Posts Tagged ‘ROI’
Businesses have a varied view of what marketing is for, and how it can be used, and it invariably depends on their financial position, the product or service they are promoting, the mindset of the management, the resources available to them, both personnel and technical, and the general attitude towards marketing and selling tactics.
But it has been noted by researchers that small businesses and sole-trading entrepreneurs are stealing a march over the larger organisations. This is because they are far more flexible in their approach towards marketing practices and how it can affect their businesses.
The other thing to note is that these smaller outfits are far more likely to accept the fact that marketing can and will take a long timespan before any results start to materialise. Impatience and impetuousness may be prevalent in both kinds of businesses, but the larger corporates may have demanding bosses, crippling financial forecasts, unreasonable objectives and impractical processes that overshadow any marketing strategies, however carefully they have been put in place to create optimum results.
It is these smaller businesses that are able to see or realise that marketing is a long-term objective that are able to benefit the most from it. This all depends if they are willing to be consistent with providing content for blogs and newsletters, contributing sociably on social networks, spreading their expertise through social media and offline networking and speaking engagements, maintaining a high visibility on the web through blogs, articles, RSS feeds and constantly responding to what their past, present and prospect clients and contacts are doing.
If your company expects immediate returns, do selling, not marketing. Instant ROI may be obtained through various pushy methods, but can it really be compared to that gained through long-term marketing, principally obtained through relationship building, research into customer understanding and responses, providing what is requested or desired, and filling the niches opened up by the misdemeanours of the larger organisations.
Long term marketing results in long term relationships and proven sustainability from your customers. Even so, once acquired, there is no time to sit on your laurels – the pace must be kept up to maintain this much sort-after and coveted friendship, by providing more benefits to make their lives better, and more relationship-building tactics to keep them from converting to the competition.
Therefore you can see how this cannot be achieved through short-term methods without your prospects turning up their noses because they don’t know anything about the company or what it is providing, or losing them immediately afterwards because they haven’t acquired enough knowledge about how your business works for you to gain their trust and appreciation. If you haven’t bothered to take the time to woo your customers to fall in love with you, how can you expect the relationship to last?
Social media is an online method of networking, which is, by its nature, a long term activity. It’s the word ‘networking’ that should give you a clue, which, as every veteran networker will tell you, is all about forming relationships, gaining trust, building your reputation and raising your expertise status within your industry or niche.
Novices and sceptics of social networking often ask about how do you get a ROI (return on investment) within this activity. This is because they have failed to understand the concept of ‘networking’, and have mixed it up with ‘sales’, which it definitely isn’t. It’s also a more relaxed form of marketing, spread over the long term, with any results (or ROI) materialising as you become more successful and expert at it, and when people learn more about what you do and the kind of person you are.
If you are canny, and provide plenty of examples and case-studies within your articles and blog posts, showing through online activity what you’re like and what you can produce, what you’ve done for others and examples of their success, you will build up an extensive list of followers, friends and connections, which all aid towards sharing and extending your audience and therefore your business’s visibility.
Two more things to consider: 1) it’s adviseable to have a proper focus for your social networking, and 2) it cannot succeed through short, intensive burst of activity with long periods of slack in between. Networking works best through long-term drip-feed marketing strategies over a period of time, with consistency having more effect than sporadic quantity.
Social networking works best with a sociable focus in mind. Forget all your business processes for a little while and concentrate on recognition of those you are following by showing an interest in them, remembering your past conversations and their activities, with plenty of altruism which can go a long way. And it’s certainly worth your while taking the trouble to learn the etiquette of your chosen form of social networking, as each are different for their own reasons, and one method may not work or be appreciated within another.
Now your business mind can clock back into action, and start meausuring your activities (discreetly) to see how you are improving and how much your activies are noted, shared, actioned and talked about. Use the focus you have chosen wisely and remember not to sell, and eventually, if you do all of that, you’ll get your ROI.