Hiring a Marketing Expert Vs Doing It Yourself

Marketing is a complex field that includes different strategies designed to improve visibility, establish a brand presence, engage prospective customers, and earn more revenue as a result. Business owners need to invest time and money into marketing if they want to stay ahead of the game and stand apart from the competition. A good marketing strategy can help businesses grow and enjoy more success.

However, many small business owners hesitate to hire professional marketers to handle their marketing campaign. It could be lack of trust, no budgetary means for it, or that they feel it’s a manageable task. In the end, they struggle to share responsibilities and delegate tasks while they run a business; which means they don’t outsource marketing and rely on inexperienced in-house employees to plan and implement the strategies that they end up overseeing.

Why Hiring a Marketing Expert can Help

Modern marketing is an expansive field, and it includes everything from digital marketing online to traditional offline marketing. Business owners rarely have enough time to learn different marketing techniques and understand how to implement them well on their platforms. All kinds of businesses, especially small companies, can benefit from professional assistance. Here are some reasons why hiring a professional is a good idea:

1. To Navigate the Complexities of Modern Marketing Strategies

Modern marketing strategies involve a wide range of techniques, tools, skills, and platforms, which is why people work in teams to implement it. The digital marketing team includes professionals with different skills and qualifications who handle different tasks. These strategies are just too complex for a single person to manage, even if they’re qualified in the field. Even the simplest marketing strategy requires steps like:

  • Establishing Your Audience
  • Branding the Service for the Audience
  • Graphic Design & Collateral Creation
  • Creating a Website that Sells
  • Making the Website SEO Friendly
  • Promoting the Website
  • Creating Social Media Profiles
  • Establishing Brand Presence
  • Generating Content
  • Creating Ads for Paid Platforms
  • Managing Ad Spend
  • Managing Authoritative Links to the Website

All of these things require different skills and most business owners have to invest time to learn these skills if they want to handle marketing without professional assistance.

2. To Create Content that Establishes Industry Authority

Content is an important aspect of modern marketing strategies because it helps establish authority in the industry, engages with customers, distributes information regarding products and services, and include keywords to catch the attention of search engines. The Internet is saturated with content, so users are very selective about what they read. It’s not enough to just create generic content and include relevant keywords in the text. The content should provide the target audience with significant value.

  • Content should be well-written with sound grammar and spelling.
  • All the information should be current and relevant to the keywords included in the text.
  • The content should be in long-form and range from 1,000 to 2,000 words. The average word count of the web pages search on the first search engine results page is 1,890.
  • The keywords used should be specific, and the content should include long-tail phrases.
  • All information should be well-researched and as accurate as possible.

The primary purpose of content marketing is to attract organic traffic to the website and to ensure that users stay long enough to become interested in the products and services offered. The secondary purpose of content marketing is to establish authority and win the trust of the visitors.

Skilled and experienced content marketing experts know just how to generate the right kind of content for their target audience. This job requires skills, training and deep knowledge on the nitty-gritty of writing for online audiences. It’s something most individual business owners aren’t able to manage.

3. To Develop Creative and Interactive Resources

Content marketing doesn’t just involve text though it is one of the most commonly used formats in modern marketing. Text content is easy to create, and business owners can develop good articles and blog posts if they put in some time and effort. However, experienced marketers know content marketing must be diverse and approach the target audience from different directions. A sound content marketing strategy will include:

  • Videos and tutorials
  • Podcasts and live streams
  • Infographics and animations
  • White papers and research papers relevant to the industry

These types of content require different skills and software, and a business owner doesn’t usually have access to them. In comparison, professional marketers have all the tools and knowledge required to create visual and text content and can handle it with a marketing strategy in mind.

4. To Deliver your Brand Socially

Social media is a great platform for small businesses because it allows them to reach out and connect with their target audience. They can engage with their audience regularly, establish a personal relationship, hear customer concerns, complaints, and provide resolutions promptly; this helps ensure customers remain interested in the brand.

However, social media is a double-edged sword if it’s not handled properly. Even the smallest mistakes can compromise the reputation of the company and alienate the target audience. Experienced social media professionals know how to navigate these platforms well and will:

  • Understand different platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., and develop unique strategies to engage audiences on every platform.
  • Explore the paid ads, promoted content, and other such paid marketing options available on these platforms and use them to the best advantage.
  • Monitor engagements and interactions between the business and target audience to understand customer preferences.
  • Handle complaints, questions, and requests from customers on the social media platforms.
  • Build and maintain a good reputation on these platforms and establish authority through content.

Professional marketers will use sophisticated social media management tools to keep track of all this activity and ensure nothing goes wrong. Managing social media requires time and commitment, but it can be very rewarding. Social media marketers are very savvy on these platforms and know how to engage the audience efficiently.

Many small business owners struggle with this aspect of marketing and have neither the time nor knowledge to keep track of their social media accounts. The time to update, post content, respond, and then interact with their audiences just isn’t there.

5. To Develop your Brand and Website Concepts

A marketing campaign will fail if the business doesn’t have a well-designed website and a carefully crafted brand presence. A website is the foundation of all marketing campaigns and needs to provide a good user experience to visitors, regardless of the platform they approach it from.

The website should be easy to navigate, mobile-friendly, SEO-friendly, quick to load on all platforms, aesthetically pleasing, and informative. It should be designed in accordance with the branding to ensure it conveys the right message to the target audience. Experienced website developers and marketers will consider the factors mentioned below when they create a platform and branding:

  • Target audiences and their preferences
  • Type of products and services provided
  • Competitors and the industry in general
  • The company’s ethics, goals, and message
  • The location of the company

All of these factors are considered in the website design and branding process to ensure the online presence is unique and appealing to the target audience. While business owners know their industry, product and target market well, they don’t have the skills and knowledge on how to position themselves best when it comes to branding. A haphazard approach or unplanned branding strategy can have a long-term impact on the success of the venture.

6. To Research and Analyze Your Engagement Campaigns

Modern marketing strategies are fluid and dynamic. They need to change and evolve in response to the changing market conditions, search engine regulations, target audience preferences, and other such influential factors.

A marketing campaign that’s successful today might not be as successful six months down the line, which is why experienced marketers always keep an eye on the campaigns through analytics and research latest marketing trends regularly. Here are some of the many analytic reports professional marketers browse through regularly:

  • The analytic reports containing website activity like a number of visitors (repeat and unique), duration of the visit, bounce rates, most popular pages, etc. This information will help them improve the overall quality of the website.
  • Analysis of paid ad campaign performance on search engines, social media platforms, and even off-line strategies like direct mail marketing. They keep an eye on the performance of the paid ad campaigns and determine if the ads provide sufficient ROI.
  • Analysis of organic social media interaction. This often includes impressions, opened posts, comments, likes/dislikes, shares, etc. Experienced social media marketers will study these reports and alter their social media strategy accordingly.

Without regular analytics, it’s difficult to determine if the campaigns are performing well and delivering the right amount of ROI. The information from marketing analytics can also help with content creation, marketing campaign planning, social media campaigns, etc. A business owner will find it extremely difficult to handle all the aspects of analytics, which can lead to the failure of the marketing campaign.

7. To Save You Time and Money

Small business owners have many responsibilities and not a lot of time to attend to them all. Marketing can be an additional burden they don’t need, which is why DIY marketing is never a good idea. While DIY marketing seems affordable, it can have a long-term negative impact on the business, cause the business owner a considerable amount of stress, and draw their attention from tasks that can’t be outsourced and need their attention.

While there are multiple avenues and sources providing information about digital marketing strategies, nothing can replace the training, skill, and experience professional marketers have. They also have connections with different entities in the marketing world that can make developing effective strategies easier. Professional marketers will achieve more with less money so even if the initial investment of hiring a professional marketer seems a bit expensive, it can help business owners save money in the long run. Marketing research can prove it.

The Simple Way To Market Any Business

You’ve no doubt heard about the K.I.S.S. principle – “Keep it simple, Stupid.” Or as I like to say… “keep it simple, silly.”

K.I.S.S. has been around the block a few times. In fact, it was a design principle noted by the US Navy in the 1960s.

The phrase was coined by aircraft engineer Kelly Johnson. It’s nice to note that Johnson was the lead engineer at the Lockheed Skunk Works (creators of the Lockheed U-2 and SR-71 spy planes).

Though the acronym has been used mostly by the US military, namely the U.S. Navy and United States Air Force, civilians, businesses and lots of other groups use it too.

Heck, I bet you’ve used it a few times yourself.

We all tend to over complicate things, including myself.

But I prefer simple any day and twice on Sunday. When tackling any problem, my number one rule is to start with the simple basics first (is the power on? Is the lamp is plugged into the electrical outlet?)

And you’d be amazed at how effective the simple way of doing things can be. After all, you can always complicate the hell out of things later, if you like.

You’ll be pleased to learn “simple” also works in marketing your biz too! Truth be told, simple has taken me a long, long way in the marketing of my business.

Let me explain…

The Three Pillars Of Good Marketing

OK. Let’s break this down into, you know, simple terms. You can easily and simply market any product or service if you examine the 3 pillars of marketing.

But before I go into details, I’ve got to give credit where credit is due. While, I’d love to think that I’m a marketing and advertising whizz, truth be told, I’m scratching the surface here.

What I have learned came from the true geniuses of the game. The guys who figured it out and have been in the marketing trenches for decades.

With that said, what you’re about to learn came from marketing top-gun Dan Kennedy. I recommend that you get your hands on any books, programs or live events he puts on. It’s nothing less than pure gold.

OK. On with the show. The pillars of good marketing are:

Message

Market

Media

Let’s talk briefly about each one.

Pillar 1. Message. This is the “what” you say to your prospects or clients. It’s the communication part of the equation of good marketing. If you get this wrong, then your efforts won’t necessarily fail but will suffer greatly in terms of results and sales.

Keep in mind, even if you have a great message and you shoot it to the wrong market, it’s going to land upon deaf ears. And you’re wasting marketing bullets… time, money and other resources.

Pillar 2. Market. The is the “who” you want to sell to. It’s the group of people most likely to be interested and willing buy your stuff. These are the prospects you are communicating with and who will receive your sales messages (sales letters, print ads, landing pages etc.)

So, your mission is to match your message to the correct market using the correct media.

As you know privacy is essentially dead these days. So, getting the names and addresses for nearly any target market is a fairly simple process.

Mailing lists comes in all shapes and sizes today. If you know what market you want to go after, you’re likely to find a list. It’s just a matter of contacting a list broker and describing who you’re looking for.

For example, If you are looking for people who are at least 7 feet tall, drive a BMW, live in South Carolina and subscribe to Psychology Today, you can get that list. It may not be a very large list, but nevertheless it still exists.

Pillar 3. Media. This the delivery system. It’s the vehicle that your message rides in. Think: magazines, newspapers, newsletters, social media such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and list goes on forever it seems.

The best way to select which media to use, starts with the market. Are you targeting folks over the age of 65? There’s a good chance they do not use social media as a primary medium.

Yes, they very well may have a Facebook account, but this is not their main means of communicating or staying in touch with others.

They do read the local paper and use their cell phone regularly. They probably listen to the radio and watch TV.

But the only way to truly know is to ask your clients and prospects.

How To Target Your Market

One popular way that business owners use to target their market is by geographic.

Using geographic marketing you choose your market based on a specific location, for example, businesses within a 10-mile radius. This is a very simple way to choose your targets but it’s like dropping flyers out of a plane and hoping one lands with the right person.

Yes, a bit of an exaggeration but with a few simple tweaks, you can make your geographic marketing more effective. And you can do this by using…

… Demographic targeting. Demographic targeting is selecting people by age, gender, how much money they have, whether they are conservative or liberal, or what religion they are, single or married and so on.

Next, you have psychographics. Psychographics deals customer behavior, attitudes, interests and lifestyles. It’s useful when segmenting your market. This can be very powerful (and effective). Plus, it allows you to customize your marketing messages based on whatever market segment you are going after.

Hey, you could combine all three. And many of the cloud based programs, such as Adobe Marketing Cloud, Salesforce, HubSpot, Marketing 360 and more do just that. You could also check some of the open source solutions.

Again, you don’t have to get all “techie” just be sure you have details such as their contact info, and carefully track how much they spend, what they buy and how often. Simple with Excel.

Of course, I could go way deep into this topic, but staying the “simple” approach, suffice to say keep good customer lists, learn what your prospects and clients want and become the “go-to” company that fills their needs.

So, the next time you start a new marketing campaign, consider the ideas presented here. If you are tired of dumping big bucks down the advertising toilet and you’d like more profitable results, then I encourage you to give me a shout. Do you have questions about this article or would like to see a subject covered? Again, just shoot me a line. I’m always happy to help.

Yours for higher response,

Emette E. Massey

Using the Marketing Mix to Maximize Customer Returns

The traditional marketing mix used by businesses comprised of 4 key elements thought to be vital to the success of any business. However, with the passage of time and the variations in the kind of products and services offered, there are 7 key elements today in the marketing mix that require constant evaluation to ensure the best possible results. These 7 P’s are:

  • Product
  • Price
  • Placement
  • Promotion
  • Physical Evidence
  • Process
  • People

Businesses use a unique combination of all these elements in an attempt to achieve the highest customer satisfaction levels.

In this article, we will discuss all the 7 elements in detail and will explain how businesses can make constant variations in their product mix to maximize their goals.

Product
What distinguishes your product or service from other products? While there are standard quality and service components to establish performance, the product or service needs to be somehow unique, some way better than its competitor. This “unique selling proposition” is mission-critical to the business’s success. Customer satisfaction with your product or service is of utmost importance. Though it’s important to offer a high quality or a more economical price, better availability or quicker delivery time, it is also essential to make sure that your product or service has something that is unique and that sets it apart from the competitors in the market.

Price
Consider if the target market sees the price of your product or service as affordable. If the target market is not willing or able to buy, there is no chance to build your business successfully. If the price of your products is higher than competition, it is imperative to convince the market the value of the price premium.

Placement
In order to capture the market, make your products and services accessible and easy to buy. If the customer can’t find you, they can’t buy from you. If you offer online sales, carefully consider the process customers must go through to buy online. A difficult purchasing process is a barrier to sales. Know where your target audience lives and shops in order to put your product in front where they can see and learn about it.

Promotion
Promoting your product through the right channels to ensure highest exposure is essential to the marketing process. A promotion on broadcast TV or radio is expensive compared to other channels; they will reach people who may have no interest or not be qualified to buy your products. The costly reach of broadcast media can waste valuable marketing dollars with little return. If the channel is online, use the internet – and search engine optimization – to your advantage. Find out the keyword search terms that will bring the most amount of traffic. Leverage the content and position of the websites that feature your product to its best advantage. If promotion is direct mail, give careful consideration to a targeted mailing list. Direct mail can be more focused and waste less resources, resulting in a more exacting approach to your target market.

Physical Evidence
Think about all aspects of your organization that your prospective customer encounters. From the cleanliness of the selling floor and lavatories in a brick and mortar location to the ease of website navigation, the visit should be a pleasant and hassle-free experience for the customer. Polite, courteous and well-trained staff should be a priority to convey an image of quality from the product to the people who help sell and re-sell the product. The primary and secondary packaging can elevate a simple useful product and make it more desirable. Everything that the customer comes in contact with comes under the physical evidence.

Process
A lead generation process happens from the time your marketing is seen or heard by the customer until they take advantage of your call to action. The sales process starts from that call to action until the product or service is successfully delivered and paid for. Is the process well-tested and reliable? Is the experience the same from the customer’s point of view each time they interact with your company? How efficient is the sales process? If the process can be delivered from lead to sales in the optimum amount of time, conserving resources and expense, it can be replicated over and over to build more sales revenue.

People
From the people who answer the phone, greet the customer, handle problems, process payments, follow up on the sale, and manage the team to the president of the company, all actions contribute to an image of quality and service. It’s common to hear companies say we have great customer service in today’s world, but how they deliver the great service is what holds great significance to the customer.

How Companies Use the Marketing Mix
The marketing mix experiences a lot of variations throughout a product’s lifecycle stage. For example, if we look at the category of health supplements, a lot of the brands started off as delivering nutritional supplements to men and women in the market. However, in the development stage of the product’s lifecycle, brands were focusing more on gaining exposure through lower introductory prices and different promotional packages. As the brands crossed the Introductory stage and moved on to growth stage, businesses started catering to more specialized categories such as Teens, Men, Women, and the above 50 and began developing more products for each category. These line extensions are typical of a business in the growth stage. When a company is in the mature phase of their lifecycle, it is common to re-launch their products with innovation to capture the surge of business experience in the development stage. In the category of health supplements, many brands identified the opportunity of attracting customers looking for exercise and athletic supplements for enhance performance. This new market segment opened the doors of a completely new marketing niche for businesses that focused on diversifying the market and on increasing the market for this new category.

Conclusion
Experienced marketing consultants such as 1st Straw Marketing ask a lot of questions to dive deep into the different aspects of business. Getting to know the perception of the market and the internal workings of the company selling products and services is essential to developing a strategic and tactical plan that can be successful. Depending on each stage of the product’s lifecycle and the influence of the market, business leaders and professional marketers are constantly evaluating their marketing mix and making changes to serve their target market better. Planning, review, evaluation and research goes into determining every element of the marketing mix and is vital to the overall success of a business.