It’s another frothy billion dollar or bust gold rush era and brands have to shout to get heard!
Everybody you meet has a business plan in hand, sort of like waiters with screenplays in L.A., personal apps are all the rage (even Dave Pell has one), VCs are throwing more money at startups faster than William Randolph Hearst gobbled up newspapers and getting traction on any social network requires a savvy content marketing strategy.
Your Business is Under Attack from an Encroaching Digital Landscape
- Data is Exploding at an unprecedented rate: projected to be ten times greater the next six years, with 44 trillion gigabytes shared by 2020.
- Content sharing is now platform agnostic: it’s anywhere and everything.
- Marketing budgets are unable to keep up with the growth in platforms.
- Consumers demographics are shifting rapidly.
- Savvy bigger brands are leveraging “social influence” to reach high value customers or influencers; making it more difficult for smaller brands to get heard via the social landscape.
- Businesses are aggressively deploying a product marketing strategy that encompasses no frills brands along side their traditional branded products: getting real world and “mental” shelf space is challenging.
- Native advertising is blurring the lines of how consumers and professionals engage with content.
- All brands are by necessity of changes in the digital landscape forced to become publishers on some scale.
- Technological expertise is overwhelming the core competency of management teams and it’s increasingly harder to find the right staff
- Finding people with the right skill set is challenging, which in turn underscores the importance of having a refined marketing strategy.
Critical Marketing Differentiators You Must Understand and Deploy
- Recognize your customer is untethered from your brand; one in five shoppers never left their couches in the most recent holiday shopping seasn. Your goods and service may be somewhat anonymous to them or the purchases was made after they went through 70-880% of the buying cycle.
- Get a content marketer on staff (easier said than done) or partner with a good content marketing agency. Content marketing skills are critical to figuring out what you want to say and where.
- Avoid jargon in your content - we struggle with this working with clients. Consumers and professionals are starting to filter content that’s laden with “fluff.”
- Visual marketing drives engagement with distracted consumers. It cuts through the clutter, gets attention and drives engagement.
- Repurpose and reuse content across all channels. The up side to distraction in the marketplace is 30-50% your target market isn’t going to know you are reusing content. Content syndication gives you one to many economies of scale.
6) Tell Brand story using long form content that informs and engages. Chunk it up and reuse it across all your social channels.
7) Understand who your customer is. In start-up language that’s known as a brand persona. In the ancient days it was referred to as a customer demographic, although some geeks will disagree with our labeling.
8) Niche in when/where you can to make your brand or business stand out.) Use an editorial calendar to impart some discipline and focus across all you marketing efforts. Get a sample editorial calendar here (no reg just download).
9) Read more and steal knowledge when/where you can find it.
10) Be a confident brand but not arrogant. We all want answers from smart people.
11) Push boundaries when/where you can. We can’t tell you what these are: ask your customers
12) Recognize we are moving into an autonomous and automatic buying cycle for most consumers: that’s not all bad, it levels the playing field for many smaller brands. You can move faster than many of our bigger competitors, which is a distinct advantage in a market that is moving faster than any on record.
13) Getting discovered in this new digital age is core anchor for your marketing processes: “live” and “be” where your customers are with a targeted social strategy, content marketing efforts, paid media, newsletter marketing, lead gen on any/all targeted social platforms: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter.
How to Maximize Social Media Marketing
- Don’t get on the wrong channel: Facebook is great for consumer brands; but Twitter and LinkedIn deliver 5-10X times more traffic and leads for B2B brands.
- Create short and long term goals: web site traffic, followers/likes, promote events. Short term are 60-120 days; long term goals: are six months to a year.
- Create great content that resonates with your target community.
- Get everyone on board with the strategy. For bigger brands this is exec staff, sales team, customer support; for smaller brands you may only be able to stand up one “shared” account.
- Have some personality but if your on Twitter or LinkedIn your customers aren’t going to care about “selfies” on vacation; save these for your personal account.
- The most important social media marketing strategy is a blog: don’t get on any social channel unless you have a blog in place.
- Start slow and don’t expect to get overnight traction across the social web. It’s gonna take time and sharing great content.
- Authenticity and engagement are success drivers.
- Pay it forward on social channels when/where you can. That’s been part of the “social culture” going back to CompuServe days and still relevant. People on these social channels are paying attention to what you are doing.
Critical Digital Strategy
- Web site usability and access is at the top of your list.
- Platform strategy is critical to success: less is more, get on one platform (albeit social or otherwise) and make a success of it.
- Who is your optimum persona? Identify their attributes and characteristics in a formal document and process and adjust your strategy accordingly.
- Leverage the cloud to lower costs, accelerate time to market and build a sales funnel that gives you the type of data you need about revenue.
- Create a customer feedback loop that scales as your business grows.
- Speed to market is a real asset in today’s always on smartphone driven world.
- Don’t forget about email marketing. It still drives significant returns for small businesses.
- Twitter and Tweetdeck make a wonderful combination for staying on top of your market by creating columns with competitors, targeted hastags, creating lists (these show up on your profile too). It’s a go to competitive intelligence platform.
- Blogging is still the best way to drive your brand forward. It’s not easy getting heard but no web site should be launched without a blog. Click here to download our Editorial Calendar in Excel format.
- We learn from thought leaders like Ann Handley, Marsha Collier or Peggy Drexler every day. If your not growing your stagnating right? Here’s how to identify thought leaders and learn (Twitter/Tweetdeck combo work here too).