Terry Corbell, The Biz Coach
By Terry Corbell
Business Consultant

Marketing Warfare to Hit Your Target Audience


Including word-of-mouth promotion and 10 strategies to boost your online presence.



Successful marketing is like air warfare. You have to control the skies with advertising and public relations to soften the target before the sales infantry goes into action.

There are many ways to accomplish successful marketing. But that means hitting your targets by cutting through the clutter to overcome consumer overload, and that’s why marketing has become more difficult.

Virtually all businesses have been searching for better ways to cut through the clutter of competition.

ID-100178747Change is problematic for their marketers, too.

You have to be able to adjust to competition and dynamic changes in the marketplace by repositioning your company.

Timing

You have to have a good sense of timing in knowing when to make changes and allow enough time to for the process to work.

But you also need to connect to the past by maintaining your company’s legacy in your customers’ memory banks.

For years, we’ve heard about various types of marketing research from segmentation to positioning.

Our marketing vernacular has also included demand estimation, distribution channels, price elasticity, and tools for interactive technologies. Not to mention advertising and promotion.

Advertising reminds customers about the benefits of your products, enhances your image, and builds sales. Companies have been searching for something new because the old ways of advertising and promotion need to be complemented with new tools in generating new customers.

Word-of-mouth

So what’s the newest trend in marketing? To complement your TV and Internet promotion, it’s going back to the basics – word-of-mouth marketing. That’s the umbrella term for an infinite number of techniques to make sales.

Basically, you need to establish a dialogue. So listen to customers and give them their due consideration, respect and recognition.

With the ever-increasing consumer overload, there’s more fragmentation. Messages are seen and heard everywhere. Focused, key emotional verbiage, frequency and reach of messages are more important than ever for dominance.

Fewer people were going to the movies, but despite the Great Recession attendance picked up. Many movie attendees go to boost their spirits, but have little discretionary income.  Otherwise, however, whether it’s a movie or a pizza, consumers are getting what they want, when they want, where they want, and how they want. And they tell their friends all about it.

Keller Fay Group, a word-of-mouth research and consulting firm, reported the average person will talk about products or famous personalities 56 times a week.

Most powerful tool

The most powerful tool is still face-to-face messages. So give your prospectives enough salient incentives to get face-to-face with them.

And give consumers reasons to talk about you in the lunch room. After all, they spend more time at work than surfing online. But the Internet is helping to get people to communicate, especially the elusive 18-to-34-year-olds.

Such Generation Y customers aren’t flush with cash but they’re being targeted by businesses to lay a foundation for short and long-term growth. They’re mobile and want fast, free services. They also heavily use the Internet.

So, blogging becomes important. But it’s more than just writing a blog or two.

To maximize your Internet potential, you need to recruit bloggers and centers of influence – people who can send business your way. So identify them and give such influential people special offers and super customer service.

Consider cold calling by e-mail and telephone. Encourage customers to tell their friends and family members and to blog online. Participate in the blogs and track results of the conversations.

Dialogue

Once you establish a conversation with customers you can co-create a buying decision with them. Along the way, your selling process will be made easier if you create a happy buying environment by encouraging customers to try-and-buy.

But that’s not really a new concept. Why else do food companies give away products at Costco or why do car dealers love to give you a test drive?

Online tutorials also result in consumers buying products. That’s another marketing trend that illustrates consumers want to try out products and not be an object of a sales pitch.

Caution: Despite all the hype about the Internet and social networking, remember the news media is still considered to be the most authoritative. So use authoritative radio station or TV station programming as a tool to achieve dominance in marketing.

And stay current on your techniques. Read and study. Remember every so-called expert blogger speaks with finality as though they have the right information. But, often, that’s not the case. Be careful to whom you listen.

Online targeting

To boost online exposure, here are 10 tips:

  1. Determine why your prospective customers should buy from you instead of your competitors. Make sure your page description for the search engines tells your story in 10 words or less.
  2. Develop a branding slogan in three to five words that connects with the emotions of your prospects and the results they’re seeking in buying your products or services. There’s a link between a simple logo and branding success.
  3. Send lots of news releases to the media, especially the operations with good Web sites. It helps if you tie your marketing to a worthy cause. And, radio stations are always looking to trade publicity for products in giveaways. You need PR, but the budget is tight? Try leveraging the news media.
  4. There are free search-engine press release firms if budget is a concern.
  5. Study your competitors’ Web sites for hints of how to improve yours.
  6. Although they’re not as important as in recent years, insert so-called Meta tags, which are encoded in your Web pages but are invisible to users. These are read by search engines and can help put your site toward the top of the search results.
  7. Insert videos on your Web site.
  8. In B2B, begin an online social marketing strategy with LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter and insert informative and/or enjoyable videos on YouTube.
  9. Start a blog and make sure your site has Web site enhancement tools for blogging. That includes RSS feeds and social networking, such as Twitter or LinkedIn. Blogging is time-consuming but worth it, if you develop a No.1 rated blog.
  10. Make your Web site is easily accessible to cell phones and other mobile devices.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are additional Internet-marketing strategies:

The 8 Best Practices to Win in Small Business Marketing — True, the constant drumbeat of bad economic news can be disconcerting. For many small businesspeople, the news can be so unnerving it leads to fear. But fear can be healthy if used as a motivator to act. And act you should.

 5 Factors to Get Peak Google Results for Your Web SiteWhat do top Web sites have in common? Successful sites produce a high number of Facebook and Twitter messages, but the sites minimize the volume of ads on its pages according to an authoritative study

Web Site ‘Priming’ – 6 Tips That Will Help You SucceedIf you want to increase your odds for Internet success, you might consider priming your Web site. Priming is a method to motivate users to make decisions when they visit your site.

Why it’s Never Too Early to Plan for Q4 E-commerce — Shoppers are buying more items daily in the holiday shopping season, but the size of the typical order soon decreases significantly.

“No matter how far down the wrong path you’ve gone, turn around.”

-Eben Pagan


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Image courtesy by Stuart Miles at www.freedigitalphotos.net

Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.