Is your business struggling with marketing? It doesn’t have to.
Marketing isn’t hard. Really, it isn’t.
So what’s the secret to success?
Listening to consumers and then creating a strategy based on their preferences.
If your marketing efforts have been built largely on a hope and a prayer, it’s time to use sound marketing advice from experts and develop a campaign created on a foundation of consumer insights.
Here’s what you should do.
1. Get to know your customers
Consumers are making their voices heard, loud and clear, regarding their preferred marketing channels and methods. The best news for small businesses is that consumers are saying they want to hear from you.
According to research by MarketingSherpa, only 8 percent of consumers preferred receiving no marketing at all. Reading between the lines, you can assume that the other 92 percent of respondents like to receive marketing – they just have preferred ways of receiving promotions and updates and discovering new products.
This is where you have to step in a do some detective work to figure out how to best reach your customers.
2. Try it out
These are the channels through which customers prefer to receive updates and promotions:
- 54% prefer postal mail.
- 49% prefer subscribing and getting updates via email (where the consumer choose the frequency of emails).
- 38% prefer visiting the company’s website.
- 28% prefer receiving them at the store when making a purchase.
- 24% subscribe to receive emails at a frequency dictated by the brand.
- 20% prefer following companies on social media to get offers.
- 17% prefer receiving text messages.
- 15% prefer downloading an app to get offers.
- 9% prefer attending local events.
- 8% prefer receiving no updates or offers.
- 2% prefer some other way.
If you’re searching for new customers, here’s how they like to find out about new products:
- In-store browsing: 59%
- Word-of-mouth recommendations: 57%
- Search engine: 47%
- Articles in magazines or newspapers (print): 34%
- Offline advertising: 27%
- Online advertising: 26%
- Customer reviews on the company’s website: 22%
- Professional reviews via social media or family, friends: 20%
- Salesperson recommendations in the store: 18%
- Online content from a company other than yours: 16%
- Outside online content: 15%
- Other articles: 14%
- Automated personalized recommendations: 10%
- E-commerce customers service representative: 6%
- Other: 5%
When consumers are away from their desktop computers, here are their preferred communication methods:
- In-app ads: 4%
- Transit ads: 5%
- Push notifications: 6%
- Other: 6%
- Location-based information or promotions: 9%
- Company’s mobile app: 12%
- In-person conversations: 15%
- None: 15%
- Billboards: 17%
- Text message: 20%
- Radio ads: 24%
- Email received on smartphone: 37%
- Print ads: 47%
3. Use a broad approach
While many consumers look to digital sources to find updates and promotions, discover new products, and get information when away from their desktops, your strategies shouldn’t depend solely on them.
Postal mail scored big in the survey of consumers looking for promotions and updates. A majority, 54 percent, said they would prefer getting promotions and updates the mail. At the same time, however, only 19 percent of businesses reported sending these types of communications via mail, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Part of the reason to shy away from snail mail marketing is its higher cost, as email and other digital methods are less expensive. Another reason to not pursue mail: It skews older. People over the age of 55 overwhelmingly prefer snail mail and print ads (61 percent), compared to less than half of 18 to 35 year olds. In addition, postal mail responses are hard to track, which is one of the best features of digital channels.
When you’re developing your company’s new marketing strategy, consider what consumers have to say. Know your demographic and test a few channels to find the best marketing channels that work for your business.