Marketing Tips & Ideas
Some marketing ideas you may find helpful
How Much Should My Business be Spending on Marketing?
No matter what industry you’re in, marketing is essential if you want to boost brand awareness, increase your market share and drive your business forward. Whether you choose to advertise on TV, in print or online, spreading the word about your company, your products and your services is crucial.
One of the most important parts of any marketing campaign is deciding on a budget. Ideally, you want to spend as little as possible for as much as possible. Though spending big can bring you impressive returns, expensive campaigns can also cost you dearly if they’re not managed properly.
Managing Your Marketing Activity and Spend
Marketing is the lifeblood of your business.
Before you even spend anything on marketing however, ask yourself:
- What do I want to achieve?
- Who do I want to talk to?
- What do I want to say?
- What medium might be the best format for conveying my message?
- What is my budget?
What is the average marketing spend?
The average company spends around 10% of their revenue on marketing. Though 10% is the average amount spent, budgets can range from as little as 5% to as much as 15% of company revenue.
A few years ago around 25% of the average marketing budget was spent on digital marketing / advertising. Thanks to the popularity of smartphones, tablets and computers, businesses now spend around 50% of their marketing cash online.
Marketing as a percentage of revenue
One of the easiest ways to create a marketing budget is to look at your revenue and calculate a percentage based on that revenue. Most small and medium sized businesses spend around 7-8% of their income on marketing, though start-ups and micro companies often spend as little as 2-3%.
Some businesses calculate their marketing budget as a percentage of sales. The advantage of this is that budgets will automatically decline during slow periods.
It’s what you do with it that counts
Though it’s a good idea to create a marketing budget, you also need to ensure you have a comprehensive and well-researched marketing strategy if you want to ensure your money is well spent. Sometimes, it’s the most affordable online campaigns that can have the biggest impact. In these cases, a good understanding of the target audience and a clever idea can do a lot more than a big budget and a poorly developed plan.
Understanding, and being able to use, modern marketing techniques is also a huge advantage in today’s competitive market, with relatively low cost techniques like online marketing can bring big results.
Build your profile and publish information and images about your business on social media channels, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and not forgetting YouTube - a how to instructional video can acquire a lot of hits. If you are stuck on how to start in these areas, look at what your competitors are doing, who are they targetting and how.
Using the internet to advertise and market your business can quickly get your business in and amongst the large players, but beware although advertising on search engines can be quick and easy to set up, it can be costly if you haven't considered how to ensure a high conversion rate. So your on line presence needs to be able to convince and quickly funnel a new visitor to a sale or enquiry.
Using Digital Marketing To Reach A Wider Audience
The great thing about the Internet is that it puts both small, newer businesses and large multinationals on a more equal footing.Whereas before a start-up would have to begin by serving local clients and only expand regionally or overseas when they were able to physically increase their presence, today they can reach a global audience immediately by establishing a web presence.But this doesn’t mean it’s easy: you can’t get the attention of potential clients online unless you understand how digital works.
Here are just some of the things you can do to build a really effective strategy:
Establish Your Website: Obviously, you can’t reach a wider online audience if you don’t have an online base. Your website is your calling card – it’s part of what you will build your reputation on – so you need to take your time getting it just right. It should be as simple as possible: don’t clutter it up with unnecessary graphics or pop-ups as this will just put visitors off. But above all, ensure it functions well and is easy to use – particularly when it comes to online check-outs if you sell your products directly from your website.
SEO Strategy: Search engine optimisation is essential if you want your website to achieve maximum visibility. Part of this is understand which keywords are most relevant to your business and using them in your web content, blogs and so on. But SEO is far more complex than this nowadays and methods change very frequently. If you really want to get on top of this it might be best to hire a digital marketing expert, at least initially, to help you get started.
International Appeal: If you really want to reach a wider audience then clearly it stands to reason that you must ensure that your website is internationally friendly. To do this, think about creating multiple version of the site in different languages to really enhance your visibility. Not only will this help to boost your global customer base, it will also help to establish your reputation as a customer-friendly business. In order to expand your outreach even further you should also ensure your site is optimised for mobile devices so people can browse it on-the-go wherever they are in the world.
Use Social Media: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are free tools so you really should be using them as much as you can to draw attention to your business online. Social media is rapidly expanding beyond developed countries so if you’re hoping to break into markets such as India or Brazil this is a powerful tool in your arsenal. Remember that the companies which have been most successful on social media are those that focus on providing engaging content and encourage interaction. You should never use them simply to push your products: if you do, your followers will soon desert you and your brand credibility may suffer.
What Helps Certain Content Go Viral?
Here is a question – have you published anything at all on the Internet that has gone viral?
As people who have will be able to tell you, there is nothing like watching what appears to be a great influx of exposure and traffic grow, continue to grow and basically blast into the stratosphere. It is a quite overwhelming feeling. Not only because of the business benefits, but also because you have created something that has become a real sensation.
Which is all great, aside from the fact that in fact getting online content go viral in the first place tends to be a bit like hunting for the holy grail. We are aware that some content goes viral, we have come across viral content many times and every website and business would like to nail the secret recipe.
So with heavy research having been carried out regarding the phenomenon, why is it still that some content can go viral and the rest simply takes a back seat?
The answer is…well, it is impossible to answer simply due to one unavoidable fact. That being, what can make online content go viral among one specific audience is completely different for the next audience. Which is basically why there is no silver bullet to creating viral content – it can exist in endless forms.
Two Crucial Questions
Still, what we have managed to learn over the years is that there basically are two crucial questions you will need to ask yourself, in order to be able to improve your chance of creating content that goes viral.
1. Are people going to share this?
2. Is this really a piece of outstanding content?
The simple fact of the matter is that if you cannot answer both of these questions positively and confidently, you have zero chance of going viral. It is just not going to happen. When it’s boiled down to its core, viral content is a very simple concept. You come across something interesting and new, it manages to create an emotional response and in doing so makes you want to share it.
So there are only two real components here – value and uniqueness. The only issue being that hitting the proverbial nail on the head with both simultaneously is not exactly a walk in the park. If that were the case, we would all be doing it on a daily basis.
There is also something of a paradox in terms of focusing intently on producing viral content. Firstly, it’s basically impossible to force online viral content or try to pull it out of thin air. Usually, it needs to be something that is produced naturally – trying too had is often counterproductive. Secondly, investing in the creation of viral content too heavily is not always advisable. The reason is that as it’s difficult to pull it off, you should prepare yourself for considerably more failures than successes.
Plus if you are indeed as good as you think, it should not be necessary to force anything anyway. After all, it is just a case of being unique and of some value to your target audience.
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