Every small business must have a functional and goal-oriented marketing strategy to survive the intense competition in the market today.
Of course, terms like marketing strategy may seem irrelevant to a small business owner who's struggling to take care of production, marketing, sales and administration activities single-handedly. But relying on ideas based on strategic marketing plans can help enhance the returns from your marketing efforts.
Here are the five best strategic marketing ideas of the past decade. If you want to stay ahead of your competition, try to incorporate them into your plans.
Know Your Competition
One popular modern strategic marketing idea is to focus on your customers' consumer habits. Take note of where else they shop or who else they order from, and what those businesses are doing to attract business. Are there potential customers who do not even consider the option of giving you business? Why are they so averse to even thinking about you? A more targeted marketing strategy will help you identify weaknesses in your promotional activities and selling strategies.
Get Everyone on the Same Page
Start treating your small business as a single organic unit. Remember that your customers don't distinguish between departments; a delayed delivery or bad sales experience affects the reputation of your business as a whole. To present a stronger team image and provide the best customer experience possible, make sure your production, sales, marketing and customer service teams are all on the same page, have the same priorities and are speaking with the same language. Every marketing plan should acknowledge that customers judge your small business as a whole.
Focus on the Entirety of the Customer Experience
Similarly, consider every aspect of the way your customers interact with you, from your outbound communications to the way you follow up after a sale. For example, using recycled paper for your print materials may enhance your business's environmentally friendly image among your customers. Hire employees who will represent your business well, even when they're not in the office. Make sure that when customers think of you, they think positively.
Know What's Working
It's difficult to calculate return on investment (ROI) when your advertising and promotional activities are limited to traditional solutions like banners and flyers. On the other hand, online marketing tools, social media and technological improvements make it easy to gauge what's working and what's not, and to do so in real time.
Based on your marketing spend and your sales, calculate the cost of reaching each customer. Monitor social media for immediate and accurate feedback from customers and stakeholders. And use social tools to determine the success or failure of your marketing strategy, and then make adjustments as necessary.
Don't be afraid to invest money now to get results later: Tablet computers can help your team track online metrics even on the move. A digital projector will facilitate group analysis of relevant marketing data and help you receive inputs from all your employees.
Stick with It
While it's alright to change course when something isn't working, your strategic marketing ideas will not work if your employees feel that your innovative ideas are mere fads, or if you make drastic changes too often. Alter your recruitment strategy and try to employ experienced and professional marketers who understand the importance of strategic marketing.
You will be doing a disservice to your business if you ignore these new marketing ideas. Do not expect results overnight. Strategic marketing, if implemented in a holistic manner, will yield fantastic and consistent returns over the long term.
There’s no doubt that Facebook participation can be an asset to any business. The question is, how can you use it to promote your products and company, yet be sure your team members are cautious in the way they use it?
What should the owner and office manager post? Where is the line between personal and professional? Knowing the good, the bad and the ugly of Facebook for business, your company can take full advantage of this tool and watch your business grow.
One benefit Facebook offers for business is it lets the customers and potential clients know your company on a personal level. Clients come to you for a relationship. They assume you know how to take care of their needs. Being accessible on social media sites helps your clients and customers feel connected to your company.
A Facebook page can also help bring people to your website. Customers will look for your presence on the Internet and a Facebook profile is just another way they can find you, leading them to your website to find out more information and possibly contact you.
Facebook can be a tremendous networking tool. Business pages on Facebook can elevate your website status through Search Engine Optimization. In addition, if you have a Facebook business page link on the opening page of your website, potential clients can feel that they know you and your office before coming in for their new customer experience. Several companies have gained new clients simply because of their Facebook page.
A recent study of companies with 1,000 employees found that 8 percent of their employees have actually been dismissed for their behavior on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. That’s double from the previous year.
Companies have also fired employees for sharing sensitive details about the business and their clients. In addition, team members have been sanctioned and fired for making unprofessional remarks about their boss via social networking sites.
Realize that even if you use Facebook privacy settings, you may still be in danger.
Remember going to high school and doing things you thought your parents would never know about and yet somehow they always found out? The same is true of social media. Avoid bad-mouthing your boss, co-worker or anyone in your professional life in such a public way on a public forum.
Every business should have specific guidelines that apply to social media use. There are two factors at work here: Employers need to be closely monitoring social media sites, and employees need to use common sense when posting about work life. Employees need to be careful about sharing sensitive information as well as making foolish remarks about their employer.
The owner needs to set the vision and goals for the office regarding social media with the help of the team with the development of a mission-driven ethical use policy.
Following are some basic guidelines for using social media in business. The guidelines listed below must apply to every member of the team, including the owner.
• Never post anything that directly or indirectly insults customers, clients or the business itself.
• When posting on personal and social media sites, be nice and keep it clean. Develop verbal cue cards on “what to say and not to say” on social media. Have clearly developed expectations that apply to all team members.
• Consider leveraging your office’s Facebook profile to start positive conversations about your employees and your services. You can do this by regularly posting testimonials from current or past clients.
• With your customers’ permission, involve them in your efforts. You can do this by connecting with them and posting information about their business.
• If you have a personal page and a business page, consider your policy regarding clients who want to become your personal friend. One business owner lost a family of customers who requested to be his personal friend and he said “no.”
• Create a page in your office policy manual regarding Facebook and social media posting so each employee understands what to do and what not to do.
• Designate one or more specific employees to be responsible for posting on and updating your sites. Business page content will need to be updated frequently and consistently to ensure the Wall tab stays fresh. Carve out 1-2 hours/week for this responsibility dedicated to marketing on the web.
With a clearly established policy and understanding of the good, bad and the ugly, Facebook and social media can be a great asset to your business. By enforcing social media policies and following these guidelines, you’ll see great results from your efforts.
If you surf Facebook on a daily basis or occasionally, chances are you’re already familiar with regular stuff like add/delete friends, update statuses, walls and profile, add and explore pages & applications, etc, but there’s more..
This week we want to cover some interesting things you can do on (or with) Facebook; inclusive of tricks that are not documented or unknown to many, as well as tips to stay connected better with your friends. Without further ado, here’s 20 Facebook Tips/Tricks You Might Not Know. If you have interesting tips/tricks related to Facebook, please feel free to share in the comment box below.
Click on Friends tab. Proceed to More tab. From "Choose an option" dropdown, choose any of the dashes "—" . Your Facebook friends collage is right on your computer screen.
How To Know When Facebook Friends Secretly Delete Or Block You
This service has been discontinued.X-Friends is a unique tool for tracking friends that disappear from Facebook.
How To Display Selected Pictures Only On Your Facebook Profile Page
A little-known feature in Facebook that lets you decide who shows up in that Friends box. Click that "edit" pencil in your Friends box and type the names of your best friends in the box that says "Always show these friends"
How To Remove Facebook Advertisements
This Greasemonkey script – Facebook: Cleaner removes many of the annoying ads and updates that unavoidably appear on your Facebook pages.
How To Syncs Photos Of Facebook Friends With Contacts In Microsoft Outlook
OutSync is a free Windows application that syncs photos of your Facebook friends with matching contacts in Microsoft Outlook. It allows you to select which contacts are updated. So you can update all contacts at once or just a few at a time.
In July, a Soyuz rocket blasted off from French Guiana carrying what could be a legendary payload in the race for total global internet connectivity: four satellites designed to beam fibre internet down to Earth, releasing 'emerging markets' from the shackles of a no or slow-internet world.
The satellites are manufactured by a Jersey-based, Google-backed company called O3b, which stands for the 'Other Three Billion'. According to O3b, its aim is to connect the other three billion, the amount of people that have yet to experience the benefits of Internet access, to the web.
This initiative goes hand in hand with Google's Loon project, using giant, helium filled balloons to drift across emerging markets and distribute connectivity to those who need it.
But Facebook and founder Mark Zuckerberg also have plans to emancipate the the rest of the unconnected world. Zuckerberg's initiative is called Internet.org, and aims to connect the remaining 5 billion, with drones being part of the strategy.
So exactly how many people in the world are left unconnected?
Let's first take the figures from Internet World Stats. The latest figures it has are from Q2 2012, so a little out of date. It puts the total world population at 7,017,846,022, with only 2,405,518,376 of those using the Internet.
That leaves 4,612,327,646 human inhabitants left unconnected. Slap bang in the middle of O3b's 3 billion and Zucerkberg's 5 billion.
Interestingly, just over 1 billion of those Internet users reside in Asia. 518,512,109 come from Europe and 272,785,413 come from North America.
Flick to the International Telecommunciations Union though, and it forecasts a 2013 estimate of 61% of the world's 7.1 billion strong population not connected to the web.
That's 4,331,000,000 unconnected citizens of planet earth.
These numbers are tricky for the human brain to quantify, but it's clear that around 60% of the world's population is as of yet an untapped monetary resource for service providers and data haulers. There's a long way to go yet before figures like Zuckerberg or firms like Google will see the financial benefits of establishing connections in emerging markets but gosh are they trying.