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Track Your Trends to Optimize Your Marketing

Your customers change their behavior depending on the season, which impacts the content they interact with and the keywords they use for search. (Hint: this also means how, when, and what they decide to buy will change.)

Before you click away thinking that seasonality doesn’t apply to your business, stick with us. You may think you don’t have a season. Although buying trends can be harder to see when your business isn’t centered around a commonly recognized season (such as the holidays), the truth is that every industry has some version of a season. 

However, business owners are often at a loss when it comes to adapting their marketing strategy to the seasonal shifts in buying behavior. Which is why it’s crucial to track your trends for more insight.

Yes, You Have a Busy Season–Trust Us

At this point, you may be thinking that you’re in an industry where people will always need what you do with some minor peaks and valleys. It’s true that you may not get all of your business exclusively during your busy season, but you definitely have one.

Here are a few examples of businesses that you would not traditionally associate with seasonality:

  • Divorce lawyers. More people file for divorce right after the holidays. Why? They didn’t want to ruin the holidays with divorce discussion or the holidays confirmed their decision to end the marriage.
  • Emergency vets. Emergency vets will see more dogs the first week of July. Why? It’s super hot, fireworks scare pets into unsafe behavior–including running away–and big parties are an opportunity for pets to eat dangerous foods and objects.
  • Plumbing companies. The day after Thanksgiving is the busiest day of the year for plumbers. Why? Food scraps and turkey grease can clog sinks. In addition, several guests staying at a home can overwhelm the plumbing system, leading to problems.

However, keep in mind that seasons are not limited to holidays. For example, spring can bring hail storms, leading to a surge in calls to windshield repair companies, roofers, and exterior contractors. When these businesses run ads around this time, they can optimize their busy season.

How to Adjust Your Game Plan for Your Season

Once you’ve taken the time to track your trends and identify your busy season, here are some ways to adjust your game plan to fit your season and make it convenient for your customers to hire you or purchase from you.

Busy Season

  • Google Ads. Ads show up when someone searches for what you offer. They are looking for you. Don’t hide from them!
  • Facebook Ads. Ads show up based on demographics and self-proclaimed interests. They told you they love animals. Show them your animal-related services or products!
  • Email marketing. Give them a reason to choose you over your competition by being visible, available, and easy to buy from. Touching on their most important reasons to buy in your email will encourage them to buy from you.
  • Direct mail. Depending on your industry, this can be one of the most effective ways to connect with your audience during your busy season.

Slow Season

  • Upsell and cross-sell existing clients. Slow season is a great time to upsell or cross-sell your current clients to help maintain your revenue. 
  • Work on getting referrals. Contact satisfied clients and ask them to refer you to someone else who might want your services. You can offer a reward for referrals, such as a gift card.
  • Grow your online reviews. Ask past clients to review your business online. Make it easy by emailing them a link so all they have to do is click and type. Then, be sure to pay attention to your reviews and deal with any negative or fake ones.
  • Promote early payment specials. To keep cash coming in, try offering discounts for early payments for next season.
  • Educate your clients. Teach clients how to make the most of your products or services. Focus on low-cost marketing methods like in-person networking, email, and social media. Stay in front of them even when they’re not ready to buy. They will be soon enough. Create the association with your brand, even if they aren’t looking for you right now. 

Learning when to mitigate expenses and maximize ROI can vary, even for businesses within the same industry. For example, some companies use Google Ads during their busy season so they are visible when people search for them, but use Facebook Ads as more of an awareness or educational tactic when people are not yet in need. 

Get More Insight Into Your Long-Term Marketing Strategy

Following the trends within your industry and examining your own peaks and valleys are the best ways to know when and how to adjust your marketing efforts. If you’re ready to take a more advanced approach to your long-term marketing, set up a strategy session with GoBeyond SEO. It’s free, customized, and informative.

Categories
General Leadership Marketing Small Business Marketing

4 Signs It’s Time for a Fractional Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)

Many small business owners, this year especially, are still trying to get a grip on what works and what doesn’t. All the marketing goals in the world are only as good as the direction and leadership of the marketing efforts coming from the top. 

Did your marketing efforts pay off during the first quarter of this year? Are you woefully unsure and wildly self-conscious about it? You’re not alone. 

Whether your marketing is directionless or you need more financial resources to invest in a solid strategy, here are four signs it’s time to consider a fractional chief marketing officer (CMO).

1. You Have a Marketing Plan, but No One Is Available to Be in Charge of It

This is a common trap when the marketing direction is steered by multiple people or by someone who is not solely focused on marketing.

Your company brand and success may have been built long before the days of complex marketing channels and automation. In order to prepare for the future (or present), businesses are tasked with adapting at lightning speed, to keep pace with contemporary strategies, tools, and tactics.

Oftentimes, especially in small and growing businesses, marketing initiatives are scattershot and lack a cohesive plan. An experienced marketing strategist can help right the proverbial ship for a strong and successful future.

2. Your Sales Team Is Creating Their Own Marketing Materials

Your sales team may be great or your sales team may be YOU. Either way, if your sales team is creating their own presentations, one sheets, and PDFs, it’s very likely that those materials are unfocused and weak.

A fractional CMO can develop a unified message that creates an exceptional customer experience, makes you and your team feel more confident in presenting your offerings, and improves conversions – all for a more cost-effective approach.

3. You Have Lots of Pricey Marketing Tactics Without a Supporting Strategy 

It’s an easy trap to fall into. Someone says you need a new website, so you get one. You sponsor events and buy branded swag. You create a Google Ads campaign and get swallowed by the ad costs. You hire an intern to manage your social media because young people know social media, right?

You did all the things and yet, not a penny of ROI to be found. The absence of strategy will leave you frustrated and broke. You need marketing insights that help inform executive decisions, build the reporting you need to make smart business decisions, and then closely track revenue and growth. That will give you ROI for miles.

4. You Need More Financial and Organizational Flexibility

The very first ingredient needed for continued success is flexibility. You need to be agile so you’re available to capitalize on shifting situations or unforeseen challenges.

Locking your business into a yearly salary commitment for a CMO, Marketing Strategist, or even a social media coordinator is antithetical to the needs of many small businesses. Why? Hiring staff is a big commitment. What’s more? So is firing them.

If the relationship doesn’t work out with someone closely involved in your marketing efforts, separating from them can be an arduous and costly process.

Conversely, if your fractional CMO or outsourced marketing team isn’t working out, it’s much easier to end the relationship and find another fractional CMO or team. 

How Is Your Marketing Going?

As your business grows and your needs shift, a fresh perspective with more experience may be needed. While reviewing your first quarter sales this year, ask yourself this: Do I have the time necessary to devote to marketing and sales?

If you’re not sure, feel free to score a free strategy session with GoBeyond SEO. ROI is within reach, we promise.

Categories
Marketing

Make Your Marketing Like a Capsule Wardrobe (Hear Us Out)

Do you find picking out clothes to wear an exhausting process? If so, you’re not alone. Other people find the process of shopping and picking out clothes for the day as exhausting as you do. Barack Obama, Ariana Grande, Michael Kors, Ellen DeGeneres, Richard Branson, Hillary Clinton, Steve Jobs…just to name a few. 

What you wear says a lot about you, so you want to make the right decision, but this is also why it can be so time-consuming and tiring. This is why many wealthy and successful people use what’s called a capsule wardrobe.

A capsule wardrobe is a foundational array of key clothing pieces that you wear nearly every day. It mitigates decision fatigue, you’ll know that it fits you, and you can get on with your day.

Fun fact: This is exactly what happens with small business owners and their marketing. They want to put their best foot forward, but the process of dressing their business up is exhausting and expensive.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be. You can create your marketing message as you would a capsule wardrobe.

Create a Foundational Message for Your Business

But wait, you’re asking—wouldn’t creating and delivering a message with a few key pieces just be repeating the same marketing techniques over and over?

Repeating a message is the cornerstone of marketing. This seems obvious enough and yet, many business professionals wonder if they need to be saying the same thing all the time.

So to be clear: yes, you need to repeat your message, but how do you keep people from tuning it out? Won’t people get bored or even resentful hearing the same thing over and over again? 

Not necessarily. Here’s how you can dress up that foundational marketing message to help people remember who you are and what you do without being that annoying company that says the same thing every time you hear from them.

3 Ways to Dress Up Your Core Message

Much like creating a capsule wardrobe, coming up with your singular foundational message can be broken down like this:

  • Speak in a way that resonates with your PERFECT client. Are they cavalier or more buttoned-up? Are they creative or analytical? Are they more conservative or cheeky? Pro Tip: Talk to them in their language, not yours.
  • Explain your value clearly. In other words, what are you going to do for them? What problem do you solve for them? Be plain. Be clear. Leave no room for interpretation. Pro Tip: Adding a clever or sexy message is much easier with clear language.
  • Highlight what you do differently. You have the same core message, but you can play it up by highlighting what makes your business unique. Pro Tip: Highlighting what you do differently is a great way to distinguish yourself from the competition.

While this may feel like an oversimplification to some, that’s exactly the point. If you take the time and energy to hammer out your core message, getting creative with your marketing becomes infinitely easier.

Think of the Geico commercials. They repeat their core message over and over. They’ll save you 15% or more on car insurance. Insurance is boring; they make it funny. They come up with off-the-wall ways to demonstrate their message, but at its core, it’s exactly the same.

Not Sure What to Do Next?

Schedule a complimentary strategy session with our marketing professionals at GoBeyond SEO. We can help you define your target audience, create your foundational message, and help you drive that message home to your customers.

Categories
Marketing

How to Prioritize Your Marketing Needs for the Better

Oftentimes we hear a marketing term, particularly those in the digital arena, see that it’s working for our competitors, and decide that we must do the same.

But are your marketing efforts costing you more than they should?

If you decided to go to the grocery store for some wine, would you take a plane? Of course not! If you wanted to get to Tokyo from London, would a car suffice? Probably not.

How can you avoid spending extra on marketing efforts that’ll eventually get you to where you want to be? The answer is simple: define your marketing goal, then pick your medium.

For example, if you’re sure your website needs SEO, but your primary goal is to make more sales right now, then doing SEO to your website shouldn’t necessarily be your first investment in marketing. Will you need SEO eventually? Yes, but SEO takes time, and if you’ve determined that your priority is to increase sales right now, then your money would be best spent elsewhere.

So how can you prioritize what you need so you pick the right place to start and don’t waste money on your marketing?

How to Prioritize Marketing Needs in Five Steps

This simple five-step process will help you narrow down your choices and determine where your budget is best spent at the moment. However, these tips will also help set you up for future digital marketing success!

Step 1: Determine the true goal of your marketing campaign.

If there’s more than one, list them in order of priority. Examples of marketing goals can be: increase online sales, increase brand awareness, grow your audience, increase brick and mortar traffic, increase phone calls, increase appointments.

Step 2: Determine your budget.

You may only have room in your budget for one priority at a time, and that’s ok. (See Pro Tip #1 below.)

Step 3: Determine your timeline to hit this goal.

If you need online sales right now, pay-per-click (PPC) marketing may be a better option than SEO in the short term. 

Step 4: Determine which mediums are designed to hit your goal.

If you need to educate your audience about a new product or service, email marketing and social media are great options. If you need to overcome a hard-to-find brick-and-mortar restaurant, a billboard on the freeway may do the trick.

Step 5: Determine what success looks like for your business.

The word “conversion” can mean a few different things in the business world. As a marketer, a conversion is a lead that your company engages with. For you, a conversion might be a sale. One company could get two new clients in one year and consider that a wild success. Others may get two new customers a day and have to shut their doors. When you want to “increase sales,” put a hard number on that. Knowing your success threshold will help you determine if you’re really making money or wasting it.

Pro Tips to Help You Even More

It’s rarely easy to define a goal, budget, and timeline for your business, as well as what your version of success is. But don’t worry, with a couple of pro tips, you’ll be on your way to a smarter marketing investment!

  • Pro Tip #1: If your marketing budget is tight (like most small business owners), pick a medium that will help you make sales in the shortest amount of time. Syphon off some of that money to reinvest and expand your marketing budget WITH INTENTION. No more “Gee, I hope this works”. Stick with the medium, expand that budget a bit more. This is a great way to see how much more to spend and then when you can set a cap for that medium.
  • Pro Tip #2: See if there’s a medium that can do double duty. For example, social media pay-per-click ads, such as Facebook ads, can both increase brand awareness and potentially make sales. This is not true for every industry, but it’s worth looking into.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having business dreams that are unachievable right now. Just remember that big dreams are achieved through a series of small goals. The amount of marketing opportunities available these days is overwhelming and can make even the most savvy and successful of business people feel lost. Keeping your efforts clear and simple is the easiest way to see if you’re on the right path.

Need help defining and prioritizing your marketing needs for the better? Schedule a free strategy session with us at GoBeyond SEO!

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Kristy is an Assistant & Coordinator of Awesome. She has worked extensively in academic administration and brings a varied wealth of knowledge. As a self-starter, she is ready to take on news projects and see them through to completion. Always curious, Kristy is an avid researcher and delights in the challenge of learning new skills.

When Kristy isn’t organizing or researching something, you can find her listening to a true crime podcast, re-watching How I Met Your Mother or The Big Bang Theory and coming up with some crazy shenanigan for her family’s next adventure.

5 INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT KRISTY

  1. Kristy prefers the Harry Potter books over the movies. Her favorite book is The Prisoner of Azkaban and her favorite character is Luna Lovegood. Ravenclaw house. She just started her 8-year-old son on listening to the books.
  2. Kristy has a nail technician license, esthetician license, medical assisting certification, associate degree, and bachelor’s degree. She didn’t get her full cosmetology license because she can barely do her own hair, she shouldn’t be trusted with someone else’s.
  3. She doesn’t know how to gamble but is originally from Las Vegas, Nevada. She moved to Colorado three months before her 21st birthday.
  4. Her high school graduating class consisted of only 20 people.
  5. Kristy loves gift giving. One of her great joys in life is finding the “perfect” gift.
Kristy Elias