Marketing is an integral part of growing any business, however, unless you have the available budget to hire someone specifically, marketing tasks often get pushed aside due to time restraints. The effects of neglecting marketing activities can cause a lull in business growth and brand awareness, effecting your bottom line.
Instead of abandoning the process altogether, businesses can learn to market smarter. Here are three ways to make the most out of your marketing activity with little time and minimal effort.
Social media is a great free platform that businesses are using to connect with their customers and promote business news and events. Unfortunately social media is a platform that only gives as much as you put in, which can require time.
Luckily there is a solution.
Scheduling social posts can enable businesses to put out social content every day on several platforms in advance. All that is required is half a day to a day, depending on the number of posts, to curate and create social content. You can schedule posts with links and images ahead of time, making your company’s social accounts look up to date and active.
A fantastic tool for this is Hootsuite. Hootsuite gives its users the ability to schedule almost unlimited posts for up to 3 social networks on their free plan.
This is what the Hootsuite dashboard looks like:
You can personalise which streams you can see on this dashboard: mentions, activity and scheduled posts are just some of the available options.
How to schedule a post on Hootsuite:
Go to the top of your dashboard and click inside the ‘compose message’ box. This will then drop down to reveal a text box.
Select the social network you wish to post the content to. You will see at the bottom of the text box a character countdown for each network you choose. Bear in mind images and links on Twitter take 23/ 24 characters each of your 140.
Click on the paper clip icon to add media. It is better for click-through rates if the link is posted straight into the text box, rather than the link box which will shorten the link and turn it into an ow.ly link. Research has shown that social media users like to see where the link they click is leading too.
Once your post is the appropriate character length and all desired media has been attached, click the calendar image to choose the date and time you wish your post to go live, then click schedule.
That is the basics of scheduling on Hootsuite. There are more in depth scheduling options such as time optimisation, audience targeting and location tagging but the basic option is best for the social media novice.
Marketing is a learning process and often involves adapting strategies and tactics depending on what you find is working, however, it is not always easy to know what is effectively growing business or bringing in the leads that convert into revenue. This is where marketing smarter needs to come into play.
Call tracking allows businesses to attribute sales to certain marketing channels, campaigns or even keywords, as well as being able to plot out the path the customer took to reach the end goal.
For example, a customer visits an online shop and puts a bag in their shopping cart but chooses not to purchase. In this instance, the call tracking and visitor level software will have logged this interaction and the customer’s details, enabling the business to add this missed opportunity to a retargeting campaign using remarketing ads.
These ads, displaying the bag the user was going to purchase, will then appear on other websites this customer visits. If she then chooses to click on one of the ads and completes the purchase that sale will be attributed to the remarketing ads and the company will know that it was an effective tactic.
An item is added to the cart but the customer decides not to purchase.
Whilst browsing other websites a remarketing ad for the item not purchased is seen putting the item back into the customer’s mind, likely to lead to purchase.
Call tracking software also comprises specific call handling functionality which ensures phone calls are responded to by the right person and as quickly as possible. Taking the example above, if the visitor had decided to call the business regarding shipping costs and timeframes and nobody had answered this might have lost the sale. But if the call had been routed correctly to the sales team, who had reiterated delivery options, this would have eased the customer through to purchase and attributed the phone call as the catalyst for the sale. Even though an initial investment is required for call tracking the more effective marketing, as a result, should see a higher return.
Call tracking software can be applied by a company such as Mediahawk, there are different price bands meaning there is something for all company sizes. This service allows companies to effectively target the correct marketing channels that will give the biggest return, rather than wasting time on costly tactics which are not working.
Many companies leave the job of writing their content to the day its due to go live, struggling to think of an original idea that will benefit their business and help with SEO.
A 2016 survey by Smart Insights, answered by 1500 of their readers, revealed that ‘Content Marketing’ was the marketing activity that would have the greatest commercial impact in 2016:
This means that, although content has always been important, now more than ever content marketing is vital that companies create effective content on a regular basis, particularly on their own blogs.
For this to be a viable option, it is better to have a content plan or editorial calendar in place. If you struggle to think of an idea on the spot it is probably best to brainstorm and come up with several article/ post ideas and put them into a task sheet or calendar, therefore you know what you will be writing in the future, allowing you to avoid the dreaded writers block.
A simple Microsoft Excel spreadsheet will work fine; however, if there is more than one member of staff contributing to the editorial calendar it may be a good idea to set up a Google sheets document on Good Drive. These files are stored in the cloud, can be accessed by more than one person at once, updates in real-time and saves automatically, also, and more importantly, it’s free!
Google sheets look, and act, just as an Excel spreadsheet. There are also a range of templates available that can help with formatting, these are particularly useful for those whose Excel skills are less than proficient.
Here is an example of a basic Google Sheets To-Do list template. Allowing you to enter the content title, plus a short description if needed, when it is due and even gives you the satisfaction of being able to cross off the job when completed.
Start by making these small changes today and you will be an effective marketing whiz in no time!
By Gemma Harling
Digital Marketing Consultant at Receptional.