Posts Categorized / Marketing Strategy
I bet only a few of you have heard the term “Social Selling,” however, I’m willing to bet that most of you can figure out what it refers to. The beauty of social media is that it is essentially free! The ugly of social media is that it is essentially free! It’s watered down. Spam flows everywhere. Images and appearances can take a turn for the worse in a matter of seconds. Why in the world do I love it so much?
When done properly, social media can enhance a brand’s image, get important news out to the masses, provide an amazing referral tool, etc. We discuss proper social media and its effectiveness on a regular basis, but the one topic that typically gets blood pumping is how to effectively sell our products on it! We see some companies post the exact same thing weekly…”We have 2 spots left for this amazing deal. Call us to schedule your appointment.” I think we all know they are using a scare tactic to convince you to make a decision NOW! So, if I call next week, and 2 people already called, are you saying I can’t book an appointment? As I also see the same post every week, I know where this really fun “hide” button is on FB. Wait…better yet…I know where the “unlike” button is!
Social selling can be done properly, without being annoying and guiding fans to the hide or unlike click. Your social media pages are general interest pages. When somebody likes our marketing agency’s page, they are most likely a person that hires out for marketing services, or finds the general topic to be interesting and want tips. Tips can come in the form of blog posts, just social media posts, or in images. Our clients like to see what other projects we are working on to get ideas of what we can do for them. You will not find our social media posts telling people to buy from us! We are building trust as experts in the industry and putting our best foot forward, but we are not posting sales pitches. When you like a caramel company’s page, you probably are a person with a HUGE sweet tooth, a person that likes to host parties and get gift or entertaining ideas, or a person who simply loves the product and wants to know updates. Posting every week about what to buy will not be effective. It will be for a handful of people, but think of your larger picture. Wouldn’t you rather be on the tip of the tongue of many possible customers, versus just be liked and stay in touch with the handful looking at what you want them to buy each week?
At all times, you need to stay in touch with your clients and prospects, but when they are ready to buy…they will. The key to social selling is SOCIAL! NOT selling! Fans like pages for things they want in the future at some point. If you pull out the hard core sales pitch in every post you make, they will shy away from you and be afraid to schedule an appointment. Nobody likes to be hard pressured into a sale. Instead, become their friend. Identify with what your audience likes, listen to them, engage with them. When the time is right, you’ll be the first company they call for a sales pitch because they look at you as their respectful expert versus a hard pressure salesman.
INCREASE SALES…the top goal for most companies. Now, that’s a great goal for the sales department. However, when working with the marketing department, you need to make sure they have the creative license to establish objectives in reaching these goals. Seems pretty simple, doesn’t it? However, the way those business goals translate into objectives, specifically with marketing, is the secret sauce that ultimately determines whether you succeed or blow another budget on creativity.
Turning Goals into Objectives
First and foremost, make sure you provide Marketing with the sales goals. Without translating that purpose into actionable marketing objectives that align the product attributes, brand assets and user needs, Marketing will most likely end up producing catchy taglines that message the benefits of the product or how to use it.
Meanwhile, the what, why and who have vanished into the interdepartmental abyss, leaving the business and consumer at the mercy of Marketing’s creative interpretation of best sellers.
Instead, at this critical stage, marketing teams need to formulate actionable objectives and working strategies in cooperation with those who set the goals, make the product and know the target audience.
If you had to create cooperation between everybody, start by stating the sentence that comprises these three phases:
- In order to (insert objective)
- We will (define a strategy)
- By (list creative tactics that solve the problem)
For example, if goal is to increase sales, an objective may be to drive performance of your best target customer while in the consideration state. The marketing team comes to this objective by conducting their research, identifying the best target audience and recognizing how target customers research products.
Now, drop those elements into the framework above you and you get: “In order to drive preference with suburban sale chasers during the consideration phase, we will activate the online voice of existing customers by creating a game that requires multiple reviews on Facebook and Yelp and that focuses on the reliability of the product.”
Voila! Now that’s a different answer than…”more marketing, more marketing.” More marketing doesn’t necessarily mean you will increase sales. More marketing means you need to research the proper channels and choose the appropriate strategies for your objectives. For many, social media and online strategies will be utilized. However, for some, that is still not the case on reaching the target audience. Figuring out the secret sauce is key to your success!
Originally written March 2011: Right now, I’m starting my training to compete in triathlons. When I’m tired, I want to quit soooo badly! However, that’s probably not going to get me to run, bike and swim for miles. So, I give myself a goal, and I must accomplish this goal before quitting. Marketing follows the same rules. In uncertain times, marketing is more important than ever! Set a budget, and keep on track. Staying on track shows confidence, and it will allow you to leapfrog your competitors who are reactive and driven by fear.
As with anything, when you get off track, it is extremely hard to get back on track. A McGraw Hill study on the 1981-1982 recession shows the positive performance results of companies who maintained or increased their marketing budgets during the recession achieved significantly higher sales growth during and following the recession. While it may not be practical for all companies to increase or maintain their budgets during a recession period, it is important to determine a budget, focus on profitable targets, and utilize creativity and persistence to reach your customers. Don’t fall behind your competition by disappearing during the tough times.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to keep your message in front of your customers and prospects. Use your imagination (or ours) to find the right way to market effectively to your customers and prospects. There are many ideas out there, so go ahead and be creative, but DON’T LET YOURSELF SLOW DOWN!
When I was a little kid, I wasn’t very fashionable. Heck, who am I kidding…I’m STILL not fashionable. However, let’s not go to that topic for now! I’d look at the other girls who were fashion trend setters and didn’t like them, as I thought they acted better than everyone else. As a kid, making fun of others was all I could do, as I didn’t know how to be fashionable and stand out like them. So, while I felt better as a kid making fun of others, this doesn’t work in the business world. This is a very common problem of many businesses. They don’t know how to STAND OUT! A business is started because somebody decided they were good at something, or they found a need in the marketplace. That’s great! Now, as many others were also good at the same service, or found the same need in the marketplace, you need to make sure your company succeeds by standing out above them!
Now, I know you think you are chosen as a vendor because you are much more charming than your competition. Yes, I’m sure that closes some deals for you, however, most deals are going to close because of your uniqueness and how you present yourself. The last thing you want is for a prospect to say…”Well, I’ve met with 3 companies, and they are all the same.” What makes you stand out amongst the others? Do you have a value proposition statement that you can say in less than 30 seconds that answers why you over the competition? It’s not…”Because I’m professional” or “Because we are highly qualified at what we do.” Everyone else has the same answer! You shouldn’t only have one unique value proposition. Make one up for each different type of prospect you encounter. I can tell you I have several, and I’d be more than happy to share them with you. Feel free to call or e-mail me for more info on value propositions! I love the chance to get to STAND OUT amongst my competition!