Keyword research is one of the most important and valuable activities in marketing, not just search engine marketing, but marketing in general and should be the starting point of your marketing plan. We know that people are doing more and more of their research online to determine what they want to buy and who they want to buy from. Consider keyword research as a component of market research that helps us better understand what our target markets are interested in and what terms they use to find what they need.
Selecting the best target market for your business is the most important but difficult part of the marketing plan. Business owners will make many excuses when asked why they have not chosen a target because they believe that targeting limits their opportunities.
Your value proposition is an important part of your marketing strategy that is often misunderstood. Although a key concept in marketing for decades, it is now just as important in the online world where you are trying to get people to click on your ads or convert on your landing pages into qualified leads.
How do you view marketing when it comes to your business – an investment or an expense? If you pick investment, then spending money on creating a powerful web presence is something you will do willingly because you know it will help your business grow and succeed. If you pick expense, then you will cut marketing when things get a bit tight (if you spend on marketing at all) and make irrational decisions when it comes to your web presence.
Marketing your small business is very much like playing golf. In golf, the goal is to play each hole to get the ball from the tee into the hole on the green in the fewest number of strokes possible. To achieve that goal, you need a strategy for each hole such that you get to your destination successfully. Your action plan is to execute each shot as planned, resulting in the par score.
“If you don’t know where you are going, you will wind up somewhere else.” Yogi Berra had a humorous way of stating the obvious but when it comes to your business, winding up somewhere unknown is not funny. Most business owners understand the value of having marketing goals, but many never take the time to set them, evaluate progress and adjust them as necessary.
Customer service is more important to your marketing strategy today than many business owners realize. Because of brand exposure via social media, marketing needs to be concerned with the entire customer experience. Companies that provide excellent customer service strengthen their marketing by simplifying the task of tracking and managing the perception of your brand.
Recently I wrote about the true value in your value proposition because small businesses need to understand what it is they offer and why their market needs it. And you really need to define your mission statement is so you can communicate it to your target audience. Now we need to turn our attention to creating a strong brand, one of your most valuable business assets.
Your value proposition is the value a client gains from working with you. If you have trouble explaining to people what you do and why you are the best to help them solve their most challenging problems, it’s time to identify the one thing that really makes you different from your competitors. Then you can be crystal clear about why you are uniquely different and will be able to communicate it with confidence.
There are many people who offer online marketing services. There are also many people who call themselves online marketing experts because they know how to: Build a WordPress website, implement search engine optimization (SEO), set up your Google Places page and other local business listings, develop an AdWords campaign, send out an email marketing campaign or create a Facebook Business Page with the new iFrames landing tabs. All good stuff and important. But do these experts know marketing?