Every new year brings an opportunity to look at the strategies that were successful in the current year, and anticipate new trends for the following year. As 2018 closes, marketers should undertake this process during December and be ready to go for January.
One of the common mistakes entrepreneurs and marketers make is to chase the hottest trends. There's so much focus on growth hacking and finding the hidden gem that people overlook the paths to revenue that are right in front of them.
While it's great to find the diamond in the rough, or the secret new mix of marketing tactics, don't forget about the strategies that are successful and will continue to be successful.
Here's a look at two paths to revenue that most entrepreneurs overlook. Consider how they can help your business and how they can be integrated into your sales and marketing efforts.
1. Content Marketing
When it comes to online marketing, most people focus on digital advertising. They want to create fancy ad campaigns and pour all their money into display marketing. That's great, especially when you know what you're doing and actively manage your campaigns by analyzing data. Yet, if you're only doing ads, you're ignoring a material portion of the online marketing puzzle.
Content marketing is a great way to increase revenues. In order to effectively utilize this strategy, it's important to develop a sound content plan and to understand the reasons behind the content.
Here are three things to consider:
- You need to create quality content. Focus on creating articles, videos or posts that add value to a viewer's life. You get to decide the message and the intended outcome, yet content that focuses on educating, empowering or inspiring viewers is a great way to go. When you educate, you add value while building trust and increasing your authority on the topic at hand. And you'll see more and higher quality engagement and a higher likelihood that others will share your content.
- Content marketing has lasting benefits for each unit of work you invest. When content is posted online (your blog, LinkedIn, etc) it persists and can be found by people in the future. There is value from a search engine optimization (SEO) perspective, as viewers can find your content via search engines and on social media platforms.
- You should make an effort to consolidate your content marketing around a central message and brand identity. This way your efforts will be consistent and coordinated across your blog, medium and social media content.
2. Superior user experiences and customer service
You will rarely ever hear customer service regarded as a revenue generator. It's a shame too, because data suggests that customer service is a great way to increase sales.
There's two reasons for this. First, a great customer service experience builds loyalty, which can lead to additional purchases and/or referrals to new customers. Secondly, it can save a customer from leaving and doing the opposite: leaving bad reviews. Together, both these benefits help you maximize the costs you incurred to acquire each new customer.
Strong data exists that backs up why a good customer experience (and good customer service) is so important. You can see the data in this article, but overall, people are more likely to leave a bad review than a good one. Therefore, you'll likely encounter more bad reviews.
This is an issue because the ratio between bad experiences and bad reviews, and good experiences and good reviews, is not one you can overcome naturally. You must create great consumer experiences, and if you can't (or when mistakes happen), you must have great customer service.
Here are some tips for great customer service:
Set realistic expectations. If you can't offer 24/7 support, don't advertise it. Make sure you can deliver on any expectations you set. Remember, it's better to over-deliver than to over-promise.
Engage customers on multiple channels. Make sure you're able to offer basic channels like phone, email, and chat support.
Utilize social media. Users will often reach out on social media.
If you take the time to improve your customer service, you will be surprised at the revenue it generates.
As more and more businesses move online, it's important to look at the online and offline sources to additional revenue. For as great as fancy ad campaigns can be, you won't capture the full value if you don't address the human experiences of your customers - and support them. There's no replacement for educating your customers and benefiting from the trust and brand authority it creates. As you look at 2019, consider how these two strategies can improve your sales and business.