There are many rules out there that dictate "essential" marketing tips for small businesses. While these are excellent guidelines, the best practices are the ones that will grow your brand, and that can differ depending on your company and industry. Many advertisers swear by the following rules, but you need to adjust your approach to succeed as a unique business. Here is a list of long-touted marketing rules you should break to best fit your strategy.
1. Publish Content Using a Formula
Having a set method is great for developing content, but using too formulaic an approach feels impersonal. Even if you’re using an advertising strategy that is currently working, it can become stale if implemented too long without changes. Customers might become tired of your ads because they’ve seen them too many times and know what to expect. It's crucial to change up your ads and content by taking risks and experimenting to attract new customers and keep your existing customers coming back.
2. Repeat What You've Seen Works
Just because one strategy worked for another business doesn't mean it will work for yours. Consistently copying the success of larger companies isn't a great way to establish your brand's image. Starting out by emulating other companies might help to establish yourself, but you want to branch out with your strategy to develop your own brand identity.
You also shouldn't repeat your marketing strategies that have worked in the past. As you grow your brand, your brand identity should grow with it. Adopt more unique and varied strategies, and experiment with content to consistently find new things that work while developing your brand’s personality.
Creating uniqueness and variety makes your brand far more memorable. That’s crucial for success since consumers could easily forget 77% of brands if they don’t stand out well enough. By developing a unique brand identity, you'll put your business in a better place to excel above the competition.
3. Publish Content No Matter What
While it is essential to keep your online pages updated and active, you shouldn't churn out content without reason. Publishing content just for the sake of publishing content will hurt the quality of the work, and its inconsistency will confuse readers. Your content has to have substance to resonate with your audience and keep them engaged. Copying and pasting the same message just to stay in a customer's feed can come across as lazy and repetitive. Having a disjointed array of topics will also make it unclear what you do and what your values are, which will make customers less likely to commit to you.
4. Stick to Discussing Your Benefits
Many advertisers emphasize promoting sales and loyalty programs to attract new and existing customers. However, customers have come to value positive experiences over low prices. Because of this, it's better to emphasize the qualifications of your business over the benefits it offers.
Any brand can offer sales, but achieving a seamless customer journey is more complicated. Customers will feel more emotionally invested in your brand if they feel valued, and they will feel more confident in your offerings if you showcase your expertise. They are also more likely to trust staff members that can easily showcase their knowledge of a brand's industry or if they offer helpful advice online.
5. People Don't Have the Attention Span for Long Content
While it's true that there are many consumers who skim instead of read, long-form content is still appreciated. In fact, longer posts might be better, as the ideal length of a blog post for maximum lead generation is as long as 2,500 words. It's not an attention span problem, but rather a quality issue with the content.
Regardless of content length, it should concisely get your brand's message across to your customers and establish your industry expertise. It should also be free of grammatical errors and useless filler content. Users may also take their business elsewhere if your content isn’t optimized for mobile devices. People spend a lot of time researching and reading from their mobile devices, and if your content doesn’t work, they will quickly turn away from it and you.
6. Quicker Sales are Better
A larger audience doesn't always translate to more sales, and it's far more expensive to cater to new customers rather than focus on your existing audience. Getting customers to buy from you is costly and requires a lot of effort to entice them over the initial hurdle to try your products. However, once they do buy from you, it’s better for you that they buy from you again. Customer retention is much more profitable since a 5% increase in retention can boost your sales by up to 95%. Instead of hopping on the most popular sales trends at the time, focus on earning the trust of your current customers.
7. Consistency is Everything
Having a consistent posting schedule for your content shows that you’re a trustworthy organization. Having a timely blog or social media presence reassures customers, letting them know that you’ll be responsive to any questions or issues they might have. Meanwhile, you should still experiment with putting your message on multiple formats at the same time.
Placing multiple ads on multiple channels with a consistency of theme and voice is also incredibly important because it helps reinforce brand recognition. You want more people to see your ads and connect them with other ads they’ve seen of yours. That will increase brand recall and retention, especially since omnichannel marketing ads have been shown to improve search traffic by 98%, and your ROI through organic searches.
8. You Need to Please Everybody
No matter how good your product or service is, you'll never be able to cater to everyone's tastes. Attempting to do so only makes your brand's mission unclear and could potentially alienate your existing customers. Your loyal customers are often the ones providing the most financial support, so their needs should be prioritized.
9. Content Marketing is Not a Sales Strategy
Building brand loyalty is a crucial benefit of content marketing, but that's not its sole purpose. At the end of the day, content marketing attracts more people to your brand and encourages them to buy its products. As such, you should be aligning your existing sales strategy with your brand's content for maximum profits. Content marketing helps people learn about your brand, and it establishes your industry expertise. That way, consumers will recognize you and be more willing to buy from you later because they see that your brand does more than just outright trying to make a profit.
10. Change Your Strategy Because the Experts Tell You To
A successful marketing strategy isn't universal, so experimentation is crucial for growth. There is a lot of discourse about how a business should run and determining best practices, but these will always differ from company to company and industry to industry. If you have a strategy that’s working, experiment to make it work better but don’t change it specifically because expert advice told you to. While you should always look for opportunities to try new things, don't be discouraged when something doesn't work. These missteps just allow you to have a better picture of what your audience wants from your brand.
How to Find Successful Marketing Strategies
Advertisers should always strive to think outside the box rather than thinking what they’re told to think. The most valuable marketing tips for small businesses are the ones that you learn from trial and error. When you want to differentiate your brand from the rest, generic advertising rules are meant to be broken.