If you’re not getting the sales numbers you desire, why is that? Chances are, you subscribe to one of the many fallacies of sales and marketing. Here’s a look at why traditional methods are failing and what you can do to change it.
What Isn’t Working?
The reassuring news is that some of the most tried-and-true methods of marketing are still effective. People continue to love video advertising. To be sure, video accounts for nearly 70 percent of all Internet traffic, according to Cisco Visual Networking. However, many other marketing strategies are falling flat. Take a look at the numbers.
- Direct mail is expected to experience a 19% declineover the next 12 months (2016 DMA Response Rate Report);
- Only 13% of people who read print publications report ever looking at the ads;
- Nearly half of direct mail is never opened;
- 70% to 80% of online users don’t look at online ads, preferring to focus only on organic search results;
- 86% of people ignore television commercials.
Effective Sales and Marketing Ideas
As buyers become increasingly underwhelmed by advertising gimmicks, innovation becomes even more important. It is the role of businesses, then, to ensure that information is delivered to prospective customers at the right time, in the right format, and on the right platforms. This is where an inbound marketing strategy becomes crucial.
There’s no need to spend copious amounts of time drudging up case studies. Instead, ‘research’ refers to time spent understanding the company and its goals, understanding the industry, and understanding the customers. This is where savvy business owners focus their attention.
- When it comes time to determine what your business stands for, ask the following questions:
- What does it mean to ‘grow the business?’
- How will I know if I’m successful?
- What are my long and short-term goals?
- What is the sales process?
- Check out the industry
As time passes, industries evolve. Each year brings new insights, research, and/or tools. As this occurs, it’s important to stay relevant. This is where industry research comes in.
- Determine your customer base
Speak to the salespeople—those who directly communicate with customers—to better understand the customer base. As a business leader, it’s important to give the sales and marketing teams time to sit together, collaborate, and also vent frustrations (trust me, there are bound to be some!)
Capitalize on the defining quality of your brand’s identity
It isn’t enough to say your company is “good” or that it solves problems. Instead, figure out what makes it unique and market your business on that platform.
GoPro is a stellar example of this. Their strategy revolves around synergy. By crafting a strategy based on a theme that adeptly complements their product, they have achieved excellent results.
The key to many successful campaigns is innovation. As Harvard Business Review analyst Niraj Dawar said, “Competitive battles are won by offering innovations that reduce customers’ costs and risks over the entire purchase, consumption, and disposal cycle.”
Utilize email marketing
Once upon a time, the phrase “You’ve Got Mail” brought shrieks of joy and excitement. After years of spam, Nigerian prince schemes, and assurances of undeserved wealth, it’s understandable to look at email marketing with a skeptical eye. Yet is it effective?
The short answer is Yes.
With an effective email marketing campaign, the possibilities for growth are endless. It is one of the lowest-cost, highest-return marketing techniques around.
Yet let’s say that your time is short and drafting email campaigns sounds cumbersome, here’s an alternative approach: Piggyback on third-party e-newsletters that reach qualified subscribers. For example, let’s say you want to reach moms of toddlers. You could research the most popular parenting websites, then choose the most cost-efficient and effective one to advertise in. This would guarantee that you’d reach parents or parents-to-be. Since subscribers opted-in to the newsletter, you’d score a good open rate and earn some credibility by being associated with a reputable publication.
While there may seem to be as many sales and marketing techniques in the world as there are people, keeping it simple and manageable is key for most start-up businesses. Start with these three tactics if you’re just starting the entrepreneurship adventure. Then, once you become more established, keep them in your back pocket in case the well runs dry.