Posted: Tue 13th Nov 2012
Innovation and business growth go together like bangers and mash, which is what has led thousands of small businesses to try new things with their marketing, writes Tamsin (left). This is great, but one thing I often see from these businesses, is that they sign up to everything new that pops up - from social media to email marketing - without necessarily understanding why. One customer we worked with, for example, had an enewsletter, two blogs, one LinkedIn Group, a Facebook Page, a Twitter account, and a Google+ (G+) page.
Problem? Each of those channels had a low number of subscribers, followers or fans, and none of them had any engagement, because the people running it were spread too thinly. We all know trying to do everything, everywhere, and all at once is just impossible. Maintaining all the channels was also time consuming and delivered little return on investment. What all this shows is that it's not enough to just send out emails or be present on social media. What you really want are engaged customers""fans who listen to you, talk to you, and willÂ recommend your businessÂ to their friends, family, and networks. Realising and developing this strategy is the first step in creating an engagement marketing cycle thatÂ will lead to new customers and sales for your business. Creating one is easier than you think. Â I've mapped out three simple steps below so you can get started on devising your own:
You don't need to be on every social media site to start with. Your customers are likely to use one above the rest. The best way to find out which they prefer is to ask them. There are a number of ways to do this quickly and easily: you can use an online survey tool to send a survey via email, include a link on your website to your survey or add the URL to your email signature, on invoices and receipts. You only need to ask a few, quick questions, such as which social media platforms they use, or if they'd prefer an enewsletter. You can motivate people to respond by offering an incentive like a discount code. And don't worry, 40-50 responses should give you the information you need.Â
Ok, so now you know your customers use Facebook but not LinkedIn, or your business caters to mums who love Pinterest but might also want a monthly enewsletter. So what's next? First up, you need to determine what you want your engagement marketing strategy to achieve. This can be anything from increasing online word-of-mouth and sales, to boosting social media reviews or getting people back in store. I recommend setting a baseline and some goals now so that you can measure your progress. For example, if you currently have an enewsletter with 350 subscribers and zero engagement, set a target to engage these subscribers so that they begin to share your business news by forwarding your email to a friend, or posting a link to your newsletter via their social networks.Â
Based on your customer feedback, you can now start to refine and implement your strategy.Â For the sake of time, I recommend working platform-by-platform, starting with the most relevant first and identifying someone who will run the campaign. If you've identified that it's Pinterest your customers love, direct your focus there. Then you need to measure your success. To do this, track the number of likes, comments and followers you get. Â Once you've achieved your Pinterest goals, you can think about adding Facebook into the mix, if this is your customers' second favourite spot.
Each of these steps should take a week. But if you need a helping hand before you get going, Constant Contact will be sharing their top tips at free seminars and a webinar during Global Entrepreneurship Week (12-18 November), starting this evening (13th November). Entitled Ready, set GROW: the secrets about email and Facebook marketing you wish you knew, their events will give you actionable advice on how to take your marketing to a different level. Photo credit: Webtreats