This is a guest post from Felicia Baratz.
In any consumer-driven business, effective marketing is essential. However, with so many companies competing for your customers’ attention, it can be difficult to make yourself heard. Overtly promotional copy and long, convoluted press releases simply won’t cut it. If your customers aren’t immediately interested, they will move on without a second thought. Because of this, it’s imperative that you figure out how to engage your customers from the first word. For most companies, this will require some research.
Understanding the Consumer
Before you can figure out which marketing practices will work best with your customers, you need to know who your customers are. Conduct some research to find out the average age of your consumers, their annual income and their usual gender. For instance, you may discover that your target market is middle-class women in their 40s.
After you have identified your target market, you can use data about that market to choose the best marketing practices. For example, if your target consumers are in their 20s and 30s, chances are good they’ll respond well to social media marketing. However, older consumers weren’t raised with social media and may respond better to email marketing or other forms of advertising.
Understanding the Market
Researching your competitors is one of the best ways to learn which marketing strategies work best in your industry. Which of your competitors are performing the best? Which of their products make the most sales? Finally, how are the top performers presenting their products to consumers? The answers to these questions will help you identify which marketing methods will be most effective for your purposes. When combined with information about your usual consumers, you can create marketing copy that’s both tailored to your target consumer and optimized for maximum results.
Evaluating your Efforts
Even after you have researched your market and your competitors, your marketing strategies will not be perfect. In fact, there will always be room for improvement. To ensure that your marketing methods evolve as often as your customers do, you must continually monitor your marketing efforts for effectiveness. Below are some suggestions for collecting data.
- Talk to customers. By conducting surveys and engaging in email marketing, you can make frequent contact with your consumer base and gauge their level of interest in different products, services and informational topics. Using this information, you can improve the content on your website, your marketing copy and your blog posts.
- Evaluate the success of your current efforts. Are consumers responding to your social media posts, or is communication always one-sided? Are consumers sharing your blog posts and responding to your promotions? If your answer is "no," then you need to make changes.
- Ask for feedback. Nothing offers more accurate information about a target consumer base than the consumers themselves do. Encourage your customers to contact you about practices they like or dislike. Companies like ExactTarget utilize email campaigns to gather feedback from your consumer base. Entice them to provide answers to surveys by offering a small reward, such as a discount or drawing entry. Above all, pay attention to the information they provide.
Regardless of the demographics of your target consumer base, you can bet that they come into contact with marketing material all day long. If your content doesn’t stand out, you can’t hope to attract their business. By learning about your consumers, analyzing the market and continuously tweaking your strategies, you can ensure that your marketing content doesn’t fall through the cracks.
Felicia Baratz is a freelance writer, graphic designer and social media addict living in Indianapolis, IN. As a contributor to Technected.com, Felicia discusses new, innovative technology and its relation to the business world and social media marketing.
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