Today’s guest post comes to us from “across the pond,” and shows us that no matter where we’re located, women in business encounter the same challenges and can use – or adapt – many of the same resources.
Want to move ahead? Take a step back
Having been a marketing director for years and now co-founder of a company, I know first-hand that sometimes we need a break from the day-to-day business-running to truly appreciate what we’ve accomplished; and, more importantly, what’s next.
After spending time with your loved ones this past holiday season and beginning the new year afresh, you’re probably looking back at your marketing efforts throughout the year and considering your options for 2010.
Here are a few tips and thoughts to help you improve your marketing this year:
1. Ask yourself, have you the right resources to manage your marketing?
None of the online marketing channels I know are self-managed. They all require a hands-on approach, from the initial channel creation, to on-going optimization and of course reporting. If your resources are far and few between, consider growing your team by hiring new in-house talent or outsourcing some of the work using freelance websites such as Odesk.
2. Are you using all the free channels at your disposal?
There are a number of services offered by Google which can really help your marketing. One of these is Google Base, a free service from Google that allows businesses to list products and services on its first page results. In most cases products will appear just below the paid results and will include an image, title, price and direct link to the product.
Another Google service I like is Google Local Business, which allows you to list your business which might then appear in certain search queries.
3. Have you considered a multi-channel strategy?
Over the years I’ve learned that the key is to reach as many customers as possible and not to place all my eggs in one basket.
eBay, for example, has a turnover bigger than the GDP of many countries. This makes it a force to reckoned with. And if you look at Amazon, it has a loyal customer base which you’ll find hard to compete against. So consider expanding the channels by which your customers can reach your products.
4. Are you creating loyal customers?
Did you know that investing in your customer retention and customer service can help build brand ambassadors?
Brand ambassadors are those customers who would happily recommend your business, share your messages across the social media and are likely to buy again.
Winning new customers is often easier than keeping them. Not too dissimilar to other types of relationships, business or personal, you must work hard to make sure the other party is happy. To make this a reality you should make customer service a business priority, stay in touch and actively communicate and diversify your communication means by using tools such as Twitter and online chats.
5. Get rid of what’s not working
For many of us the marketing process started with trial and error. If you don’t try you’ll never know, I often say.
Now that you have enough learnings and you know which marketing channel is working, which is disappointing, and which still has potential, invest your time and efforts accordingly.
I hope my tips will point you in the right direction. Good luck for 2010.
Guest post by Michelle Strassburg, co-founder at online oak worktops vendor Wood and Beyond. Michelle has over 10 years’ experience managing online marketing. You’ll frequently find her blogging on industry leading sites from Click Newz to Savvy b2b Marketing.
Image: Kim’n’Cris Knight, Creative Commons