In the digital world, there are an ever-growing number of marketing tactics. It’s not possible – or necessary – for every business to use all of them. That’s why it’s important for businesses to focus on what’s the best fit for them.
We live in a world where “more” is practically a lifestyle. Digital life, transmitted into the palms of our hands, feels like admission to an infinite buffet. With so many options right in front of us, why not reach for it all?
This feeling is expressed in the idea of FOMO (fear of missing out) that underlies a lot of online behavior. Social media lets us see the wonders of the world as they transpire each day. We judge our lives against shiny Instagram images and Facebook highlights. The more we witness, the more we fear the every day – and unavoidably mundane – is selling us short.
We see the FOMO attitude come out with business marketing more than you’d expect. Business owners in a wide-eyed fervor come to us thinking every marketing channel they’ve ever heard of will help their business boom. They’re wowed by the potential and don’t want to miss a thing.
But the truth is that almost no business needs to market on every possible channel. Quite the opposite, in fact. The best strategy is to identify the marketing tactics your business lends itself to.
How Do I Know What Marketing Tactics My Business Lends Itself To?
We are using the expression “lend itself” deliberately here. In this case, we’re looking for a connection between the value your business offers and where that message can most suitably connect with the right audience.
What marketing channels and tactics will your business naturally adapt to? Where does your message fit?
The answer to these questions is not everywhere.
As part of your marketing strategy, you need to look at your offer, your audience, and the range of marketing channels and tactics. Use data and informed assumption to decide which tactics to focus on.
Here are some tips and ideas on the main channels to get you started.
Paid Search Marketing
The most notable channel here is Google Adwords, along with Bing Ads. The most used tactic is pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.
As a digital marketing tactic, PPC is the most closely related to direct-response advertising. This tends to be most effective for bottom of the funnel lead generation and sales where the consumer is ready to engage in a transaction.
Local services doing lead-generation do well with PPC (i.e., plumbers, dentists, contractors). So do professional services where consumers are searching for business solutions (marketing, IT services, consultants).
In addition, product feeds on platforms like Google Shopping are based on the PPC model. E-commerce businesses will use this channel.
Almost any business can experiment with PPC, but it lends itself best to transactional searches.
Organic Search (SEO)
In the past few years, organic search has come to lend itself largely to informational marketing.
Tactically, businesses that deal with top of funnel prospects that have information gaps do well with SEO. For example, Marcus Sheridan of River Pools and Spas all but cornered the market on inground pools by creating content that helped consumers decide what type of pool was best for them.
Videos and blog articles are prime content for SEO. When you can provide useful information to leads that fits naturally into their buying process, this is a valuable sales channel.
It is difficult for a business that does not lend itself well to informational marketing to force this tactic just because they want to get free clicks on search. Genuine, useful, transparent content that’s non-promotional is what will get ranked; this is hard to fake.
Local SEO is a tactic which doesn’t require as much informational content. All local businesses need to set-up their Google My Business page and optimize their websites for location-based searches in their area. They need to make sure all their services and contact information is accurate across all their web materials and all local directories.
These local searches also tend to be transactional, so they can be connected to content with calls to action to make a purchase, request a quote, or physically visit the business.
Social Media Marketing
Of all the marketing channels, social media is the one that creates the most confusion. Many businesses simply can’t determine if social media in general or even a specific platform lends itself to their business marketing.
It’s not an easy thing to determine. Social media offers a range of options, from content that is barely even branded to direct response advertising. Also, since this is still a relatively new marketing channel, there’s a lot of experimentation happening.
But there are several things will help you get a sense of whether or not a social media platform lends itself to your business.
First, consider your demographics. Here is recent data from Pew Research:
For example, if your target audience is over 50 and you’re thinking you’d like to build your brand on Twitter, you’re likely missing the mark.
But even more important than this is determining whether or not your business message “translates” in the native language of the platform.
Social media is a particularly poor channel to try to force advertisements. People are, literally, on these platforms to socialize. In fact, Facebook realized that branded content was becoming too prevalent, so in 2018 they’ve changed their algorithm so that personal content ranks higher in people’s feeds.
But certain businesses lend themselves extremely well to social media. Products that are visual and are natural for people to share can do extremely well on social media. Fashion, crafts, food/cooking, home decor, music, and art all lend themselves to social media marketing. Products for moms do very well on social media because the people using those products love to share what’s going on with their kids.
On the other hand, a plumber, lawyer, or IT support service will find that their content doesn’t lend itself as well to the conversations taking place on social, with the exception of LinkedIn. There are ways to get valuable brand exposure, but the local plumber who drops PPC ads and starts posting on Facebook as a lead-generation tactic is going to be in trouble.
Almost all businesses benefit from having a presence on social media. A Facebook business page is all but mandatory. However, it’s useful to think of most social media as a conversation among friends. If your product lends itself naturally to that conversation, you can do well with social. If you come across like a salesperson interrupting everyone’s good time with your pitch, you may do your brand more harm than good.
Two terms we use in marketing a lot are practical risk and explicit assumption.
When you decide to try a new marketing tactic, you have to test it. This involves a certain amount of risk. You never know for certain how something will work until you try it.
Our point here is to make sure your risks are practical. Don’t go haphazardly into a marketing tactic just because it’s the trendy, new thing. Look at how you can communicate to your target audience through that channel – or recognize how you can’t.
Realize that you’re making assumptions – be explicit about that point. You’ll run campaigns and gather data, and from that build a foundation of facts.
When you have the facts that a marketing channel is a hit for you, focus more of your resources on it. Some businesses find that just one or two channels deliver most of the revenue, while others find long-term value in using multiple channels.
When you make assumptions, keep in mind that one of the main criteria for how a business lends itself to a marketing tactic has to do with brand-level advertising.
If your business needs to create brand lift and recognition, then you’ll want to spread your tactics out to gain more exposure. If your goals center around converting a specific action, you’ll want to focus on tactics that connect with people when they’re ready to act.
Unless you have a lot of experience with marketing, you may have trouble discerning which tactics to start with. That’s why it’s valuable to use a service like Marketing 360® where you can work with a Marketing Executive who can look at your industry and goals, then get you started with tactics that have the best chance of delivering.