Marketing Primer: 10 Essential Marketing Tools You Need in your Business
By Janice Hostager
Doesn’t marketing seem overwhelming sometimes? Some days it’s hard to even know where to start. And every day, there seem to be new marketing options to complicate the decision. So I’ve made a list of 10 essential marketing tools that every business should focus on. These are foundational–the place where you should start.
1. A high-converting website
This tops my list because whether your business is online or on Main Street, your website needs to bring in business.93% of customers check out a business online before they even contact the business. And that 93% will make a decision about your business in 3 seconds, based soley on your website.3 (So if you don’t have a website, we really need to talk!) A having a well-designed, search-engine-friendly website is job #1 if you want to grow your business.
2. An opt-in form for gathering leads
Offering a free download (sometimes called a lead magnet) that’s closely related to your product or service is a great way to gather names and email addresses. As the saying goes, “the money is in the list,” since people on your list are 300% more likely to buy from you.1
But how do you get them on your list? Offer them a solution to their pain and show them how their life can be improved. Here are some ideas. Also, Sumome offers a free pop-up form that can be installed on any website. Pop-up forms are annoying–but they extremely effective in building your list.
3. An email service
In order to gather leads, you’ll need an email service. Mailchimp has a free plan and it’s very user-friendly. But if you want an email service that will grow with your company, I would suggest ConvertKit. It allows you to segment your customers based on their open rate, their prior purchases and what form they signed up with.
Why does that matter? Let’s say you own a bakery that sells bread, cupcakes, and gluten-free products. If you had a form on your site for a download of gluten-free recipes, you know the people who signed up for that list have an interest in gluten-free foods. They will then be a great candidate for your sale or promotion on your gluten-free products.
What you should not do is send a bulk business email from your Gmail or Yahoo account. The CAN-SPAM act in the US and anti-spamming laws in other countries require an unsubscribe link (not typically included in those emails), and Gmail or Yahoo can suspend your account.
4. Social media pages
New business owners have high hopes for getting business from social media. But did you notice I didn’t rank social media as the #1 tool? That’s because search traffic–not social media– is the #1 driver of traffic to websites. It beats social media by more than 300%.1 Sales directly through social media are certainly possible, but generally, social media is better for driving traffic to your website where they can learn more about your business.
5. A blog
I know….I can almost hear the groans. There’s so much to do when running a business and adding a blog would put you over the top, right? I’m not gonna lie, it definitely can be some work.
But there are many excellent reasons to have a blog (such as that Google loves fresh content), and consider this: 93% of people begin their online experience with a search engine and 70% of the links search users click on are organic.1 What does that have to do with a blog? People search the internet based on the problem that they’re having–the problem that your blog post can address.
For example, the most visited page on my website is a blog post which outlines a solution to a problem my target customers often have when setting up a form in MailChimp. People can only find the blog post through search engines. That page on my website currently ranks #2 on Google out of 30,300 results. Through it, people visit my website (which further helps my Google rank), find an answer to their problem, and they have the opportunity to join my opt-in, which pops up on that page.
This would not have happened without my blog.
70-80% of users ignore the sponsored search suggestions, focusing instead on the organic search results.3 Not sure where to start with your blog? Here’s a checklist.
6. A strong brand
When I say branding, many people think of a logo. But a logo is just the tip of your branding iceberg–a brand has much more depth than that. Your logo should reflect what’s going on beneath the surface of your company and what sets you apart. The way that your company focuses on the needs, wants, values and desires of your target customer, and how your company overlaps those needs, is your brand. A good brand should be authentic–not a mask that you put on for customers. It should reflect who your business really is. A good brand sets you apart from your competitors.
7. A tripwire
You can have thousands of people on your email list, but they are not customers until they make a purchase. A tripwire is for that purpose. A tripwire is an offer with a phenomenal price to someone who hasn’t purchased from you before. Think about what you could offer your customer so that saying “yes” is a no-brainer. It could be a trial, a special purchase, or a smaller product. You want people to take out their wallet and purchase. Once someone has bought from you, they’re more likely to purchase again–and we love repeat customers, right?
8. Pricing plan
Selling without discounting your product’s price is something we’d all like to do. Pricing is an important part of your marketing mix that most small businesses don’t take full advantage of. There should be a fair amount of psychology that goes into pricing your product, such as anchoring your discounted price (giving them a “regular price” reference) or giving them three options for services or bundled packages. Having a strategic pricing plan ensures that you will make more sales.
9. Referral and next-sell programs
Don’t be fooled into thinking that once a customer has purchased from you, you’ve achieved your goal. If the Pareto principle is correct, then 80% of your sales comes from 20% of your customers.4 So think ahead to what that 20% will need next after that first sale. Here are some ideas that you can use to get people to buy again and again.
Also, a large majority of small businesses operate on word-of-mouth, so a recommendation from a friend has real power. Setting up a referral program can go a long way to making your existing customers that refer feel appreciated. It’s a powerful tool in your marketing arsenal.
10. “A Trail to the SaleTM”
The “Trail to the SaleTM” is what I call a system that leads people from awareness of your business, all the way through to the sale and beyond. More than a marketing tool, it is a marketing roadmap that works for any business, no matter if you’re selling a product or service, and whether your business is B2C or B2B. Want to learn more? Subscribe to my Mighty Marketing Mini Course and I’ll teach you how to grow your business too! (Just sign up below!)
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