If you’re a small business owner, you can’t just assume that customers will find you by chance. You need to actively cultivate a pipeline so that great prospects come your way on an ongoing basis. The way to do this is with marketing systems. As we’ve previously discussed, a great marketing system is a valuable asset for your business. Like all good assets, the value of a marketing system only appreciates over time.
Note that a marketing system is distinct from a marketing campaign. A campaign might drive revenue for a week or a month. Systems attract customers to your business 365 days a year.
When we’re talking about marketing systems, we’re not talking about software (although technology can definitely be helpful in implementing a marketing system). We’re talking about systems that promote your brand and attract customers.
Here are the top seven marketing systems small businesses should implement ASAP:
1. Email marketing
Even as the number of marketing channels has proliferated, email marketing remains one of the most effective. Think about it like this: 85% of adults in the U.S. send and receive email, with 99% checking their email daily. This includes 78% of teenagers. For a direct connection to your customers, an email marketing system is invaluable. This is particularly true in the B2B space, since email is so critical to professional life.
However, this doesn’t mean that you should just send emails to your customers indiscriminately. 53% of people say they receive too many emails, and many people will report irrelevant emails as spam. At the same time, automatic spam filters are becoming more sophisticated.
Businesses need to send emails that truly engage customers with eye-catching subject lines, informative content, and well-crafted CTAs. It’s not about the quantity of emails or the snazziness of your design, but providing value to your email list on a regular basis.
2. Organic social media marketing
It’s 2018, and most business owners know that social media is important. Since 70% of American adults have at least one social media profile, marketers can hardly afford to ignore social media. Yet understanding the importance of social media isn’t the same thing as creating a social media marketing system that consistently attracts prospects.
Although most social media platforms offer options for sponsored posts, the best way to build long-term engagement is to grow an audience organically. To do this, marketers need to understand which social media platforms their target customers are using and how they’re using social media. From there it’s a matter of sharing and producing content that engages the audience.
Social media marketing is a complex beast, but there’s one golden rule. You should always be sharing content and engaging with other users more than you’re promoting your own products.
Webinars are now a major digital marketing tool. They’re particularly useful for driving new subscribers to your email list and building an audience in a niche market. At a relatively low cost, webinars can help your business establish expertise in your space.
To receive the maximum benefit from webinars, they should be a recurring feature of your marketing repertoire. This is critical for drawing in an audience over time. Although a customer might not be ready to purchase after a single webinar, a series of webinars might lure them in.
4. Video marketing
Youtube has 1.8 billion users who are active at least once a month—and their numbers are growing. Video is also gaining importance across other social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Even LinkedIn is seeing an explosion in video: 38% of marketers posted video on LinkedIn last year, and three-quarters of them said that it was effective. Oftentimes, video content is shared more frequently than other types of content.
Today, an effective marketing strategy must include engaging videos that reflect your brand’s personality. Again, it’s key to think of video marketing as a system. A single explainer video won’t do much for you marketing efforts, but building up a video library is an asset that appreciates over time.
5. Publicity-generating system
Even as the digital landscape becomes more complex, small businesses can’t afford to overlook older tactics. If you can get relevant publication to cover your business, that’s basically free marketing.
Despite hyperbolic claims that we’re witnessing the death of the press release, distributing press releases still generates value for your business. Press releases help businesses gain brand recognition and can help establish companies as thought leaders. Many journalists—particularly those at smaller publications—still use press releases as sources.
For businesses seeking investment, a robust publicity system is particularly critical.
6. Content marketing
An excellent backlog of content marketing is perhaps the most valuable marketing system that a business can invest in. Most customers turn to search engines when seeking to gain information about potential purchases. If your business can show up on page 1 of a Google search, you gain a significant competitive advantage. Content marketing is also critical for effective social media marketing.
Search engine optimization (SEO) remains critical in content marketing. However, Google has altered its algorithms so that content producers can no longer get away with short, poorly written articles stuffed with keywords. In order to receive good search placement, articles should be longer, with a proven record of engagement on social media and other websites.
Like other valuable marketing systems, content marketing becomes more valuable over time.
7. Content placement
While content marketing is valuable, building up your own audience takes time. One effective way to get your company’s name out there is to place content on other blogs. This enables you to reach a larger audience than you might otherwise have access to. Many major websites (such as The Huffington Post and Forbes) have become highly coveted placements for content marketers.
Of course, in order to get a high-traffic article placement, you need high-quality content. Many small businesses don’t have the resources to produce such content themselves—but help is available.
Interested in investing in excellent content that will keep sending customers your way? Contact us to learn more about how we can help.