How to use email marketing to drive your growth

Email marketing is arguably the most personalised form of marketing. At a time when your target audience is inundated with online ads and other outreach activities of brands and businesses, email marketing can provide the differentiated touch.

But despite the documented success of others, they don’t guarantee yours. You’ll need a strategy unique to your needs to make it work. We’ve outlined in this post the pillars of an email marketing strategy that can drive growth. They’re often overlooked or paid scant attention. If you get them right, you’ll be well on your way to email marketing success.

1. Identify and clarify your goals

It’s easy to jump onto the email marketing bandwagon, but do not expect to reap the rewards if you’re unclear of your goals. Given the highly personalised nature of email marketing, without a clear agenda, you’re at risk of confusing your target audience. This might have negative consequences on their perceptions of your brand.

2. Offer good content

If you assume your email outreach effort will not be opened or trashed, chances are you’ll pay more attention to the quality of the content that accompanies it. By 2021, 320 billion emails will be sent daily (1). To gain your target audience’s attention, invest in good content, as this will increase the perceived value of your brand.

3. The right platform makes email marketing a breeze

Aside from budgetary considerations, choose a platform that’s easy to manage and leaves a good impression on your target audience. Today, marketers have a wide array of platforms to choose from to suit their needs. Your marketing agency, if you have one, should be able to recommend the most appropriate platform for you.

4. Observe the rules of the game

Email marketing isn’t a blank cheque to invade the inbox of your target audience. Although most people expect to receive some form of email marketing communication, it doesn’t mean they accept it. It’s for this reason that there are legislations governing the use of it. Observe them appropriately.

Ready to drive growth with email marketing? Connect here.

Social media marketing tips for small businesses

With eight in ten people logging on daily, social media is a vital part of any business strategy. And it’s easy to understand why. Social media is an efficient and effective way to reach customers who love your brand and introduce new customers to your business. By following these simple tips, you’ll enter new markets, create brand awareness and increase sales.

#1 Develop a social strategy

As organic posts on social media are free, it can be tempting to post as much as possible. However, as with any business, it’s essential to have a plan. If not, there’s no way to track your results. Your strategy should include:

• Clear objectives and goals
• Examine your competitors
• Evaluate current social media efforts, and;
• Create a social media schedule (i.e. what to post and when)

#2 Choose the right platforms

When developing your strategy, ensure you conduct research into where your customers spend most of their time online. Although it’s being widely reported that millennials are shunning Facebook, for instance, research is showing that 84% of this age group still uses the platform almost daily. So, conduct an audit to discover the platforms your audience prefers. This ensures you’re getting the most out of your social media efforts.

#3 Build relationships

Your audience should be the centre of your marketing strategy. Before creating your social media pages, identify which demographic(s) you want to reach. Which socioeconomic group are they in? How old are they? What are their interests? Once you can answer questions like these, you can create a targeted online marketing strategy for this audience.

#4 Accept feedback

Positive or negative, reviews are a valuable way to gain exposure online. This engagement gives you the chance to respond to customer feedback and concerns in a timely fashion. Swift, detailed responses also allow you to establish credibility and trust with your audience. And, it will make your customers more likely to recommend your products/services to friends and family.

#5 Opt for quality over quantity

From blogs, to Instagram Stories, Twitter Moments and more, there’s a wide range of social media marketing techniques to choose from. However, not all of these will suit every business. To effectively reach your audience, research what the content they search for and what your competitors are doing. The correct content mix will entice your audience to return and broaden your customer base.

For more advice on creating your social media marketing strategy, call or email the Capstone Marketing team today.

How to measure growth contribution of inbound marketing

One of the most effective digital marketing strategies businesses have deployed in the last 5 years is inbound marketing. At a time when people are growing weary of sales tactics, inbound marketing provides businesses with an alternative to wow and woo. As such, it’s an opportunity for businesses to convey their authority and credibility.

However, like every marketing strategy, it has to be worked on. After all, inbound marketing isn’t a magic wand. There are marketing levers you’ll need to push up or down accordingly to achieve the desired results. Knowing which to look at and adjust will be important.

In this post, we’ll focus on your website analytics for guidance to measure the contribution of your inbound marketing to business growth.

1. Source of traffic

Essentially, knowing your sources of traffic answers the question “where are your visitors coming from?” Broadly, there are two main sources you’ll need to look at, namely, direct traffic and organic traffic. The former refers to visitors who landed on your website directly; the latter through links they discovered. It also pays to keep an eye on social media and email marketing if they form part of your inbound strategy.

2. Sessions

This isn’t a feel-good metric. It can reveal the level of engagement visitors with your business, your website, as well as the content you have put out. If the sessions are extremely short, it’ll alert you to potential issues in the user experience. It makes sense for you to address any issues promptly to improve the effectiveness of your inbound marketing.

3. Conversion rate

This refers to the conversion rate of your landing pages. Obviously, you’ll be looking at the highest number possible. But an effective conversion rate is above 2%. When someone fills out a form or shares their contact details associated with your landing pages, they will add to that conversion rate. They are regarded as a marketing qualified lead.

4. Contacts

Is your inbound marketing contributing to the growth of your prospect or customer database? Keeping a close eye on the growth of your contact database is important when it comes to converting leads into customers, and making sure you follow-up with leads at varying stages of the marketing funnel will ensure you can capitalise on your inbound sales enquiries.

Are you looking to start an inbound marketing campaign? Get in touch with us for a free consultation.

Should you outsource your marketing?

Outsourcing your marketing can be one of the most transformative things you could do for your small or growing business.

The value you get from having a holistic and integrated marketing team available to scale up or down based on business conditions, and which knows the best ways to help support your growth, is very worthwhile compared to fixed in-house resources.

If you’re wondering if it is time to get in touch with a marketing agency, here are some of the ways they could help:

1. Understanding your needs

Knowing where to start with marketing can be really tough, and knowing which types of marketing to invest in can be even tougher, especially if you want to market across digital and traditional channels.

There are different outsource marketing options available as your business grows, so you can get the best strategy for your business at every stage of the journey.

So if you are in a position where you know you need to ramp up your marketing efforts, but don’t know where to start, outsourcing is a great option for you.

How to build a competitive branding strategy

2. Integrating and personalising your online presence

Different social media platforms require different types of content, but each has its place in a well-integrated marketing strategy.

Similarly, having a website that drives people to learn more about who you are, and ultimately to buy your product or service, and making sure that the website is being seen, is a critical element of creating an impactful digital presence.

Things like email marketing and Google Adwords marketing can help support that. A marketing agency can consider each of these elements carefully, and figure out a strategy that will work best for you and your goals.

3. A range of experts at your disposal

Instead of hiring an in-house team of marketers, outsourcing gives you the opportunity to have a whole team at your disposal, which means a larger range of specialists who can use their expertise to move your business forward. This is easily the biggest benefit of outsource marketing.

At Capstone Marketing, we become part of your team and work with you to figure out your business’ direction and growth strategy. We specialise in digital and traditional marketing and take both into account when developing your marketing strategy to provide you with the very best solution. Contact us here

How to build a competitive branding strategy

If you think a brand name or logo makes for a branding strategy, re-think. It’s a misconception small business have of a branding strategy. Your brand name or logo are brand touch points. Their role is to communicate the branding strategy. So, what’s in a branding strategy?

1. Why your business exists

What matters more to your target audience is the reason the business exists for them. In other words, how your business transforms their lives for the better. You’ll need to be clear of this before you build the other pillars of your branding strategy.

2. What matters to your business

Every business needs to make money to survive and thrive. But beyond this hygiene quality, what else matters to your business? This group of factors are often referred to as your brand values. So, whilst making money is important, you will not compromise things like integrity, bringing a smile to everyone or protecting the environment. They are values you want your brand to be associated with.

Try our free 10 step marketing template here

3. How would you personify your brand?

It’s the most fun part of building a branding strategy but also the trickiest. A brand is a living, breathing entity, just like human beings. Hence, it must be relatable at that level. To this end, it needs to have a personality, like every human being. Is your brand young and witty or mature and stable? Maybe it is aggressive or a go-getter. Your brand’s personality will dictate how you will appear to the public – in other words, your communication tone and style.

4. So, what does your brand do well?

In marketing language, this is labelled as brand positioning. Think of every person (and so brand) you know well. They’re probably known to you for a specific quality – Helen, the chatterbox; Joe, the funny guy. It’s not about being different or better. More importantly, it’s because your brand does what it does well. Perhaps not for everyone, but for a specific group of people – your target audience. After all, Joe may not be funny to everyone.

Are you ready to build your branding strategy? Contact us here.

10 Step Marketing Planning Template for Small Business

At Capstone Marketing we often get asked, “What should my marketing plan look like?” Whether we coach our clients or develop their marketing plan for them, we try to keep it pretty simple. Unlike Colonel Sanders, there’s no secret sauce.

A good marketing plan is a guide for successfully promoting and growing your business.  It will help you answer key questions about your business:

  • How is your business positioned in the market?
  • How are your differentiated from your competitors?
  • How will you reach your customers?
  • What are your sales goals?
  • Where will you advertise?

Here’s our 10 step guide to developing your own strategic marketing plan

Step 1 – Business review

  • The “where are we now” section.
  • Include your research on company, products, market place, target market, competitors, sales numbers and customers.
  • Clients are often surprised by some of the results and the gold uncovered here to inform and justify the dollars spent in later steps.

Step 2 – Focus on problems and opportunities

  • This is where you turn the “data” collected in step one into “information”.
  • Focus on the core issues that need resolving and the key things that need highlighting.

Step 3 – Business/Sales Objectives

  • The ‘What by When’
  • You should know by now what you need to achieve from a business/sales point of view
  • Everything that follows is designed to meet these objectives.

Step 4 – Target markets and marketing objectives

  • Define the groups of people with common characteristics, purchasing needs and buying habits that are likely to buy products/services in sufficient quantities to achieve business goals.
  • Once you have defined these people (the target market) it’s much easier to understand their behaviour as well as find more of them!
  • Be targeted by knowing your market.
  • Specialise or niche to stand out above your competition, better serve your audience, and authenticate your brand.
  • Your target market should be large enough to warrant your attention (you also need to be able to reach and communicate with them!)

Step 5 – Plan strategies

  • Define and develop what you want people to think of and associate with the brand/product versus the competition.
  • Your marketing strategies describe how you will achieve the objectives.

For more information, check our our guide: How to write a great vision and mission statement

Step 6 – Communication goals

  • Develop common theme to what is being communicated across all mediums.
  • Stay focussed on your key messages.
  • It’s no good having a radio campaign saying one thing, a website presenting something else and an in-store message or sales person which is conflicting with what people are expecting to see and hear.

Step 7 – Tactical marketing tools

  • The marketing activities making up your plan.
  • The tools to get the message out there and to make the sales process as easy as possible.
  • This could include tools such as your brand identity guidelines, website, sales literature and CRM
  • While your customer acquisition strategies could range from the traditional – media, direct mail, publicity and events to digital marketing (SEO/SEM, Online advertising, Social Media and email marketing)

What to know more about Google adwords? Read our blog: SEM 101: What is Google Adwords

Step 8 – Budget, ROI and Calendar.

  • How long is a piece of string? Typically, allow 3 to 5 percent of revenue. Sometimes more, for new business or product launch.
  • This can get a little tricky and subject to many factors such as market share, brand awareness, sales objectives.
  • Work out return on investment and start to put some numbers on a calendar of marketing activities for the year.

Step 9 – Execution

  • “Make it happen!”
  • All the planning is useless unless you take action and do it.

Step 10 – Evaluation

  • What worked? Why? What didn’t work? Why?
  • Remember, your marketing plan is a fluid document – it should move and evolve as you learn from it’s execution.

How to position your business for success

Thanks to the influx of home renovation shows on our screens we’re all very familiar with the top three selling points when it comes to putting your property on the market. Put simply, it’s all about location, location, location.

If you’re running your own business, the equivalent ‘catch cry’ for marketing your business is position, position, position…or put more succinctly ‘positioning’.

Positioning means establishing a unique position in the market that helps you stand out from your competitors.

Do you know what your business is ‘known’ for?

If you don’t, a good way to find out is to ask your customers what you are known for and why they choose to use you instead of your competitors. Even if you do know, it won’t hurt to ask your customers to confirm you are on the right track.

How to clarify your competitive advantage: 

  1. Do your homework:  To create your positioning strategy you need to understand the market you operate in and your own strengths and weaknesses. This can include working out the total market size, opportunity and lifecycle it’s in. Is it growing or in decline? What else is going on in the market that could have an impact on your business?
  2. Talk to your customers: As well as knowing why they choose you, find out what keeps them up at night.  Understanding how your customers and prospects think and what their problems are can help you determine the best way to meet their needs.
  3. Check out your competitors: Getting your hands on your competition’s key products and examining their strengths and weaknesses can give you some great insights and help you understand where your next market opportunity might come from. A simple search on their website is a good place to start.
  4. Position, position, position: With all this new information at hand it’s time to put your new-found knowledge to work. What sets you apart from your competitors in the minds of your customers and prospects? Make sure to communicate your competitive advantage at every opportunity.

If you’d like help to identify your positioning contact us today on 0408 689 958 or mickd@capstonemarketing.com.au

Are you working in or on your business?

We’re all guilty from time to time of “working in the business, not on the business,” but the start of a new year is a great time to break out of the shackles and focus on your Business Model and Strategic Marketing Plan.

Small business owners often get stuck in the here and now and don’t take the time out to look to the future and focus on longer term goals, anchoring their marketing plan to business strategy.

I’m not just talking about day to day marketing and sales tactics like building a new website or increasing sales but a strategic plan outlining where your business is heading, why you’re going in that direction and the topline actions you need to take to accomplish it.

Your strategic plan needs to address the big three questions every business, large or small, should be able to answer:

  1. Where are you now?
  2. Where do you want to be?
  3. How are you going to get there?

Looking for a little more inspiration? Check out my guide: How to write a great vision and mission statement.

What should a good strategic marketing plan address?

  • Why you started your business and what you want your company or brand to stand for
  • Key revenue streams and essential costs related to your business model
  • Your typical customer segments and why they buy from you instead of your competition
  • What you do better than your competition and what value you deliver to your customers
  • How you are perceived by your target market (what your name, brand and logo represent) and if this perception reflects what you are trying to communicate.
  • How you influence your market to include you in their consideration set when they are thinking about buying your products and services
  • What key activities, resources and partners help you achieve your goals

Like all good chefs, here’s a little something we prepared earlier: 10 Step Marketing Template For Small Business

Do you know what your business is ‘known’ for?
Positioning means establishing a unique position in the market that helps you stand out from your competitors. Read my blog: Positioning your business for success. 

Get started today

By addressing these issues and getting your whole team on board you will improve the effectiveness of your marketing, present a unified brand to the marketplace and, importantly, provide a reason for the market to buy from you.

Take the time now to define you strategy and direction. If you need help, the team at Capstone Marketing can walk you through these steps.

Mick Donohoe is the founder and Managing Director of Capstone Marketing, a Wollongong-based full service marketing agency.

 

 

How to write a great vision and mission statement

When you are starting your business or improving it, writing a vision and mission statement is an important consideration. It is your vision and mission that should drive everything your business does from its people to products and processes.

A vision statement is aspirational, something you want to become or to achieve, and it should be an enviable image of an ideal future.

While your mission statement explains the purpose of your organisation – why you exist. In other words… what you do best every day.

Together, they should clearly and concisely convey the direction of your organisation.

 Take a moment to look at the vision and mission statements below from some of the world’s leading brands,

Vision statement examples

  • Amazon: To be the most customer-centric company in the world, where people can find and discover anything they want to buy online.
  • Starbucks: To establish Starbucks as the premier purveyor of the finest coffee in the world while maintaining our uncompromising principles while we grow.

Mission statement examples

  • Nike: To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.
  • Starbucks: To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.

You’ll notice both Nike and Starbucks mission statements are powerful and focus on providing inspiration for their target markets.

Now, it’s time to create your vision and mission statement

Before creating your vision and mission, ask yourself these questions:

  • What do we do?
  • Who do we do it for?
  • Why do we serve customers the way we do?
  • Why are we in this industry?
  • Why did we start this business?
  • What do we want people to think of us?
  • Where do we want to be?

Remember, your vision should be presented as a compelling picture of an ideal end result.

When writing your mission statement, use motivating words, don’t be boring. Be clear about your passion for why you run your business and make sure you are inspiring with your words. Keep it short but powerful and make sure it captures your business goals and philosophies.

If you have a mission statement that sounds like a boring speech, then get rid of it and start fresh. It should be audacious, a stretch, slightly unreasonable – but still possible.

When your employees all get behind and adopt your vision and mission great things can happen.

Now it’s your turn. Write your vision and mission statements using the information above to explain how your company will make a difference. Bring your passions and values to life.