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Marketing? I’m Doing it My Way, What’s Wrong with That?

  • Bad advice isn’t just annoying, it’s expensive.
  • If you don’t know how to manage your marketing, you need to take the time and learn to do it properly or outsource it to experts.

Marketing: You Know What It Is, But Do You Understand Why You Need It?

Getting your product or service out in front of customers is one of the most important things your company needs to be doing – if people don’t know you’re available, they’re not going to consider you when they’re making their purchasing decisions.

Marketing is more than just advertising though. You can’t just put up an advert or create a webpage and expect people to find you.

Successful marketing is a tactical and strategic process that covers everything from how your company is structured, to your vision and values, to your tone of voice and the products or services you sell.

You might now be thinking, “Really?” or “Yeah right…” but honestly, if you want to get your marketing right, and make the best use of your budget – you need to consider absolutely everything.

Deciding to do your own marketing is a big decision, it’s going to directly impact how people see your company, whether they visit your website or store, and whether or not they come and spend; so you need to be 100% certain that you

  1. Have a Marketing Strategy and
  2. Know What to Do with It.

What are the Pros and Cons of Working it Out for Yourself?

There are pros and cons to doing your own marketing, and a lot of it will depend on your business and you personally. We’ll take a quick look at a few of them now:

Pros of Doing Your Own Marketing:

    • You have complete control over everything
    • You can set up your own systems and processes that match your business
    • By keeping it in-house, you can upskill your workers
    • You have total responsibility over the look, sound and ‘feel’ of your digital presence
    • You can set your own timescales

Cons of Doing Your Own Marketing:

    • You need to either divert your own time (or staff time) from the business to focus on the marketing
    • If you don’t already have the licenses or software – you’re going to need to spend out on getting them
    • If you (or your staff) aren’t trained in marketing, then you’ll need to address that before you can start
    • You need to keep abreast of changes to search engine algorithm changes, term of service updates, latest industry news and any other technical details that could alter the way in which your strategy works
    • If you don’t correctly target your audience and campaign, you can waste time, effort, and money
    • If time is an issue, your marketing strategy can be compromised because you’ve not been able to get round to doing what needs to be done.

At the end of the day, whether you’re doing it yourself, or working with a dedicated team of experts to get your marketing done, it needs a budget, it needs a strategy and it needs to be a consistent long term effort.

Avoiding Bad Advice When You Don’t Know What You’re Doing

Like just about everything else these days, you can find a lot about marketing online (I mean, you’re reading this after all). But just because something shows in the search rankings and has had a lot of views, doesn’t mean the information is right – it could just mean the page has paid for a top spot or are good at their Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

When you’re new to marketing, you’re going to see a LOT of ‘advice’, some of it will be good advice, some of it will be mediocre, and some of it is just so wrong it hurts. The trick now is working out what’s what.

Working Out the Meaning – Is it Right, Wrong or Unclear?

To help you work your way through the massive amount of information available, we’ve gathered together some of the most oft repeated marketing advice and provided a handy explanation of what it actually means, and more importantly – whether or not it’s right.

Generic Marketing Advice That Makes You Go “Huh?”

Create Meaningful Content!

So the advice here is pretty vague, even if it is technically correct.

Basically they’re telling you not to just post anything and everything. When creating content (this could be text, images, videos, etc – anything that you share in public is content of a sort), there needs to be a reason why you’re doing it.

For example: If you’re a banking business and have decided to post about the latest interest rates on personal accounts, this is relevant and meaningful to your customers – it’s something they need to know.

But if you were to then post a picture of a cat licking its own back foot, it might be funny – but does it offer your customers anything? Does it have anything what-so-ever to do with your product, service, company culture or values? If the answer is NO – then it shouldn’t go up.

You might then decide to take that same cat and caption it, “Our Accounts are Just as Flexible” and then all of a sudden, it’s relevant to your industry.

Every single thing you do, even if it’s light-hearted and in jest, needs to connect your business with your customer in some way. You must also take the time to consider what your brand personality is – if you’ve got a serious, no-nonsense brand image, then comedy posts will be out of place and jarring.

Match your marketing with the truth of your brand, don’t pretend to be something you’re not.

Be Relevant!

Ugh, this one is just so generic that you’d be hard pressed to know where to start with it.

What they’re trying to say, is that depending on your company, your audience and your goals – you need to keep on top of events, causes and changes that will impact your industry.

For example: Your business is categorically and emphatically against Child Labour. A social cause starts trending where particular industries are being highlighted as being unethical. As a part of your marketing (done with delicacy and care) you could get involved (reposting, using hashtags, etc) and state that you don’t agree with Child Labour, you have strict measures in place, and that you wouldn’t work with companies that violated this.

From a human emotional point of view, what I’ve written above sounds awful – getting involved in a campaign to market your business. But, from a business perspective, if it’s important enough to be a part of your culture, visions, and values, then sharing that information and getting involved makes sense.

Tact and careful research of any campaign is essential before you get involved. ALWAYS know what a campaign is about before you respond.

Know Your Audience.

Again, the advice is correct – but really doesn’t tell you what it means. It’s not suggesting that you meet and greet everyone individually and know them all personally (although if you want to, you can).

What it means is in a more general sense. Using tools and data gathering techniques, it’s very easy for companies to find out what sort of people are visiting their social media pages, websites, etc.

By having this data available, you are then able to determine what types of people you’re attracting, what content is getting the best engagement, and then you can work out what you want to focus on next.

Your marketing should be a balance between what your business does, what you want to say, and what your customers are interested in seeing. If you skew the balance too far in any direction, you’re going to waste your budget.

Outdated Advice that Just Doesn’t Work Any More:

Fill Your Content with Keywords

Once upon a time there was something called ‘keyword stuffing’ – this was the process of filling your content with as many keywords (search terms) as possible. The idea was that a webcrawler would index your page for all of these terms and then you’d rank for them.

It doesn’t work like that any more.

SEO is constantly changing and adapting, and the approach to keywords is much more natural. Gone are the days where you had to fill pages with single descriptive words, or try and naturally fit in awkward search terms. Near enough and close matches are now picked up by search engines; and in fact – if you try and stuff too many keywords in, or include ones that aren’t relevant, it’s detected – and you’ll get penalised with lower rankings as a result.

When working out your keywords, you need to focus on the ones that describe the core of your business and are the most likely to be actually searched for by paying customers.

Why waste time trying to rank for everything and seeing no results, when you can focus on a few key areas and attract exactly the people you want to appeal to.

You MUST Be Active on EVERY Social Media Channel!

So, this one is wrong, but not entirely.

It is a good idea to register on all the different social media channels, this means you’ve got control of the user name you want, or the one that’s specifically associated with your company, and stops trolls or other undesirables from getting hold of it and masquerading as you.

But, you don’t need to be active on every single channel.

Part of your market research needs to cover social media, and when you’ve done that – you’ll be able to see which channels are the most popular with your audience. These are the channels where you should be focusing your efforts – there is absolutely no point wasting time posting on a channel that your audience aren’t using, they’re not going to see you!

Use as Many Hashtags as You Can!

No, no, NO! Don’t do this.

Overuse of hashtags is seen as spamming and has actually been proven to put people off from reading your content.

Each social media channel is different, for example: Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags per post, but Facebook recommends using 2 or 3 per post.

This is one of the main issues we see with cross-posting content, aside from the problem of boring your customers with the same content on every channel (why even bother checking them all if they’re just going to be the same), when Instagram posts with 30 hashtags get shared on Facebook, they’re doomed to less engagement because they’re seen as spam.

When you create your content, it’s really important that you know how many hashtags is ideal for the channel, and that they’re relevant to the post.

Do it right by doing it carefully.

Advice That’s Just Wrong, Wrong, WRONG!

Marketing Gets You Quick Results!

If someone tells you that they can get you quick results with their marketing, they’re either lying or preparing to floor your accounts with fake accounts, bots and garbage that gets you nothing.

Marketing is a long-term process, it involves trial and error, adjustments, and a consistent approach.

There are some elements of marketing, such as Pay Per Click (PPC) that show results after a short period, but these are isolated elements that form part of your marketing plan – not as a whole.

Posting Something is Better than Posting Nothing!

Just no.

Your digital presence is often the first place a customer engages or discovers your business. You need to have consistent standards that reflect who you are, what you do, and why you’re the best people to do it for them.

If something is ‘okay’ or ‘good enough’ then it’s not good enough and shouldn’t go out. If you don’t care about or believe in a piece of content, why should your customers?

Post Lots of Sales and Offers to Attract Customers!

A knee-jerk reaction to attracting more customers, putting special offers and sales out is often a go to technique. But really, it’s not something you should be doing all the time – if I see you posting a sale or discount code every week, I’m never EVER going to pay full price.

Rather than focusing on cutting prices, you need to look at the benefits and enticements of your goods or services. Give people good reason why they should be happy to pay full price.

Then when you do occasionally have a sale, it’s special and likely to generate much more interest.

Summing it All Up

Marketing is highly involved and takes time. It’s an investment in establishing relationships with customers, building your reputation, improving your place in the industry, and generating sustainable growth.

Whether you decide to take it on yourself or bring in a team of experts – it’s essential that you make a firm choice, you cannot leave marketing to chance if you want to succeed.

At VSG, we have decades of experience across dozens of industries, as well as the tools, training, and time for the job. We can help you get your marketing right – from training and consultation, to full-service packages, we are here for you.

Get in touch today and discover the virtual solution to your digital needs.

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