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Guy Kawasaki once said: 'If you have more money than brains, you should focus on outbound marketing. If you have more brains than money, you should focus on inbound marketing'.
We’d like to think that no matter what you have, money or brains or both, inbound marketing is the only kind of marketing that works today. Inbound marketing, by the way, has a lot to do with digital marketing.
If you are a digital marketer, you are probably forgetting a few marketing principles. Here are some of them...
If you aren’t doing anything remarkable, don’t show up
Seth Godin wrote an entire book called Purple Cow on “being remarkable”. His point was simple: unless you aren’t doing something remarkable such as launching a product that solves a problem well or a service that serves a compelling need, in a way that’s never been done before, you aren’t getting traction at all.
Seth Godin’s little book pushes you away from “Mediocreville”.
Now, it’s not just the products and the services that can be remarkable; it could be about how you market your business, how you publish content, how you relate to your customers, how you serve customers, and even how you do business in general.
Create exciting copy even for boring products, as Sean D’Souza at CopyBlogger explains. Marc Bastow of Market Intelligence Center curated five examples of five companies with boring products but exciting returns. Further, Brent Csutoras at Search Engine Land helpfully points out some really boring products that rocked social media.
How remarkable are you?
It never was, never is, and never will be about you
Marcus Taylor once wrote on Six principles for great content marketing here on Econsultancy blog and with the success of his post 30 pieces of advice from 30 Music Industry Entrepreneurs, he drives a singular point home: digital marketing success is never about you; it’s almost always collaborative in nature.
Danny Iny runs and maintains the Firepole Marketing blog and wrote Engagement From Scratch, which immediately gained traction and catapulted him to fame as the Freddy Krueger of Blogging. His book was a collaborative effort from many known marketers and business owners such as Anita Campbell, Brian Clark, Guy Kawasaki, and many more.
As marketers, we tend to develop love affairs with our own products, services, and our opinions. While all of that has its place in marketing, linking to others, collaborating with experts, and doing more for others while not expecting anything in return is a timeless principle that most marketers forget.
Stop the media hustle. Stop serenading the web with self-centered content. Collaborate instead.
Get the big rocks in first
Stephen Covey once picked a jar at a seminar and puts big rocks to fill that jar up. He then asks the delegates, “Do you think you can put more stuff into this?”
The delegates wouldn’t think so. He drops gravel into the jar, which settles amidst the big rocks. He further pours sand into it and then some water – all of which fits into the jar.
He then asks the delegates:”What did you learn from this?”
The delegates respond by saying, “You could do more in a day”.
Mr. Covey says, “No. The lesson is that you’ve to put your big rocks in first”
Applying that to sales and marketing, the lesson is that we have to get the clients first. Get clients, customers, and the incoming cash flow before you head out to do “more” marketing, take to “paid advertising methods”, and spend cash on needless things in business.
Listen before you communicate
Customers “tune out” if all you had to do was to speak, publish, write, send emails, and serenade them with more content. This doesn’t mean that you don’t use content marketing.
To “Listen” online is to sleep over your content before publishing it. Listening online would require you to eavesdrop into online conversations, create content in response to these conversations, develop content based on inputs received through your social media platforms, phone, email, or in person.
Digital marketers have a tendency to “rush to publish”. Instead, hold your horses. Release content as if it’s a response to your customers’ collective question. Comment, respond, ask, and interact to show that you care. Customers don’t need more content; all that they need is answers to their questions and solutions to their problems.
Marketing happens during the wait for customers to buy
Customers have their own factors that lead to the “buy decision”. It’s a complicated process leading to the decision though.
According to Paco Underhill in his book Why We Buy:
The Science of shopping is a hybrid discipline. It’s part physical science, part social science, and only part science at all, for it is also an art.
Too many elements go into that single decision. With all those elements to click into place, customers will take time while working on each of those individual elements.
Meanwhile, what should businesses and marketers do? Publish content, engage with customers, lead them using collective expertise, influence them with the right information, build their trust, earn their confidence, and develop a relationship for life. That’s what.
For marketers, here’s a crucial point to note: the buying didn’t happen because of your marketing campaigns; it happened because all those “buy decision” trigger elements for that customer clicked together at a point in time while your campaigns influence, persuade, convince, and reassure customers of their buy.
Testing keeps you alive
Before and after you make a website, and for the rest of your life, your success depends on how you market your business. Too many marketers ignore testing.
When you test your offers, products, services, the voice you use to sell, the copy you deploy, price points, and even gory details such as website navigation, checkout process, interactive points on the website, content, email signups, email subject lines, email copy, images, graphics, and every other element of your business online.
Testing – whether you use split testing, A/B testing, incremental testing – will determine where you stand and how well you are performing. While you can’t control a customer’s final buying decision, you can influence it (and that’s what marketing is all about).
You cannot influence customers if you don’t know what needs to be changed. Marketing is an iterative endeavor. There’s no iteration without change points all along the way.
Leave no stone unturned
For digital marketers, there are no favorites; there’s no one single online marketing method that can do everything for you.
Email marketing caters to your subscribers only, so what about the rest of the world that didn’t sign up yet?
Pay Per Click and SEO bring in customers who’ve used search engines to find you, but what happens to customers who lounge on social media platforms all day?
If you just focus on social media, there’s a whole demographic that’s active on other areas of the web.
Videos go on sites like YouTube and Vimeo but there are scores of people who’d prefer to listen to podcasts while driving or while waiting.
Some people like to watch, others like to read and/or listen.
That leaves the task cut out for marketers: spray at every inch on the wall. Leave no gaps. Cover all sides. Go for everything. Customers are all over the web.
How far reaching is your marketing though?