Email Is Still King (and 4 Other Big Insights Into Effective Tech Marketing)

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Before I became an entrepreneur, I had a long career as an internal marketing leader. During this time, I began to follow closely some companies that stood out as thought leaders in B2B marketing. One of them is Gartner. So when I saw a recent Gartner review on how to drive better demand generation, I had to dive in.

The challenge with these reports is that they tend to be very business-oriented. In my work as a Small Business Marketing Consultant, I am much more interested in what these findings mean for small business leaders. With that in mind, here’s a look at what entrepreneurs can learn from this report.

1. Email is still king

Every year, you hear a lot of people predicting the death of email. Well, email marketing is still booming; in fact, it was the best performing channel in 2021. If you’ve shrunk your email or it just hasn’t been a priority for your business, now is the time to start investing.

2. But you need to think beyond the bursts of email and newsletters

Gartner notes that respondents mentioned the challenges “in aligning their email strategy with the right message.” That’s why you need to create more sophisticated nutrition campaigns (also known as “drip emails”) that are closely aligned with the issues and challenges your customers are experiencing, and how you solve them in a unique way.

Most of the time, small businesses only do basic email marketing, such as sending out a monthly newsletter and an occasional “blast” all over the list when they have something big to say. Today’s buyers expect more, and if you don’t provide it, one of your competitors will gladly do so and take your business.

Related: Why you are using drip emails incorrectly (and what to do)

3. It’s time to diversify your marketing mix

Your current marketing plan may focus on a small number of areas. Many small businesses I work with are doing some basic tactics, such as trade shows, emails, and social media; they may also have a blog where they occasionally post an article. It’s great to start somewhere, but the most successful companies are diversifying where they spend their time and money.

So how do you decide what to try next? A good guideline is to start by looking at what you are already doing and what works best. Then think about what marketing tactics you can use to complement them. For example, if you do a lot of trade shows, you could start doing more content marketing, so you can offer your e-book or white paper to people you know at the trade show. If social media works great, try another angle you’re not yet working on, such as creating video content or posting surveys for even more involvement.

Related: 5 High-Impact Marketing Tactics to Boost Your Software Company’s Sales

4. You probably don’t understand your customers well enough

Of the dozens of small businesses I’ve worked with, I can count on one hand with those who strive to understand their clients deeply. Without a deep understanding of the customer, it will turn the wheels of sales and marketing without results. Every customer has different needs and desires, and you can’t guess them. Take the time to step back and deliberately understand customers by creating buyers. What you learn from this process will dramatically increase the results you get from your marketing efforts.

5. Activating your entire funnel is more important than ever

When I start working with a new business, the most common thing I see is that their existing marketing efforts only focus on one part of the sales funnel. They may be posting on their blog and social media, which allows for the top of the conversion funnel, but neglect to create case studies and demonstrations that can improve the bottom of the funnel. Or maybe they are very good at creating sales material and fact sheets, but have a hard time creating useful educational content.

Doing only a small part of the funnel will greatly limit the results you see from your sales and marketing. If you prioritize the bottom of the conversion funnel and neglect the top, you don’t have many potential customers with whom you can share your fantastic brochures and datasheets. Conversely, if you really do well with the top of the funnel but the bottom is a bit forgotten, you will attract a good number of potential customers, but very few will become customers.

By using their buyers, business leaders need to begin to better understand their entire conversion funnel that their potential customers need to go through to buy them. Creating a content map is a great way to do this: Identify the content at the top, middle, and bottom of the conversion funnel you should have to enable your buyers. And then you can evaluate what assets you have and what you still need to create. Simply put, an incomplete conversion funnel will only result in incomplete results.

Learn the best ways to improve your small business marketing

One of the best ways to succeed in marketing your business is to understand what the big beaters are doing, simplify it, and apply it to your own business. These big names are marking a handful of key trends, and small businesses that follow will reap big profits. Turn on the gas with your email efforts. Diversify beyond the marketing you are already doing. Increase your customer’s understanding and use it to create a complete funnel conversion experience. If you can do that, you’ll be ahead of your competitors to win the new business you need to grow.

Related: 3 very easy ways to understand what your customer wants

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