If you’re not seeing the results you want from your marketing efforts, you’re not alone. In fact, according to Hubspot and CMO…
- Only about 22% of businesses are satisfied with their conversion rates.
- 61% of marketers say generating traffic and leads is their top challenge.
- 93% of CMOs say they are under more pressure to deliver measurable ROI.
- 51% of marketers say measuring content effectiveness is a challenge.
- Just 21% of companies consider themselves effective at measuring mobile ROI.
You may think improving conversion rates and generating more leads means you have to spend more money. I mean, it’s the big companies with huge marketing budgets that are winning at online marketing, right? Wrong. That’s not always the case. Good marketing isn’t always about having the biggest budget — it’s about working smarter with the budget you have. Here are just some of the ways you can increase marketing success without increasing your budget.
1. Have a strategic plan in place.
When people reach out to us for marketing insights, one of the first questions we ask is, “What’s your current marketing strategy?” A lot of times we hear responses like, “Uh… good question,” “We don’t really have one,” or “We’ve just been trying x, y, and z without much success.” Uh-oh.
You’ll hear us talk a lot about strategy and marketing plans here at E-Power. That’s because the best — and most successful — online marketing efforts start with a clear, concise, and documented plan. You’ll never get where you want to go if you don’t have clear directions for how to get there, right? If you really want to win at digital marketing, you have to have a plan.
Before you go any further with your online advertising campaign, posting content on your website, boosting social posts, or any other online marketing strategy, you need to take a step back.
- Who exactly are your customers?
- What motivates them to buy and what are their pain points?
- Where and how are they spending time/shopping online?
- Why should they even care about your products and what you have to say?
Your strategic plan starts there. Once you’ve started answering these questions, continue expanding upon them until you have a well-rounded, documented marketing plan. Some of the fundamental elements we recommend including in your digital marketing plan include:
- Buyer personas
- Your sweet spot (aka: what sets you apart from the competition)
- Buyer’s journey maps
- Brand tone & voice guidelines
At E-Power, we call it a Brand Consistency Plan. It’s based on research, trends, and data to give you a well-rounded picture of who exactly you’re talking to, how you should be communicating with them, and what truly connects them to your brand. It then serves as the guideline for all other marketing efforts moving forward.
Once those elements are in place, you’ll naturally start to see improvement in all areas of your digital marketing. It makes total sense when you think about it. It minimizes the guesswork, aligns messaging across platforms, and keeps everyone on the same page.
2. Revamp and redistribute existing content.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel all the time. In fact, taking full advantage of the content and resources you already have is a great way to boost your marketing success without having to stretch your already tight budget.
First, take a look at existing content and ads. How are they performing? Increasing traffic and leads may be as simple as updating the CTA or keywords, adding fresh data, fixing broken links, or trying a new image that better resonates with your target audience. You may also be able to use high-performing content pieces as a catalyst for additional content, such as creating a video or infographic based on a popular blog entry (or vice-versa).
Secondly, make your content work harder. Content is not a “one and done” thing that you post live and forget about. When appropriate, reshare content on your owned platforms. Don’t be afraid to distribute it to press, influencers, and thought leaders via social or email and ask for feedback, interviews, or shares as well. You never know what kind of partnerships and collaboration can arise from a simple message. Those connections can be an incredibly effective (and free) way to get your brand’s message to an entirely new audience. Be shameless when it comes to touting your brand’s message.
3. Piggyback on existing trends.
Trends are huge. You want to be sure you get ahead of them. If you don’t, your competitors will. By following online trends closely, you can really connect with your audience and position yourself ahead of others in your industry.
One of the things you’ll want to pay attention to is social media trends. Most platforms will show you top performing content and what’s currently being talked about. If it pertains to your audience and fits your brand’s tone and voice, take advantage of it. Your customers will love it and you’ll see increased engagement and following, which in turn leads to improved customer loyalty and brand awareness. Keep in mind that these social trends change quickly, which means you have to be able to adjust your social strategy on a dime.
Another thing to keep in mind is general search trends. Google Trends and Think With Google are two great free resources for keeping up with how people are searching and what they’re searching for. Google Trends allows you to see what has recently been trending, interest in topics and searches over time, searches in various geographic regions, and even related topics and search queries you may not have thought about. Think With Google offers marketing and search trends, consumer insights, and data that can help you dive even deeper into the minds of your target customers and how they buy. Once you dive in, you can get some great insights to help you stay relevant and improve future strategies.
While you don’t want to abandon tried and true methods every time a flashy new thing is trending, keeping up with the trends is important. Knowing the trends allows you to develop more thought-provoking and engaging content, fill gaps in your marketing strategy, and stay ahead of the curve.
4. Listen to your audience.
It’s easier than ever to listen to your customers — from social messaging to email to phone calls and more. Actually connecting, listening, and paying attention to your customers is one of the best things you can do to improve your online marketing efforts without additional costs.
What are they saying when they interact with your brand? If you’re consistently hearing the same questions and concerns, that may be something you want to address via your website and internal processes. If you’re getting positive feedback on a specific product or service, you may want to consider highlighting that across your marketing and advertising. Fewer roadblocks and complaints mean happy customers. Happy customers mean more sales and increased loyalty.
Listening goes beyond just people mentioning your brand or reaching out to you directly though. Using social listening and monitoring tools, you should keep an eye on what they’re saying about competitors or topics that are relevant to your brand. For example, if you’re a hotel, keeping tabs on what people are saying about the community or nearby attractions may be in your best interest. It can spark engagement, brand awareness, possible content and advertising ideas, and more.
By actually listening, you’ll get a better grasp on the topics that matter to your audience, be able to address their concerns, and improve how you communicate with them across every channel.
5. Connect with the experts that matter.
We briefly mentioned connecting with influencers and thought leaders above, but now we want to expand on that even further. You don’t know everything and your online reach is limited. That’s where relationship building comes in. Taking the time to connect with others in your industry and beyond can help take your brand and marketing strategies to new heights.
First, do your research and find potential influencers. Every industry has them. They have a built-in following and strong online presence already. Communicating with them regularly online (without necessarily promoting your product) is an easy way to kick start a relationship and start getting your brand name out to their followers. Once that foundation has been set, you can start talking business and potential partnerships. Many influencers will even promote their favorite brands without expecting anything in return.
Consider connecting with the local press and media outlets as well. Again, you don’t always need to be pushing for a story or hyping up your brand. However, those relationships and connections put you in a much better position. Once they know you, they’ll take your pitches more seriously and they’ll come to you when they need an expert for a story!
Lastly, every marketing department has its strengths and weaknesses. If you’re looking to strengthen your marketing efforts, be sure what you’re doing internally is playing to your own team’s skill sets and expertise. If not, readjust and let your employees do their thing. If you need some additional marketing help or insights, consider partnering with a digital marketing agency like us to fill the gap! We offer free marketing consultations where we’ll provide a fresh perspective on your marketing strategy. Interested? Go ahead and sign up!
6. Track everything.
This almost goes without saying — but we’re going to say it anyway. Marketing is an ever-changing game. You win some, you lose some. The important thing is that you’re tracking wins and losses so you can improve moving forward. Thankfully, tools like Google Analytics, Google Data Studio, and Facebook Insights are free — you’ve just got to know how to use them.
All the data and information you collect can be used to help you tweak your overall marketing strategy (yep, back to step #1 — that strategy is not a one-time thing) and determine which efforts paid off and which didn’t. Even some of those “vanity” metrics, like pageviews and follower counts, can be great indicators of whether or not you’re heading in the right direction. Take a look at the data on a consistent basis and make strategic changes accordingly.
By having solid data on hand and showcasing improvements, you’ll be able to push for that bigger marketing budget when the time comes. Good luck and happy marketing!