Right now I am frustrated by all of the articles that tell me that social media budgets will double in 2016. In addition, I need to really consider buying ads on Facebook and Twitter if I am going to get any traction. Some people tell me I need to forget about ROI with respect to social media because it just needs to happen. Others tell me that inbound marketing is dead. Still others tell me that I don’t need a website anymore. Finally, people are telling me that content marketing and blogging are overrated and should be discontinued.
The sad truth is…you read one story and it tells you where you should focus your marketing resources and you read another story and it tells you the complete opposite.
The real truth is..no one really has a handle on how to market your business except for you, the marketing director.
For the past few years, I have read many, many articles and books and listened to hundreds of podcasts in the hope of gaining some direction for planning for the upcoming year. I have embraced programs like social media, content marketing and mobile marketing for the past few years. I have found success, but I have a hard time pointing to the exact reasons for success when it comes to these ideas. In 2015, it finally hit me as to why the company I work for has experienced tremendous success.
Here are the areas I have found success and you can see a direct correlation with respect to ROI:
Build a Strong Client Service Team – This is really the key. Technology is great, but people can still answer questions and resolve issues faster than technology. By the way it is much more personal and you can continually add new processes and immediately see results. Find people who want to build their knowledge about the company’s products/services and learn more about the clients they service.
Make It Easy for People to Find You – Make sure you post your company name, address, phone number and website in as many places as you can. Start with your website and list this information on your website. Put this information on email signatures. Create brochures that have contact information. Give people options to contact you: phone, email, online.
Clean Up Your Website – I am still working in this area. Our company website has too much information and it is hard to find particular information. We have provided a website search functionality to start, but we know we must get a leaner website with information that is much more pertinent to our clients and potential clients.
Create Online Forms – Stop using forms that people must print out and then fill out by pen. Ask yourself, “Can clients access these forms easily from their mobile phone?”. Move toward an online form that is short and simple that could be filled out using a smartphone.
Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin – Use these platforms as communication platforms to get your message out to the masses. Continue to go against the crowd and use these platforms to fill in the gaps where you need them. There is no cookie-cutter system for companies. What works for one company may/may not work for another. Be creative and find your own voice.
Improve Current Company Processes – Consider performing a self-audit and look for areas to improve. It may be time to improve your internal processes and evaluate the quality of your own products and services.
Client Feedback- Review client comments and client complaints. This information will help you plan for 2016 and will give you instant return on your investment if you can implement some of these suggestions.
Finally, stop reading about all the marketing trends for 2016. – Look at this information, but don’t make your own plans based on the information present. Do you really believe companies will increase their budget over 60% on social media? We all know that we need to have a mobile strategy. (Isn’t that a given) Content marketing is a good strategy, but it still comes down to defining what that strategy will look like and how you will measure success. Also, keep in mind, many of the people who write about these trends are not the same ones doing all of the work for a particular company. Focus on the people who have skin in the game and are willing to share their insights with respect to these topics.
As far as being frustrated, I am really not that frustrated going into 2016. I am more excited than ever. It really comes down to having a plan and continuing to bounce ideas off other connections outside my company. I find that the marketers who develop their own path and are willing to stick with their plans and continue to learn things, change things and improve things.
Picture Source: Pixabay