We can all learn from the past. That is a lesson we all learn during some period of our lives. Luckily we can also learn from past marketing strategies to obtain business success in the future. Discover the secrets from the year gone by and draw your own conclusions for 2015.
Looking Back At 2014
The marketing plan still played a central role in the marketing strategy for 2014. Many businesses still use their marketing plan as the absolute advertising bible. The key performance indicators also played a central in this marketing plan.
Unique Web Visitors
Unique web visitors were a good indicator of a successful marketing plan in 2014. The majority of businesses values new clients, so unique web visitors were a good indicator for these types of customers.
Evaluating how many unique visitors a business was attracting, was a key indicator for many businesses. It also contributed in the conversion of unique visitors to new leads.
Marketing Qualified Leads
When we look back at 2014, we notice how important the marketing qualified leads were. The marketing qualified leads are basically leads that meet all the requirements for your intended target group. Marketing qualified leads were also evaluated thoroughly and this helped many businesses to adjust their website and marketing method toward their intended marketing group.
Sales Qualified Leads
The sales qualified leads were also very prominent in the marketing plan of 2014. Sales qualified leads are basically marketing qualified leads that show that potential customers are ready to act on their purchase requirements. This means that sales qualified leads indicate people who are ready to buy your product or service.
Sales qualified leads are mainly suited for people in sales, more specifically e-commerce, retail and much more. Therefore SQLs could mainly be found in the marketing plan of sales.
Marketing events are becoming more prominent nowadays, especially for acquiring new contacts. This could also be seen in the marketing strategies of 2014. However, marketing events did not limit themselves to real life, because there were countless valuable online marketing events such as online webinars and onsite webinars.
Needless to say there were still valuable real-life marketing events in 2014, mainly tradeshows and business meeting with potential clients.
These marketing events ended up providing many leads for many businesses, whether they were marketing qualified leads or sales leads. One thing is certain; the marketing events still play an important role in the success of any business because networking is the key!
No matter your business, costs are always important. The marketing plan of 2014 contained many categories relating to costs. Advertising has certainly become a lot more expensive than it used to be. TV, newspapers and radio were the most prominent sources for advertising before 2010, but that has changed completely with the wider use of the internet. Many companies are also using paid ads online to reel in business, but the cost is often underestimated.
The marketing plan of 2014 also contained a detailed budget for online advertising. This usually referred to Adwords advertisements and paid pay per clicks.
Looking Forward To 2015
In order to draw lessons from our marketing past, we must look at the successes and failings of 2014. If you want to implement your new marketing strategies for 2015, it is essential to view the effect your marketing had on sales.
Converting Sales Leads To Customers
The first thing to evaluate is the pricing and the variety of products you offer. Did your marketing strategy draw in potential clients but did you fail to sell because of your current pricing policy and product variety?
Keeping Customers Happy
However, getting new clients is not everything. Did you know it costs less to keep your current customers happy and buying then acquiring new ones? Keeping your customers happy can save you quite a few bucks in advertising and still keep your sales figures high. The same goes for 2014 of course, so implement a marketing strategy that also keeps your current customers happy.
Checking Customer Losses
A business can gain customers, but also lose them. Before implementing your marketing strategy for 2015, you might need to take a look at customer losses. Have you lost certain customers in 2014 and what could be the cause for losing your customers? Finding these answers will be critical to your future business success.
Keep Doing What Works
It does not need to be said, but when something works you need to keep doing it. Evaluate your marketing plan from 2014 and see what marketing techniques got you the most revenue and sales. Build your new strategy on top of the old one and take into account the most successful strategies of 2014.
However, some things do not work at all and will cost you more money than make you money. Sometimes you have to pull the plug if something isn’t profitable. You just need the courage to do so.
Social media platforms are playing an increasingly more important role in our marketing plan. This will also be the case in 2015, so developing effective marketing strategies for the next year is an absolute necessity.
Do You Have A Decent Following?
If you have some social media platform coverage already, you need to take a look at your followers. Do you have a decent following already or is there room for improvement? If you haven’t already done so, you will need to implement a marketing campaign on your social media platforms.
However, following is not everything. You will also need to check how effective certain social media platforms are in reaching your target groups. There is no purpose in using a social media platform where your target group is not present. This may require some research, but it will save you heaps in advertising costs.
Does Your Following Translate In Website Visits?
You don’t join social media platforms as a business just to get followers. You do it to raise awareness, but also to pull traffic to your website and make sales. Before implementing any new marketing strategy for 2015, you’ll need to take a look if your following has actually translated in valuable new customers or website registrations.
Is your following doing the action you require them to do, for example buying your latest product or using the service you offer? If they aren’t, could the cause be found in your use of social media platforms? Could you convey your message in a different way that is more attractive to certain clients?
Research Your Audience For More Sales Qualified Leads
Social media platforms do not only increase awareness, they are also an excellent research tool. When you get following, you get access to valuable information from prospective clients. What is their location or age? What target group do they belong to? These are all questions that can be answered easily by researching your following and this can have a serious impact on your marketing strategy for the coming year.
If you use multiple social media platforms, it might be worth comparing the following you have on each platform. It gives you a wider pool for research and could provide you with a new target group you aren’t covering yet. Some social media platforms also give you more criteria that you can research, for example LinkedIn contains more business information than Facebook – but Facebook is more suited to get personal information relating to your potential clients.
Update Your Content
Potential customers don’t like reading long pages of text, so you will need a more interactive way of reaching your clientele. Social media platforms offer many ways to do this by adding certain images to your posts or even add videos to give your business a personal touch.
However, text is not always a bad thing. You can use it to engage your audience in conversation. Ask the opinion of your following of a new product that you are releasing in 2015 or maybe you could post a promotion you are holding soon? These are effective ways to use text on social media platforms, but always remember to keep it short and powerful.
Is There Room For Improvement?
If you have been on social media for quite some time, it might be a good idea to check your content. When you are in business, you are always very busy. However, sometimes you are too busy to keep your social media platforms up to date.
But improvement does not only mean updating your content, you might have some search engine optimization to do or maybe you want to attract more customers into your retail store. Whatever your goal is, you might want to determine your goals for 2015. You probably had a different goal when you started your social media accounts some time ago, so now would be a good time to revise.
Your specific goal could also require an account with a different social media platform. For example, if you require search engine optimization you will need to use Google Plus. However, if you want more customers in your retail store, it might be better going to yelp.
While going for multiple social media platforms isn’t such a bad idea, it can be very time consuming. However, you can save some time by carefully selecting the social media platforms you will put your business on.
Facebook is still one of the largest social media platforms out there and will give you great exposure. This social media platform is recommended if you wish to speak to multiple target groups and reach a larger audience.
If you choose Facebook, you will need something interesting to post and share with your following. Since Facebook is mainly used to connect you with friends and family, it could provide you with valuable mouth-to-mouth advertising. This isn’t only a free type of advertising, but also one of the most effective ones!
If you have a younger target group, then Twitter might be the place to be. The Twitter platform is mainly meant for announcements, queries and news. This means that this type of social media platform is extremely suited for competitions, freebies and special marketing stunts. The only disadvantage is that Twitter requires quite some interaction towards the client, but that work could potentially lead to hundreds of re-tweets.
LinkedIn is the place for networking and not really suited for advertising. However, this does not mean you cannot increase awareness or display your business in a professional manner. You can take part in groups and discussions and share your expert advice to acquire various business contacts.
The influence of YouTube is on the rise and reaches pretty much every age group. This means that there is a huge pool of potential target groups to take advantage of. You’ll need to create a video that will be interesting for your niche product or the target group you are trying to speak to. The only downside is that it is quite difficult to get your video viral, because it must be something really special to get many views. A low view count may also influence your company negatively.
Pinterest is recommended for people with a creative profession, since the Pinterest platform mainly works with visual elements. If you are an interior designer or artist, then Pinterest will be perfect for you! Post a picture that showcases your best work and will grab your audience in an instant.
Do take into account that the Pinterest platform is mainly guided towards women at the moment, even though one of the most popular categories is DIY. However, cooks or appliance manufacturers should not despair, since food is still one of the top rating categories on the social media platform.
Less In More
By picking the social media platform that fits you, you will save yourself time and money. You’ll spend less money on advertisements that do not reach your target group and you won’t waste time on a social media platform that does not speak to your target group.