Marketing strategy is probably the most abused word in the marketing industry. Everyone talks about strategies, but few know what it really represents. It has nothing to do with curating your presence on Facebook nor developing a Chatbot for your website. Trust me, strategy is something completely different.
Being an entrepreneur who is running a small business is already tough itself. Marketing, in most cases, is a process that slows you down as you have to learn it, hire people to execute your vision or deal with an agency (and their high fees). Luckily, with tools like groost life gets a bit better. Prepare a good strategy and automate your marketing efforts. Let's find out how.
Luckily, some tools can guide and educate you without you having to learn. Automation platforms are built to cover the majority of your marketing tasks. Having said this, they search for ways to guide you through the process of a successful onboarding in a simple way.
Before we get started, let's clarify what a marketing strategy means.
A strategy sets a target of where it is we want to be within a certain period of time. Now we are at point A, so where is the point B we want to reach. Marketing strategy, to narrow it down, answers these three core questions:
First, we need to clarify who we're aiming for – our target audience. Our target audience represents our potential customers. Getting to know them as thoroughly as possible will be crucial for the next steps. Secondly, we must focus on positioning – the way our customer sees us, what he thinks of us, what jumps to her mind immediately after the name of our brand or product is pronounced. If you think of Volvo, what jumps to your mind? Is it safety? This is not by mistake. Volvo wants to be considered the safest car, and they do everything they can to be perceived this way. That's positioning. Lastly, we ask ourselves, what goals we want to achieve. Knowing where you want to go and being able to quantify it helps you stay on track at all times!
Of course, you may want to conduct in-depth research on both internal and external factors (SWOT analysis works for internal factors, PESTLE for external) to find out how your business gets both positively and negatively influenced. While analysing, keep an eye on your competitors to know how well they do (and why). These points are, nonetheless, tied to your overall business, not solely marketing. Let's just focus on marketing for now.
Did you answer the three core questions? Great! Now see how automation tools can guide you to not just create, but also execute your strategy – complete the tactical steps.
1. They encourage you to focus on your customer
All tools from the most complicated to the easiest ones focus on a customer. Look at how Hubspot does it – they offer you a CRM to store all your customer data, track the website activity of your customers and segment them for email marketing and social ads. Customers are at the very center of their product features. So that should be the case in all of your marketing activities. In our latest post, we've covered the importance of being where your customers are – be customer-centric. Marketing automation platforms guide you without your assistance, so you can use your energy elsewhere.
We've built a tool for an easy and efficient campaign management. It is so easy that non-marketers run their campaign within minutes. We focus, needless to say, on a customer- first approach. We encourage you to create your marketing persona and center your campaign around this. See how we do this below:
2. They offer you many ways to create content
Content – be it emails, social media ads, website forms or blog posts – is what should give a real value to your customer. There are many types of content (educational, comedic, aesthetically pleasing…), but all of it should be easily recognisable. What I mean by that is that every piece of content shows it's YOU and your business, and does not belong to anybody else. Using your logo in the header of an email or a social media creative helps easily identify your business. Your claim in headlines shows it's you, your brand colors signify it's you, the tone that plays at the beginning of each of your podcasts says it's you… With every piece of content you build the complete picture that pops into a customer's head when someone says the name of your brand or product. Presenting your unique attributes over your competitors and repeatedly identifying yourself with a certain market category helps your target audience discover who you really are – and what makes you unique. Automation platforms not only allow you to create content you need for your business to be successfully present online, but also guide you through these steps, so that you don't do it wrong.
3. They encourage you to analyze results
I can not emphasize this any more – if you can't measure something, you can't improve it. Tools like Keap, Hubspot or Mailchimp give you an in-depth analysis of your campaigns and efforts. They truly show you what's important to track and what isn't. When it comes to measuring results, things can get pretty complicated. Don't look at hundreds of metrics, unless it makes sense to you and you see the dependencies between them. If you run campaigns for 200 USD a month, focus on a few things (key metrics) that are tied to your goal and nothing else. Make sure to update your dashboard and, ideally, let the tools send you regular emails with the metrics you are most interested in. It'll save you a bit of time.
To codify the results of any campaign, it is crucial to tie them to your goals. Any campaign needs to be set up with goal(s). Say you want to increase the engagement for your Facebook post and lead people to your website. The number of people reached and the number of people that interacted with your content is what you'll be looking for –the click through rate will show you the difference between those two (number of people who interacted / number of people reached). Simply put, this metric shows how good and juicy your content is. Did you get a 5% click through rate? Good job! Do you think 5% is too low? I suggest you check the (industry) standards and judge this afterwards. Some metrics seem to be low, but if you dig deeper, you may realize that your campaign rocks.
To wrap it up, focus on three important questions, choose the right tools to help you execute your strategy and always measure your efforts. Being a small business owner is tough itself, don't put in more work. Let automation platforms help you get rid of the routine tasks and, thus, deliver better results. We've mentioned some of the tools here, so make sure to check it out.
One of the buzzwords and a key trend in marketing is automation. Even though it may sound complicated and unaffordable for small businesses, the opposite is true – you only have to know where to begin. If you know what to focus on, choose the right software and analyze your efforts, marketing automation can truly get your business to the next level.
Marketing automation is, as the name suggests, a category of technology that streamlines your marketing activities. It gives you the power to focus on customers with the highest potential and saves your time by triggering messages (campaigns) across multiple channels without you having to start them manually. A miracle, I know.
There is always a buzz around new technologies. We recommend reading our article about the difference between Hype & Trend. Marketing automation, we believe, is a trend to stay. Jump on the train as soon as you can. No matter how big your business is. If you choose an affordable solution, your business can never be too small for this.
There are more arguments to start using a marketing automation tool:
Stop. Doing. Manual. Work. Period. Let technology help you automate. It's not as hard as it looks. You will find out soon, just bear with us…
Let us guide you through the very first steps to start using marketing automation that will take your business to the next level.
Be clear about what you want to achieve and how you'll track it. This is a prerequisite to get started. If you don't clearly set your expectations, you won't know where to go and you won't recognize when you get there.
Do you want to save time? Great! Are you more interested in increasing your response rate? That's cool too. Would you like to generate more leads? That counts as well. Goals and expectations should come out of your status quo - no one will help you here, just you, so start by defining your goals.
Know the journey of your customer. You can only optimize if you know what leads your customers to purchase. We are fans of marketing funnels that help you (in a simplified way) understand the customer journey. Draw one for your business – you will get a better idea of where your customers get stuck.
Let us give an example here. Say you run your real estate business. Your primary selling point is your website with all the listings and offers. You run Google, Bing and social media ads to generate traffic. You might send some newsletters too.
Your primary goal is to generate leads and close them, right? There are multiple touchpoints throughout the customer journey (before you close the deal). Here is what a customer journey may look like:
Now that you know how your customers behave – you've identified the touchpoints, let's slowly start automating. Or better said, let's find out what can be automated. Tools like Hubspot, ActiveCampaign or Keap are mostly focused on email marketing, social media ads, search & display ads, SMS, widgets and pop ups on the website. These represent the channels that you can use to get in touch with your audience. Let us expand on our example above. The touchpoints where the communication can be fully automated are now marked in red:
There are plenty of tools to choose from. Going back to your potential question: “Are these tools affordable for small businesses?”, note that you don't have to pick Marketo or Hubspot to automate your efforts. These are tools mainly for enterprises that operate with big marketing budgets. Not in our case. We go small. But effectively…
Let's list some of the tools you can use to start automating your communication:
ActiveCampaign gives you not just marketing automation software, but CRM on top. Its pricing starts at 9 USD (if paid annually) and offers not just email marketing, but also SMS, Facebook targeting, subscription forms and personalised content on your website. It's a great tool.
You will have to go deeper into your pocket here. Plans start at 49 USD, but they offer you a sales pipeline plus invoices & payment management on top of what ActiveCampaign gives you. If you lead a sales team, this can be a great choice.
As well as other automation tools, Drip focuses on campaign orchestration – creating a single view across multiple channels. We worship the 360°customer view and so does Drip. Their focus is ecommerce and they offer great features, like personalised product recommendations.
It started solely as an email marketing tool, and is now moving into the automation platform. Mailchimp offers features like landing page creation, social media ads and soon-to-be-launched marketing CRM. Pricing starts at 9,99 USD plus they offer a freemium to play with the tool and use basic features.
We love Zapier – the glue of the internet. It allows you to connect two platforms that, by themselves, do not communicate with each other. Say you generate leads on your Wix website and need to send them to your Drip account. Zapier helps you do that – automatically of course. With more than 1,500 platforms, they are the real glue of the internet...
As much as we love Zapier, we adore our own solution – groost. The name itself says that it'll grow & boost your business. We do it by automating and simplifying your campaign management. If you need to generate more leads, increase website traffic or get more post engagement on your social media profile, you probably run paid campaigns – knowing that organic reach is constantly decreasing – which can be overwhelming. Learning how Google Ads, Facebook Business Manager, LinkedIn Campaign Manager or Bing Ads work takes ages. Not with groost – a single platform for all your marketing efforts. We do offer freemium too to show your business on both Facebook and Instagram – try it out!
Make sure to come back and analyze your efforts. As Peter Drucker said, if you can't measure it, you can't improve it. Analyzing what works and what doesn't is crucial. We recommend running continual AB testing to optimise every step of your funnel and every touchpoint with your customers. All tools that have been listed above allow you to do so easily.
These are the 5 easy steps to get started with marketing automation. Some of them might seem obvious, but believe me, there is no shortcut. Set your priorities first, define the customer journey and touchpoints, find out what can be automated, choose the right tool(s) and after some period of time, come back, analyze and improve.
Everybody speaks about TikTok, right? So, why is this platform so famous and who really uses it? Launched in 2016 by a Chinese company ByteDance, TikTok displayed an amazing three-year growth. Today, more than 800 million users engage in this entertaining platform worldwide. Entertainment is what it's all about. TikTok is a platform that allows its users to create short stories and add a musical background. Not by any chance did TikTok (ByteDance) acquire Musical.ly. Music plays a key role in the content of all TikTokers. Let's have a look at the key TikTok demographics and stats!
Do you run your Instagram account, but see it is not as successful as other businesses' profiles?
Building up a community on Instagram is really difficult and it takes a long time to gain followers who are engaging with your content. To find your followers, it is crucial to maintain content that is relevant, entertaining, consistent and frequent. Once you master this, you can start to build a larger following of Instagram users for your profile.
So what can you do to get more followers?
Are you using Instagram to attract qualified real estate leads? Or are you merely relying on Facebook?
Things changed in the last years and social media platforms as well. Instagram is one of the platforms that has grown dramatically in the last decade. In the beginning of 2012 it started with “just” 15 million users. After 8 years the user base grew to over 1 billion in 2020. Not just these numbers is a reason to consider using Instagram in your business.
In most of 2019, almost forty percent of adults were on Instagram. This number will grow rapidly in the next few years, so it makes IG a great place to reach your potential clients.
Instagram is based on connecting people. It is therefore, very easy to communicate directly with your followers or even potential customers, whether publicly in comments or in private messages. In addition, the Instagram application is very well optimised, so it is comfortable and easy for the person on the other side of your communication.
Instagram is based on visual content. People like it and spend a lot of their time looking at a variety of photos, pictures and videos. Embrace it when you have something to show. Photos of houses are very popular on Instagram and this is a huge opportunity for you! Show the properties you are currently offering.
Instagram is an engagement powerhouse. Brands see 10x higher engagement here than they do on Facebook. It's because the interaction with the content on instagram is much more natural and convenient for users.
When you offer your services on Zillow, Realtor, or Trulia, you compete with almost all real estate agents. On the other hand, according to FitSmallBusiness.com, only 14% of agents are on Instagram. It gives you a big advantage. Up to 83% of buyers want to see pictures of properties online.
Instagram is a part of Facebook. It brings great advantages. Via Facebook Business Manager, you can publish ads on Instagram with very precise targeting. This allows you to reach potential customers using a number of parameters, such as where they live or even whether they are considering buying property. If you are not sure about the Business Manager, try our groost app, that simplifies the whole process to just 7 steps.
Essentially, hashtags are an SEO on Instagram. It is a tag in the description of your post and it allows users who are not following you, to find your content and, hopefully, follow you. Basically, you have two types of hashtags, global and local. Local hashtags are best if you are running a business account or have a physical location and want to promote locally.
From the very beginning, Instagram was designed to publish visual content. With the official mobile app, it's very easy and fast. You have a variety of tools to edit your photos and videos on the go.
Live streams are becoming more and more popular. It turns out, according to this study, that up to 82% percent of people prefer live videos compared to social media posts. And 80% of users would rather watch live videos from a brand than read a blog. Because it is honest and authentic. Take this opportunity to present the property you are currently selling.
On Instagram, you have basically 2 types of profiles. Personal and Business. The business one offers you more features that are essential for your business. One of the features is called Insights. You can see several charts and numbers here and use this to analyse your audience to find out what is and isn't working.
In the end, Instagram is a free platform. Anyone can use its features for free and that is the reason why Instagram has over 111 million active users in the U.S. alone.
What to say at the end? Instagram is apparently a platform that you shouldn't ignore in 2020. It has many benefits for your business and its influence will grow.
Have you already come across social media posts tagged with “Sponsored”? Do you wonder what they mean and on which principle they work? Good question! An even better one would be, how can these posts help you reach way more people than you do with your organic posts – the ones that you publish on your social media timeline? In today's post, we will uncover not just that, but also concrete steps to get started!
Truth be told, you can use these types of posts to reach many more people than you do today…
But before we jump into what a sponsored post means, let's look at what it doesn't. Say that you run an Instagram profile and add posts to your profile. So do we. This is what it looks like:
These posts are the ones that appear on your social media profile and most importantly, on the feed of your followers and friends. The ratio between the number of people you reached with your posts and the total number of followers is your ORGANIC REACH. The more people who follow your profile, the more people you can reach with every one of your social media posts. Therefore, it is important to build your audience.
But what if you want to reach more people? What if you want to expand your reach to someone who hasn't liked your page yet? Both answers will be clarified, go ahead and continue reading...
In regards to the organic reach, we have to tell you the cruel truth. The organic reach is constantly decreasing. What that means for you, is that you no longer reach the same number of people as you did before.
We have covered this topic more thoroughly in this article, but to point out the importance of this decrease, see the graph below:
From 2012 to 2016, the organic reach on Facebook has sunk to almost zero…
Let's do some math to understand it perfectly. Say your page or profile has 10,000 followers. Due to the organic reach decline, your organic posts may reach between 300 and 800 people based on its performance – making your organic reach between 3% to 8%. Now the chance that some of these 300 to 800 people interact with your content is way lower than if you reached 3,000 to 8,000 people (call me captain obvious). It may sound logical and totally clear, but ignoring this fact and relying solely on your organic reach may cost you your share of voice or market share. In other words, you may lose your followers, fans and customers if you don't act.
Now that we've come through what organic posts mean, let's finally clarify what these “sponsored” posts are that serve you targeted content on your social media feed…
Refresh your Facebook or Instagram feed and scroll for a few seconds… Stop, there it is! A post that looks like any other one with one small difference. It is tagged with “Sponsored” in the upper part. Can you see it?
You will find plenty of these on your feed. And most of them will be perfectly targeted at you – based on your interests and preferences. Now the key is to leverage this feature for you and your business, isn't it?
Let's dive into how this sponsored content works. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tik Tok and other social media platforms allow you to run ads through their advertising interfaces. You sign up, learn how the platforms work and jump straight into promoting your content. These interfaces – let's call them the Campaign Manager Accounts for now – remain unknown to “ordinary” users. It's all the magic that “happens in the background”.
Let's take Facebook as an example. Say I want to promote our post that has been (organically) published on our timeline:
Organically we didn't reach as many people as we'd like to. Let's promote the post then…
Either in Facebook Business Manager or tools like our own app, you can follow a few steps and create your campaign – sponsor a post. By defining your goal, marketing persona, budget and message, you can expand your reach and speak to people that have never heard of your business before or show your content to followers you'd not have been able to reach organically.
Going back to our example, let's say that we want to target small business owners in California. According to data from Facebook, we could reach 290,000 people, respectively 277 to 800 people a day for less than $10 a day.
Yes, promoted posts are about investing something into expanding your reach. But as you see, you don't have to sit on millions of dollars in marketing budget to speak to more potential customers than you probably do today. You don't even have to sit on hundreds of dollars to achieve your goal of reaching more people…
Not to say that when they purchase from you, your investment is back – with interests (or margin:)
This is what the set up would look like...
With only a few clicks – in case you use tools that simplify this process – you are able to start your campaign (sponsored post).
The best thing is, that you target your posts solely at people who are relevant to your business. In other words, you tailor your content to people that can become your customers, followers or fans.
Say you run an eshop with accessories. You sell watches, necklaces, small pieces of clothes, rings and other goods. You have two types of products: those made for men and those made for women.
You manage your Instagram profile and post content about your customers’ satisfaction (reviews), newest pieces of clothes and inspiration as to how they fit with other outfits. This content can be interesting for both men and women. But what if you want to run a campaign targeted solely at men with the goal of selling all the men's watches that have been sitting in stock for a long time? That's when the sponsored post comes into play…
The process has already been described: you define your goal (sell more watches), marketing persona (men in California between 25 and 45 years old, interested in fashion), choose which channel you want this post to appear on (Instagram), set your budget and campaign length ($5 a day for 7 days) and finally, create your great content – the ad that your potential customer sees on his feed. Say your post looks something like this:
Thanks to this campaign (while using the setting in the brackets), you are able to reach more than 7,000 people. And you've invested $35 in total. Awesome, isn't it?
Is this the only option to increase your organic reach, you may ask? It's definitely not. Marketing is all about synergy. You may want to combine more tactics to achieve the best results.
Let's go through some tips & tricks that can work perfectly with (or without) promoting your posts.
Again, this may sound obvious, but is not always completely understood. Creating super engaging content comes first, along with understanding your audience! If you don't know who you're talking to, your speech can never really resonate, right?
It's like in life. Imagine you go on a date with a pretty and intelligent woman who is into fashion and yoga. You spend the whole time speaking about the Super Bowl! How would that date end? You probably know the answer...
The same applies to your social media profiles and any content that you publish. If you create something that no one's interested in, you decrease not just your reach, but also engagement.
Start with defining your marketing persona and create content that they find interesting, educating, funny or shocking – anything that goes with your brand.
If you do so, your followers will like, comment, share and recommend your content and products. Thus, you can leverage the real power of social media: the snowball effect that happens once people share your content.
Let me share one secret with you. Your followers are not only on Facebook or Instagram. They also use other platforms like Youtube, Pinterest, LInkedIn or Tik Tok. In fact, an average American Internet user has more than 7 social media accounts. That being said, you should definitely leverage the potential to reach your audience where they are (and where your competitors probably aren't… yet).
Platforms like LinkedIn or Tik Tok have a much higher organic reach now. They are where Facebook was a few years ago. That may change as they grow and decide to monetize their audience, but till then, you can build your follower base and successfully grow your business! Go for it...
Are you also suffering from a continuous decrease in organic reach? Do you reach less people than you'd like to? Try some of these tactics and let us know how it has helped :)
Is affiliate marketing effective for small businesses? Can this channel help your business get more customers and earn more money? The short answer is yes. The long answer is thoroughly described below, with all the details and explanations you need to successfully jump into leveraging affiliate marketing for your brand or product.