driving online leads and successful conversions through well-designed digital marketing campaigns. The firm offers four different levels of ongoing digital marketing support or a specially customized program that meets your objectives.

Visit the MarketCrest website to learn more about our capability and sign up for a free one-hour discovery consultation to learn more about digital marketing strategies that can move your business to the next level.

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10 Social Media Marketing Tips For Small Business Owners

10 Social Media Marketing Tips For Small Business Owners

The transition from using social media as a hobby to a business platform was a difficult transition for professionals. It was like business owners woke up one day to find out they had another HUGE item on their to-do list.

But we as humans and entrepreneurs adapt. Unfortunately, so do the ways social networks work. If you looked at a list of social media marketing tips for small business from three years ago, you’d laugh out loud!

So how do you stay up to date when it seems next to impossible? We’ve got your guide.

Sit back, turn off your notifications for a few minutes and keep reading below.

1. Find Your Audience

There is a natural law of the universe that says people will always take the path of least resistance. In less scientific terms, that means no one wants to do extra work.

For this reason, we recommend that you go to where your online audience already is and post there, instead of begging people to come over to your platform.

If you’re marketing to young people, use Instagram. Ninety percent of Insta users are under the age of 35.

The same goes for Twitter. The age of the network provides a good guide to its age demographics. Generally, the newer the app, the longer it will take for older populations to catch on.

2. Don’t Overcommit

This is one of the social media marketing tips for small business we wish everyone knew. It’s better to do one thing well than to poorly manage multiple tasks at once.

By things, we mean social networks. Yes, it would be ideal to have a presence on every network your audience uses, but is that attainable? Probably not at first, especially if you are managing social media in-house. 

Concentrate on the network with the highest engagement and expand to others slowly. This will give you time to get into the swing of things and you’ll have more users to carry over to the other site with you.

Be Wary of Snapchat

Unless your demographic is very young (under 25), skip Snapchat. The content only lasts for 24 hours and it’s taboo to re-use Snapchat posts.

Unless you have someone who can commit to creating and posting new content every day, leave snapping to the kids.

3. Hire An Expert

Young adults entering the workforce get a bad rep, but they’re not as bad as the news says (although they have killed the napkin industry… look it up). Sure, they love avocados too much (look that up, too!) but they understand social media. They’re the first generation who grew up with it!social media marketing tips for small business

Since they’re on their networks 24/7, these kids can spot a marketing trend from a mile away. Between reading up on trends and personally living them, you’ll be all set when you outsource your marketing to a team with some fresh and young minds. 

If you have a small budget, you don’t have to find someone through LinkedIn. There may be a tech-savvy young family member who will gladly work for half of what a professional would make.

As far as social media marketing tips for small business go, its a win-win-win to hire a marketing firm that will handle your online presence for you. This allows you to really focus on the bulk of the business. 

4. Front Load

You’ve heard that content is king, right? Well, when it comes to social media marketing tips for small businesses, consistent content is king.

Before you make your page or profile public, be sure you have at least a week’s worth of content to post when needed.

You’ll likely run into a few hiccups in your first week and it’ll be nice to have a queue while you deal with growing pains.

For your first posts, think about how you want your company’s narrative to be introduced. Are you going to start with products or show off the humans behind the wheel? Whatever you do, be sure there is a strategy when posting. 

5. Keep a Queue 

If you’re ever in a place where you’re ahead on posts, that’s great. Now write more! Instead of taking a break, throw those extra posts in a folder in case of emergency (ICE).

That way, if you have something come up or have extreme writer’s block, you can reach into the ICE content file and still have fresh content to post.

Make sure these posts stand the test of time! You don’t want to post a review of the iPhone 6 if we’re using the iPhone 10.

Reviews, opinions, and general education about your business or products are great options. Social media marketing tips for small business that make your life easier? That’s what we’re all about!

6. Post on Time

Remember when we said posting consistent content was one of the key social media marketing tips for small business? That also applies to the time of day too.

When it comes to posts, there are two schools of thought. The first is, post during high volume views and interact with customers. The second is more subtle and simply requires maintaining an online presence. 

Let’s say you run a clothing store. While there may be some scientific data on times people like to shop, you’re more interested in getting your clothes exposure. It would make sense to post when traffic on your page is highest, or to boost your post so a larger audience sees it.

If you owned a restaurant, however, you’d want consumers to think of you at very specific times… like breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Or right before.

For example, a restaurant pushing a take-out special would do well to post around 4 o’clock.

Targeting consumers right before they have to go home to their families would remind them they could get something quick on the way home.

Try out each method or a mix of both, then stick to what works! 

Use Scheduling Tools

Now that you know what times work best for your consumers (and it can change!) make sure you never miss prime time.

Thankfully, you don’t have to release each post live at the exact time. Social networks and online tools have settings for automated posts and even automated emails. 

Simply upload the post however far in advance you want, then schedule it to release at the right time. Now you can go to dinner without keeping your phone face-up on the table.

7. Be Human

Now that you know the logistics of posting content, let’s talk about creating it.

Far too many businesses under post because they’re scared it won’t be perfect. However, with so many opinions online, no post is perfect for an entire audience or subject. 

When you’re creating posts, do your best and have a distinct brand voice. Don’t be scared to share a meme or two, so long as it’s targeted to your audience.

We’re not saying that you should forego editing altogether, that’d be crazy. Just don’t overdo it and post like a machine would. Install an editing app (like Grammarly) on your browser to catch mistakes, and keep a personable and honest voice.

Even when outsourcing social media posts to a content marketing firm, be sure to either post or relay information that the firm wouldn’t know. They can create engaging content all day long, but they’ll never be able to tell personal stories like your own staff or customers can. 

8. Engage, Engage, Engage

If location is the most important thing in real estate, engagement is the most important thing in social media marketing. Gone are the days where you could expect consumers to buy products just because you showed it to them. There’s too much market saturation for that!

Brands have to create a brand that makes customers feel like friends. Your brand needs to be something individuals can get to know, something more than a list of products or services.

Keep this in mind when you’re creating content for your website and social media. Is anyone going to engage with or learn something from your post? This is key. 

Reward Engagement

In this social media driven world, people get real validation from online attention. Even if you’re just starting out, there’s a thrill in getting attention from an “official” page.

So, when people engage with your content, give them a virtual pat on the back. Like their comment (etc) as fast as you can and do your best to create a personal reply.

They’ll remember your interaction and get a little taste of recognition from a brand, and you’ll be following social media marketing best practices while providing positive affirmations. 

Steal Engagement

Ok . . . Don’t actually steal it, but certainly, take ideas from other similar companies. Keeping your enemies close is a good tactic online too.

Follow your competition on your personal networks and pay attention to what’s working for them.

Are they having a sale you could match? Maybe they’re having a contest and it’s getting lots of attention. Now you know what your population likes without doing intense research!

9. Build Your Own Community

While we do recommend building your own brand and marketing strategy, there are bound to be other businesses in your community that go hand in hand with your own.

Are you a ski rental place that could pair up with a local charter bus in the area? Or a restaurant with a bookstore next door that could market together & encourage people to buy a book and have a literary lunch date?

There is power in numbers and networking, even online!

10. Blog Like Crazy

If blogging isn’t listed as one of the social media marketing tips for small business in a list you’re reading, disregard that source entirely. Blogs are entirely too important as content landing pages and for SEO purposes. They simply must be a part of your content strategy. 

If you’re working with anything other than LinkedIn or Reddit, you’re going to have restrictions on content size. On Facebook, for example, you can’t boost any image that is more than 20% text, which looks like next to nothing.

You need a place where people can go for more information. Think of your social media post as the preview to any branded original content. You need them to see the preview on your networks, then click to read the full content on your blog, ultimately increasing traffic to your website. 

Social Media Marketing Tips for Small Business: Tying Them Together

You can use all of these social media marketing tips for small business, but if you don’t stay true to your brand it’s no use. Before you start a business, let alone create a social media presence, take some time to figure out your brand and voice.

This can be a big task. It’s hard for someone so deep in the business details to see the bigger picture from an outsider’s perspective. That’s where you need professional help.

We can help you create your brand, your social media presence, and even coach you through building a website primed to generate leads. Check out the case studies on our site, then sign up for a free consultation. You have nothing to lose and followers to gain.

What are you waiting for? Call MarketCrest today. 

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10 Ways a Digital Marketing Company Benefits Your Business

digital marketing companyThe online market is saturated, and online advertising channels are overflowing with competition. This is why hiring a digital marketing company is in your best interest.

Better marketing helps you get more attention and more traffic, convert that traffic into leads and sales, and establish relations to keep people coming back for more of your service and products.

Specifically targeting and enticing your potential customers based on their preferences and readiness to do business with you is an amazingly effective tool for business growth, but hard to do without professional help.

Let’s take a closer look at the benefits.

1. Digital Marketing Lets You Tackle the Giants

Marketing is no longer only for the huge corporations with massive marketing funds. In fact, digital marketing helps level the playing field, letting smaller businesses more easily compete against bigger enterprises for their share of traffic.

You can acquire the marketing firepower and ability to make big sales which were until recently only available to big corporations.

You no longer need a call center or local branches and physical stores across the world to target different areas and niches.

2. Digital Marketing Company Cost Efficiency

Cost efficiency is the name of the game when you’re marketing a small business or startup. A digital marketing company provides better results at an affordable cost.

With so many channels and direct traffic driving, your cost-per-lead rate will stay low while sales increase.

3. Higher Conversion Rates

Online marketing success is typically measured by the percentage of incoming traffic that leads to sales, subscriptions, or service leads. Traffic that doesn’t convert to closed deals is worthless and a waste of marketing efforts.

This is why you must prioritize optimizing and streamlining your marketing campaigns to generate more conversions.

Establishing good traffic and communication via Search Engine Optimization, email marketing, and social media advertising for higher conversion rates can be very complicated without hiring a digital marketing company.

4. Increased Revenues

The increased traffic and conversion rate a digital marketing company can provide will grant you plenty of profitable benefits and growth potential, due to higher revenues.

According to this Google study, revenue growth predictions for companies with solid online marketing strategies is 2.8 times that of companies that don’t.

Google confirms this in a study with IPSOS Hong Kong, claiming 2.8 times better revenue growth expectancy for companies using digital marketing strategies to those which do not.

With a stronger profit growth potential from digital marketing, the chances of a smaller enterprise’s business expansion are 3.3 times better. This unlocks more opportunities for hiring and investing.

5. Reach Your Targeted Audience

Unlike traditional advertisement channels, internet marketing lets you target and reach out to specific audiences continually, and handle direct engagement to boost chances of success.

This channel of interaction also lets you know what your customers want, what they like about your business and what they don’t. You can develop a better relationship with your customers and gain their loyalty to your growing enterprise.

6. Digital Marketing is a Vast Platform

Not only is mobile web usage overtaking traditional web usage now that almost everyone has a smartphone, but the “Internet of Things” is also becoming a reality.

The Internet of things is a global network of integrated devices such as tablets, household appliances, gadgets, and much more – all interacting via the Internet. Not only is it high time to adapt to a primarily mobile web, but plan to ensure the future of your business by preparing the integration into this network and its potential to reach people everywhere.

A task like this is best left to a digital marketing company.

7. Solid Marketing Strategies Build Your Reputation

The generation of targeted traffic is the biggest source of digital marketing power because it lets you reach people who are already interested in your product or service and ready to look closer or even close a sale.

Maintaining a good relationship with them by delivering as promised and thus building trust will boost the conversion into regular paying customers who keep coming back for more.

Satisfied customers refer others to your business and increase your brand reputation if you do well you can even go viral and expand your reach at amazing speed.

8. Earning and Maintaining Trust

In today’s marketing world, focus has shifted toward social profiling and personalized interaction between business and customer.

People are more likely to trust information they get from someone they know. Organic testimonials from genuinely satisfied customers spread awareness and a good reputation for your brand.

By building trust with customers, the wider audience will grow to trust you more and draw more attention to your business.

9. Great CTA Design Means Higher Conversion Rates

A good digital marketing company will know the most efficient strategies to entice people and inspire desirable action to do business with you.

A good sales funnel, together with the trust you’ve built, will increase conversion rates.

The website visitor is still in control of conversion to sales or leads, not in any way compelled to initiate a transaction, but smart calls-to-action designed by digital marketing companies will make them more inclined to proceed.

A great call-to-action must deliver and entice visually and psychologically, and be efficient from a software perspective. This is what gets people excited to buy, like, download, or sign up to your business.

The innovative design of buttons and forms provided by a digital marketing company are optimized for this.

10. Let Your Business Continue to Thrive

The market is always growing and transforming, and marketing is required to be able to compete for survival.

If you don’t catch people’s eyes, you don’t get traffic, and your business will fail.

If your traffic doesn’t convert to profit, your business will fail.

If sales don’t convert to referrals and regular customers, your business can’t grow.

What you need is highly targeted traffic and a clever sales funnel that leads them to a purchase. This is what ensures survival for your business.

Do You Want a Digital Marketing Company?

If you’re looking for a digital marketing company to help grow your business, we offer a free consultation.

If you have further questions, contact us here.

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10 Reasons Your Business Needs a Content Marketing Strategist

content marketing strategist

 

Here are ten reasons to use a content strategist to take the reins of your online presence.

1. Tell Your Story

You may have the best coffee shop in town or the best-tasting protein shake in the fitness industry. But without a content marketing strategist, who’s going to know about it?

You can’t depend on word of mouth and billboard ads anymore. You have to meet consumers where they are, and most of them are online.

Creating strong web content means you can express more parts of your brand. Through optimized landing pages and engaging email chains, you can tell your whole story.

This builds brand awareness and loyalty because users will feel more connected to who you are.

2. Find Hidden Opportunities

Hiring a content marketing strategist to tell your story opens doors to opportunities you may not even know are out there.

This person is equal parts creative, innovative, and analytical. He or she starts with data and uses it to guide all your digital strategies.

They research competitors and take a close look at your target market. They also look for potential new markets (or new ways) to reach current consumers.

This person knows the ins and outs of successful digital marketing. No matter how much you know about URLs, keywords, and coding, you need them on your side.

3. Reach More Audience Members

After deep-diving into data and research, it’s time to get to work.

One of the main focuses for a content marketing strategist is to expand your audience reach.

The goal is to get in front of as many users as possible and to do so in a way that makes them want more. This is about more than online impression counts — it’s about building a community.

4. Generate Leads

The most effective way to know if your digital community is truly growing is by getting more leads.

Lead strategies are all about short-term tactics for long-term success. They don’t expect to create a sale right away. Instead, they focus on building interest through opt-ins rather than immediate purchases.

A lead generation strategy looks like an email newsletter on an eCommerce website. The product isn’t the information, but the information gets consumers one step closer to buying the product.

It walks users through the buying cycle and creates more opportunities to establish a strong brand presence.

5. Take Advantage of Social Media

Want a simple way to track your online community? Work on building your social media following.

Social media is one of the biggest focus areas for a content marketing strategist.

Beyond displaying your products, you can build partnerships and establish a positive reputation. You can also provide an inside look at what your brand is all about.

This is where users feel like more than just another consumer. Interactive Instagram stories and fun Facebook posts make people feel like they’re a valued friend in your network.

Plus, the more people that follow you, the more your exposure grows.

Committed followers will share your page with their friends. They’ll comment on your pictures and be first in line to participate in social media contests.

This creates organic excitement around your brand, which in turn leads to sales.

6. Better Utilize Your Keywords

The importance of keywords is common knowledge in the digital world. However, not every company is using them effectively.

Stop making key mistakes and start taking advantage of industry terms. Your content marketing strategist can be a big help in this process.

A strategist knows how to balance simple terms and specific long-tail keywords. They know the right density to aim for in blog posts and landing pages.

They can also optimize for local search as well as a wider audience.

7. Create Strong Relationships

You know your digital efforts are paying off when your competition wants in on the action.

Be open to engaging in things like link building and guest blogging.

Link Building

Link building is when you have a mix of internal and external links on your landing pages.

Some business owners worry an external link will steer a potential consumer away from their products. On the contrary, it shows you know what you’re talking about and you’re involved in your industry.

Your content marketing strategist can help you identify which external links have the most value and which might lead to a competitor.

Guest Blogging

Guest blogging is like the express lane of link building.

It’s when you purposely drop a link to another company on your blog, or when someone does this for you. This is a pre-agreed strategy between two parties that benefit both businesses.

One gets more exposure to build their digital strategy. The other has new content to work with in order to keep producing fresh, interesting information.

8. Establish Authority

As your industry relationships get stronger, so does your credibility.

Establishing authority is a valuable step to take to stand out. You can do this through blogging, vlogging, and ebooks.

Some people think this is too much free content to give away, but the payoff is priceless. Establishing yourself as an industry leader means more people will look to you as trends come and go.

It takes your brand presence one step further by building awareness and recognition.

9. Boost SEO Performance

A content marketing strategist works hard to implement strategies that have more than one positive outcome.

As great as getting more social followers or email leads is, it’s just one piece of the big picture. A major part of what the end-goal comes down to is SEO ranking.

Search engine optimization is not just about keywords and meta descriptions. It’s an overall look at the content on your landing pages and online interactions.

Google bots take anything from relevant hashtags and strong backlinks into consideration. Over time, everything comes together to move you further up the search engine results page.

10. Convert, Convert, Convert

Once a user finds you, what are you doing to make sure they choose you over the competition?

Conversion is another huge focus for a content marketing strategist. Without the sales to back up your presence, something is wrong.

Close the gaps between impression and conversion with the strongest digital marketing strategies possible. The more you trust in a trained professional to do this, the better your chances of improving sales performance.

Find Your Content Marketing Strategist

Ready to start your search for your content’s new best friend?

The right strategist might be closer than you think.

Contact us today to get your free one-hour consultation and discuss your content opportunities.

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10 Marketing Mistakes Your Business Can’t Afford to Make

Marketing Mistakes to avoid by MarketCrest

 

Some business mistakes are more costly than others. In the digital marketing world, there are at least 10 marketing mistakes that you simply cannot afford to make and still expect to achieve your revenue targets. Here are 10 huge mistakes to avoid.

1. You Don’t Have A Written Sales Strategy

Make sure Marketing and Sales know the revenue target required to reach your annual goal. Factor in the length of the sales cycle, close ratio, repeat business, capacity, onboarding and time to pay. Also collect information on existing customer revenue, anticipated growth, churn and carry over (sold fresh the previous year and in the coming year will bill a full 12 months).

When you know what you need to sell… and when you need to get it sold and billed, you are ready to build your marketing plan. 

2. You Don’t Have A Written Marketing Strategy

What is your one-page plan for supporting the revenue goal the way it needs to be sold this year (products/services)? What is your marketing expense required to execute on your marketing plan and how will the cost be allocated across the calendar year? Not sure if you are investing enough on your marketing? Check it against your industry and small business benchmarks (often 3-10% of sales depending on your industry and how mature your market is).

Analyze the previous year’s category spend and determine what to cut or expand. Create a SWOT analysis if needed.  How many personas (target audiences) will you be marketing to and can you segment the existing contact information to match. Do you need to secure additional contacts? Do you need to secure resources to help you attain your marketing goals? Have you considered all the marketing tools and technology available to support marketers in this app heavy environment?

43% of companies have an executive in their organization who is directly responsible for an overall content marketing strategy. (Curata, 2014)

48% of B2B marketers have a content marketing strategy, and 35% percent have gone so far as to document their strategy. (Content Marketing Institute, 2015)

3. Your Website Pages and Content Weren’t Designed For A Specific Purpose

Personas and Keyword analysis will determine your web page content and content plan for the year. Understanding your target audience is key to designing content for a specific purpose. Do you have content designed to help your target market get through their entire buying cycle? What if they are “kicking tires” and what do you have for them if they are deciding between your firm and one other?

52% of marketers support two to four roles and buyer personas with dedicated content. (LinkedIn Technology Marketing Community, 2014)

48% of marketers use dedicated content to support three to five buying stages. (LinkedIn Technology Marketing Community, 2014)

84% of B2B marketers and 85% of B2C marketers are actively looking to gain a better understanding of their audience or planning to do so in the coming year. (Content Marketing Institute, 2015)

4. Your Website Is A Static “Billboard”

Google rewards websites with lots of high quality, fresh pages. Quality content increases the likelihood of increased traffic, lengthy stays and high page rankings. Create content that engages an audience, keeps them on your page, or makes them return.

90% of consumers find custom content useful. (Demand Metric, 2014)

5. Your Website Is Not Built for Conversion

It is important that your website has the ability to reel in consumers and offer them an option to become engaged with the company. This allows you to create engagement, nurture them during the buying cycle, monitor and score their activity and nudge them to convert.

61% of consumers say they feel better about, and are more likely to buy from, a company that delivers custom content. (Custom Content Council, 2011)

Website conversion rate is nearly six times higher for content marketing adopters than non-adopters (2.9% vs. 0.5%). (Aberdeen Group, 2014)

Examples: Do you have strong Calls To Action (CTA) on your web or landing pages? Many companies rely on CTAs such as Speak to a Specialist, Request a Quote/Sample, Get Help Now! Request a Free Consult,  Sign Up Here, Download Here, and Follow or Share our Social Media Links.

6. You Don’t Publish Content

Consumers want a service or company that they can trust. Trust comes from being a credible source. One way to achieve credibility is to become an industry expert online by publishing original content that customers or other industry leaders may reference when looking up relevant information.

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action. It might be a blog article, web page, landing page, ebook, slide deck, video, webinar, photo, social media post, podcast, infographic, case study, white paper, check list, research paper, or a press release.

 75% of B2B buyers rely more on content to research and make B2B purchasing decisions than they did a year ago. (Demand Gen Report, 2014)

86% of B2B marketers report that their organizations are using content marketing, and 70% of them are creating more content than they did one year ago.

80% of business decision-makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement. (Roper Public Affairs, 2012)

marketcrest repurposing content

 

7. You Don’t Repurpose Existing Content

Consumers like to consume content in various ways. Some like to listen, some watch and some read. If you understand this, you can create content that is helpful to your visitors and customers and maximize its reach by repurposing content. Example: One, high-quality blog post or article can be turned into a slide deck, video, email, tweet, facebook post, brochure etc. Invest in quality content and remember to repurpose it relentlessly.

 

8. You Aren’t Building A List Of Relevant Contacts

Having a list of contacts is crucial. Keep track of all consumers, industry leaders, people who have visited your website or requested information, referrals, etc.

Also know even a good contact list will decay by about 20+% each year because people are constantly unsubscribing, switching jobs, moving or getting new email addresses. As a result, you must be building your database of contacts 12 months a year. Having a long list of contacts creates a bit of a “tribe” that can support your business in good time and in bad. Share industry and company news; new articles, ebooks and research…then when you are ready to introduce a new product and service they will be there to provide advice and spread the word.

With a list constantly in a state of decay, pay close attention to the formula for List Growth Rate:

 What It Is: The rate at which your email list is growing.

  • How to Calculate It: ([(Number of new subscribers) minus (Number of unsubscribes + email/spam complaints)] ÷ Total number of email addresses on your list]) * 100

 Example: (500 new subscribers – 100 unsubscribes and email/spam complaints) ÷ 10,000 email addresses on the list * 100 = 4% list growth rate

As we suggested, there is natural decay on your email list. It expires by about 22.5% every year. Always be growing your list…

9. You Don’t Email Your List At Least Once Per Month

Look, you can’t kill email! It’s the cockroach of the Internet, and that’s a compliment. Resilience is a good thing.

These days all emails are not created equally. A savvy marketer with the right technology, can set up workflows for email nurturing, include images, personalize with customer names, segment, and provide CTAs optimized for mobile. You have people willing to listen. Doesn’t your business have something important to say?

91% of consumers check their email daily (ExactTarget) and 48% of emails are opened on mobile devices (Litmus).

74% of consumers prefer to receive commercial communications via email (Merkle).

66% of consumers have made a purchase online as a result of an email marketing message (Direct Marketing Association) Email marketing has an ROI of 4,300% (Direct Marketing Association). 

Your company will want to measure your email program’s effectiveness. The most common email metrics are: sent, delivered, bounced, open (open rate), click (click rate or click to open), unsubscribe rate and marked as spam. Find the right key performance indicators for your business so you can test, tweak and improve.

10. Your Business Can’t Be Found Online

Here is how you got in this situation…

1) you are not actively performing on-page and off-page SEO

2) you are not helping people find your firm by using paid search or Pay Per Click ads (PPC)…

Just because people can’t find your company online, maybe it’s not the end of the world. Some companies don’t require online leads to increase sales. If you are one of those firms congrats…you are blessed almost beyond belief. For most of us, our potential clients use the internet to research and jump start their buying process. If we can’t be found…then it’s like we don’t exist….

By 2016, more than half of the dollars spent in US retail will be influenced by the web. (Source: Forrester Research )

Content creation ranks as the single most effective SEO technique. (Marketing Sherpa, 2013)

In search engine optimization, on-page optimization refers to factors that have an effect on your Web site or Web page listing in natural search results. These factors are controlled by you or by coding on your page. Examples of on-page optimization include actual HTML code, meta tags, keyword placement and keyword density.

In search engine optimization, off-page optimization refers to factors that have an effect on your Web site or Web page listing in natural search results. These factors are off-site in that they are not controlled by you or the coding on your page.

Examples of off-page optimization include things such as link popularity and page rank.

If your company is not helping people find you by using paid search or PPC (a quick hit)…get started the right way.

Tip #1: Identify which organic keywords drive traffic and convert on your website.

Tip #2: Determine how much you’re willing to pay for a lead or conversion.

Tip #3: Don’t Go It Alone

Paid Ads are a great way to “test” new landing pages (copy and CTA).

PPC can be a good quick hit but it doesn’t compare to proper SEO and content marketing per dollar spent, content marketing generates more than three times the number of leads than paid search does. (Kapost/Eloqua, 2012)

Content marketing costs between 31 and 41% less than paid search, depending on the organization’s size. (Kapost/Eloqua, 2012)

Summary:

Make sure to have a written sales AND marketing strategy. Create a website that has SEO optimized copy; fresh unique content; is constantly evolving and more than a static “billboard”… and has landing pages that produce conversions. You will want to have a list of relevant contacts (the making of a “tribe”) and make sure to be contacting them at least once per month.

If you are operating without a formal sales and marketing plan designed exclusively for the current year and your annual revenue target…you are operating on a wish and a prayer. You can repair the damage quickly though…contact the team at MarketCrest a request a free consultation. Tell us about your current business challenges and imperatives and we will share how similar companies are solving those issues using online or digital marketing.

 

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5 Signs Your Business Is Ready For Marketing Automation

5 Signs Marketing Automation

 

Many businesses find the concept of marketing automation appealing and want to jump right in with an improved strategy. However, a number of these companies don’t fully understand the financial implications — dedicating someone to the project full-time, or even just three-quarters of the time, is a big investment, not even considering the expenses for paying for software and development of content.

Although it is undeniable that marketing automation has significant advantages, it can also be a waste of money if you are not yet in the position to benefit.

1. You Have Enough Content to Automate

First of all, it is important to understand just how much content you will require for marketing automation. Ideally, you will have content for every persona at every stage of the buying cycle and in a range of formats (blog posts, videos, and podcasts, for instance).

This is a huge amount to plan, design, and create, and you should already have at least half this content to make marketing automation worthwhile.

2. You Have an Allocated Budget

You must be able to afford the costs of software, a dedicated team of staff, and content creation tasks. The exact amount you can expect to spend will depend according to the number of contacts in your database and the number of emails you intend to send per month.

It is important to note that trying to cut costs in any aspect will most likely result in lower quality content and less conversions, which can end up costing you more due to a reduced ROI.

3. You Are Unable to Reach Your Revenue Number

You should have already completed the analytics and determined the number of inbound visits, conversions, nurtured leads, and wins you need to reach your revenue. If you are currently falling short, marketing automation is the right solution, as it will allow you to deliver the right type of content to different groups of prospects at specific points in the buying cycle.

4. You Are Already Investing in SEO

SEO is essential for continually gaining qualified leads and a constant flow of traffic to your website, as marketing automation cannot work if you lack leads and prospects whom you will convert. Plus, connecting the content you create for email campaigns, newsletters, and articles to your website adds to optimization efforts, further improving search engine rankings to send you yet more visitors.

5. You Have CRM Software

CRM software is a much smaller investment and a precursor to the more complicated marketing automation. You can think of skipping CRM to dive straight into marketing automation as like trying to learn to ride a bike without training wheels. Before you even consider marketing automation, you should have set up CRM software with all the details about your customers and prospects.

Once you have fulfilled all the above criteria, you are ready to benefit from marketing automation. However, if you fall short in any point, you should first focus your attention on solving this shortcoming before employing marketing automation software.

Do Your Research

SharpSpring, a marketing automation services company, and Acend2 collaborated to conduct interviews with over 300 small-midsize businesses to benchmark their automation strategy and expectations.

MarketCrest has presented the results in a free ebook to help CEOs determine if they are ready for the investments and if so, provide benchmarks on strategy. The research results are available on our free Resources page.

MC MAS-Research Reports

 

About MarketCrest:

MarketCrest is a Marketing & Consulting Services firm focused exclusively on strategies that drive revenue growth. Simply put, we exist to help you compete and grow and we expect to be held accountable for your improved performance.

MarketCrest also provides Marketing Automation and CRM solutions, and services for clients. Learn more, and receive a free 1-hour consult with a marketing strategist.

 

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The Value of Persona Development & List Segmentation

B2B Marketing Techniques: Yes, investing time in persona development and list segmentation is worth it.

persona development and list segmentation marketcrest

Two of the most influential ways to market your business include implementing the techniques of persona development and list segmentation.

Not only do these practices help to efficiently identify your target market, but they help business owners and CEOs determine the most effective strategies for attracting, engaging, and satisfying their clients. Not to mention the practice has been proven to help win business and boost profits.

Uninformed marketing, the kind that is commonly used to blindly attract anyone and everyone, tends to end up in the mundane, unsuccessful category. It doesn’t stand out from the crowd. It fails to make a convincing argument to the audience. By taking the time to determine who your business is best suited for, business owners and CEOs can optimize their marketing budget and maximize ROI.

List Segmentation

The first step includes segmentation, or the classification of individuals into various groups based on specific characteristics or qualities. Once these subgroups have been determined, distinguishing tactics can be implemented so that each subset is adequately addressed. In order to pull this off, business owners should tap into a variety of supporting data from various resources.

When deciding which target markets are most applicable to your brand, the following criteria are crucial for successful market segmentation:

  • The group must be large enough to produce substantial income.
  • The market must be consistent and not at risk for dissipation or disappearance from the general population.
  • The group has a general history of responsiveness or reactivity to being targeted from an advertising standpoint.
  • The characteristics that determine the subsets must be clear, measurable, and exact.
  • Reaching the subset does not require any additional or excessive expense.
  • Individually specific consumers can be targeted from the group.
  • Your marketing strategies must be capable of reaching said group.
  • The subsets offer relevant supporting data that enhances and improves your approach to sales and marketing.

Marketing experts often use geographical identifiers like country, states, regions, cities, languages, postal codes or even neighborhoods to help narrow down a specific group of targeted consumers.

Another option for marketing segmentation includes the classification of customers based on demographic information like age, education level, current occupation, and/or gender.

Using a combination of both geographical and demographical descriptors is often referred to as a geo-cluster approach to segmentation, and this method helps business leaders to identify an even more specific audience.

Internal segmenting of customer accounts is often used as a business model to help organize territory based sales tactics. For example, client accounts grouped by industry type, transaction volume history, or nature of the developed relationship can all help to identify the most loyal accounts and those that are most likely to conduct continued business with your company. 

persona development marketcrest

Once your target markets have been established, a key to successful marketing campaigns is the development of personas.

Persona Development

This requires business professionals to place themselves “in the shoes” of their own customers and create a hypothetical individual that is likely to do business with their company. In theory, these characters are real people, with real identifiers, realistic characteristics, and relevant needs. So, how do you generate these marketing personas?

Start by considering the following questions:

Describe your persona’s demographic characteristics. Are they male or female? How old are they? What do they do for a living?

In the B2C world, you might leverage whom they live with and what necessities keep their household afloat. In B2B, not so much.

You can, however leverage other characteristics. How do they make choices when it comes to spending money? What advertising techniques are most influential to them? What types of outlets or platforms are pivotal to their buying choices?

Determine which departments are most likely to be involved (ie: Information Technology, Purchasing, Sales, Marketing etc.) and why. What is the driving force behind their activity or interactions with your company’s industry? How might they communicate with your competitors or other businesses with products and/or services similar to yours?

And also…

Why are they choosing to engage with you specifically? What is the extent of your relationship with them? Do they need special attention or accommodations? What are their goals? Where is this relationship going?

What media platforms are most useful in transmitting helpful information regarding your company’s products and/or services? Are they conducting online searches or using social media accounts? What keywords might they be using to help them locate your company online?

Are there any other influencing factors like product reviews, personal success stories, or specific details concerning merchandise that might be driving their decision to reach out and conduct business with you?

People tend to be very complex, so the more you can develop your marketing personas, the more relatable, realistic, and successful they will become.

Dive deeper and expand the character of your persona(s) with the following suggestions.

Tap into third party resources for statistical information regarding your persona’s demographics or habits. Existing data is incredibly informative and applicable to further strengthening the potential of your persona.

Consider how your persona might interact in real life. Use those scenarios to help you create strategies for conversation and communication to your target audience.

Take advantage of any opportunities to implement social media platforms that are relevant to your persona. As society continues to depend on technology, these free resources are becoming popular and effective tools for reaching your buyers.

So why exactly should businesses take the time to segment and develop marketing personas?

Personas should be used to help your business team come up with marketing strategies all across the board. Collectively determine which personas are most likely to conduct business with your company on a regular basis.

Which personas are least likely to spend their money with you? If you narrow down your marketing target, you are more likely to secure your best accounts and generate dependable, predictable transactions. Failure to develop well defined personas, can result in futile marketing attempts that do not reach the correct audience.

In addition, successful personas allow business leaders to connect, relate, and communicate with their clients on a more personal level. This type of relationship has a proven track record for establishing loyalty, longevity, and overall customer satisfaction.

If you get to know your clients like you do close friends and family, they will be more likely to recommend your product and/or services to others. It will also keep the doors wide open to smoother communication when conducting your business transactions. You will have the tools to identify the specific needs of your clients, and you will know best how to address them.

Here are just a few examples of how marketing personas can help you maximize your business capabilities.

  • Defining your company’s distinguishing qualities
  • Shining light on internal changes that might help enhance current client relations
  • Determining the most effective ways to present your company’s brand
    Shaping pricing structures, discounts, bundles, etc.

So, not only can segmentation and marketing personas help businesses shape their advertising and branding tactics, but they can help businesses to determine the most effective business practices that are most likely to result in long term, profitable relationships with their clients.

MarketCrest is a firm focused exclusively on Marketing Consulting & Services that drive revenue growth. Simply, we exist to help you compete and grow and we expect to be held accountable for your improved performance. Learn more, and receive a free 1-hour consult and Get Help NOW!

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How to Execute a Price Increase

How two raise prices, price increase

Managing the process of implementing a periodic price increase can be “harrowing”, but it should be a normal part business life. All too often though, we see increases deployed with mixed results.

The good news is there are steps you can take to ensure your price increase “sticks” and so do your customers. During the series, we will answer some of the most common questions on the topic.

We will share our experiences and suggest some smart moves to make, while warning you about a few dumb ones to avoid.

When is it ok to raise prices?

In general, anytime you can do so successfully. You perform quality work and should be paid according to your value. Never hesitate to have an internal discussion on the topic. You don’t have to approve an increase every time your team discusses it, but it is a healthy business practice to discuss increases on a regular basis.

Underlying assumption: Your company has decided to increase prices and now you must execute the increase successfully. Here goes:

First: Get your perspective right. Your business has to make money; and as long as it makes money… the business has options and a future. When you are ready to approach the client, be confident and fully professional. Don’t make excuses or seem sheepish. 
A price increase is often a business imperative. Truth be known, we don’t like to give them and our clients don’t like to receive them. But, as professionals, it is our job to implement increases and people are counting on you. So step 1 is to strengthen your mind and don’t look back.

Smart Pricing Move

“Steel your mind” with the knowledge that customers who threaten to leave over a price increase, tend to do so only 8-12% of the time. Clients know the cost of switching to a new supplier is expensive and risky.

Dumb Pricing Move

Go to the client meeting with thoughts of getting “any increase” because anything is better than nothing… dumb move. Establish what you need during the increase planning sessions and expect to get 100% of your target increase.

Planning For A Successful Price Increase

You shouldn’t attempt to raise prices without careful planning, and collaboration with your senior team. The stakes are high, so make certain there is a short, written brief that explains the basics. Circulate it internally to get sr. leadership feedback, and buy in, on your strategy and implementation plan.

The brief should cover at least these three points:

  1. Which products or customers get exactly what increase; and if implemented fully, what is the total financial value of the increase to your own company.
  2. The exact dates you intend to communicate the increases, to whom, and the main talking points.
  3.  The third point you should cover in the brief is a list of customers that are likely to kick and scream about the increase. You must then, detail the nature of the revenue at risk. Keep it simple and provide a 1-2 paragraph overview on each potential screamer, detailing how you intend to respond if major concerns arise.

Smart Pricing Move

Give your client at least 30 days notice of an increase. Anything less is unprofessional and risks your reputation and credibility with the client. Also, they may need to make adjustments on their end because of the increase. On a related note, never try to slip an increase by the client hoping they will not notice. They always notice, and it will go poorly for you when they do.

Dumb Pricing Move

Counting on your charm and relationships to “smooth” the increase over instead of taking time to prepare. Instead, during the planning stage, secure any proof sources or related third party documents supporting the increase. Think material, fuel, shipping, labor increases, etc. You may not use or need them, but they will be helpful to have in your back pocket in case they try to negotiate.

Speaking of negotiation, while this series is about the proper process for planning and communicating a price increase. At MarketCrest, we believe that Sales and Marketing leaders can have a significant impact on a team’s win ratio by preparing for negotiations in a certain way. We will share our experiences and how we approach negotiations in a future series.

How to Communicate The Price Increase

You and your team have thoroughly discussed the increase and why it is important it be executed professionally and completely. Your “mind is right” and you are firmly committed to the task at hand. (Step 1…check)

You have invested time to write a small brief covering the nature of the increase and your plan for implementation. It has been circulated among sr. leadership to gain feedback and approval. (Step 2…check)

When it is time to implement the price increase you start with a smart move.

Smart Pricing Move

In all client discussions (written or verbal) you will be firm while still showing respect and appreciation for the situation and your relationship. You make no apologies or excuses, keeping a kind, but business mindset.

Smarter Still Pricing Move

You also document all the instances over the past year where you have: been their hero; held/matched lower prices; upgraded customer facing technology; beat your KPI’s; saved them money; or helped them avoid certain expenses entirely. Cost avoidance is often overlooked. Having this data at your disposal will be critical to providing a full view of your financial value.

Remember to calculate the total impact to the client BEFORE they can. You might find that although there is an increase, it might not impact their current year financials as much as they imagine.

Mega Smart Pricing Move

In addition to the first two moves, you add the absolute smartest possible move… you provide the client options. By helping them explore options, you are being part of the solution and a valued partner. The client could keep the product/services exactly as is, or select/design a less expensive version. In some cases, they could test some slightly more expensive options with potential to provide a greater ROI.

Be ready with samples so they can envision the possibilities. If you have anything else new or fresh to offer, now is the time to bring it up. You might consider offering a minor incentive to your client for giving something new a try.

Let’s stop and respond to another commonly asked question. When it is time to speak with the customer, should I go it alone, or bring help? If you expect significant pushback and want to increase your likelihood of success, bring one of the sr. executives. Executives are usually willing to make calls in the field, and often, they can increase your odds. Just remember to select someone you have made successful calls with in the past.

Reality check

At this point, after presenting the price increase, you will either feel confident or very worried. If you are squirming in your chair, ask yourself if you did everything in your power to build exit barriers to your client leaving.

It is rare for a client to depart over a price increase, but strong sales and marketing leaders create solutions customized to their client’s business needs, in part to deter that option. Solutions customized to integrate into your client’s processes, render departing over a standard price increase, unreasonable.

Think special materials, staffing, programming, technology, processes, procedures, automation, reporting…all exit barriers that smart leaders put in place early and often. The relationship becomes a win/win and emotions stay in check during challenging discussions.

Closing Anecdote

Several moons ago, a client worth $8 million a year to us, asked for a 25% decrease in price and had competitive bids promising nearly $2 million per year in savings. Using the approach we have discussed in this series, and a few more we will cover in future posts, we avoided discounting our prices, and we raised them. Yes…raised them plus extended our contract two years. Aim high.

If this series exposed some areas of opportunity for you and your team, remember: “If you want improved results, you have to change how you do things.” That core belief is what drives us to be process oriented when solving business issues. Have a great week.

For more tips on business or marketing consulting, visit MarketCrest’s Consulting page or request a fee consult.

MarketCrest is a firm focused exclusively on Marketing Consulting & Services that drive revenue growth. Simply, we exist to help you compete and grow and we expect to be held accountable for your improved performance. Learn more, and receive a free 1-hour consult and Get Help NOW! 

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FCL Graphics Marketing Case Study

As a recognized leader in their industry, our client, FCL, specializes in developing fully automated personalized data-driven campaigns. Over the course of their 40 year history, their service offerings had outpaced the competition, but their personal brand and marketing had not. FCL leadership sought to reposition their brand with a portfolio of current, relevant communication. We worked closely with FCL to define their needs; develop a comprehensive market solution and expand their reach leveraging ROI driven solutions. Our solution included corporate branding, content creation, website development, multi-channel direct marketing, variable data print communications, public relations and social media marketing. We continue to work with them on revenue generation and other key initiatives. Read more

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