I am often asked what the best marketing strategy is. The person could be asking for the best marketing strategy for their book or their business or a specific product/service—it doesn’t matter. The answer is always the same.
And it sometimes changes.
The best marketing strategy is the one that puts whatever you’re offering in front of people who will want or need it in such a way that the benefits are obvious to them and the price makes it a no brainer.
That’s a pretty tall order.
And marketers do it every day.
There are tons of marketing strategies. There are different types of media that you can use. The combinations are close to infinite. Finding the one best strategy is an impossibility. You will never know if there is some other strategy out there that will work better because even if you find one that works better than what you’re already doing, there may still be another that you haven’t found. Yet.
I don’t like to put my all marketing eggs in one basket. I don’t know any reputable marketing consultant who does. How many people have built up a following on a platform like Facebook or Twitter, only to have their account shut down? It was a great strategy…until it wasn’t.
Platforms come and go. Potential ways to reach your clients are put in front of you every day: video emails, podcasts, pay per click, a special advertising section in your local paper, your kids’ school newsletter, SuperBowl ads. There’s always something new coming around the corner.
Some work. Some don’t. Some work for some businesses and fail completely for others. Some are out of our marketing budget. Most have the wrong target audience. Some might work for a segment of your customer base and you might need another strategy for a different segment. Or one might work for one of your products and not another.
Marketing is subjective. There is no one best marketing strategy.
The Best Marketing Strategy is Consistency.
There’s an old adage that says even poor marketing, done consistently, will work over time. It’s true. You must be consistent in your marketing to get results.
Consistency means that if you say you’ll send out a newsletter every Friday, that newsletter goes out every Friday. If you are blogging once a month, you put up a new blog post every month. If you have a podcast, you put out a new podcast on a regular, scheduled basis.
Consistency builds the all-important “know, like, and trust” factor but it is particularly strong on building trust. You do the same thing, just as you said you would, for weeks, then months. That same thing doesn’t have to be a grand, sweeping gesture. A savvy marketer I know built up a Facebook page to over 750,000 followers and never bought a single ad. All organic. Her baseline marketing: Four posts every day, including one wishing people good morning and the last post of the day saying good night. Every day. A minimum of four posts, including those two bookends.
Consistency’s Corollary: Give Your Strategy Time to Work
Before committing to a marketing strategy, you need to set milestones to measure whether or not the strategy is working. Not all strategies work at the same speed. According to JWM Business Services, a .5% to 2% response rate is average for a direct mail campaign. (If you’re thinking, “Snail mail sucks” the Association of National Advertisers found that the email response rate is about 1%.)
Studies show that it takes somewhere between 4 to 7 impressions—people seeing your ad—before the ad starts to register with them. You send one mailing, maybe your response rate is 0.5%. The second mailing might net the same results. By the fourth or fifth time you send, your response rate could be in the 5% to 9% range. But if you didn’t know that it would take seven separate mailings to the same people to net the results you wanted, you might have given up after the second or third mailing.
You have to give your strategy time to work. And in order to do that, you need to set aside the funds to do so. If mailing to the same 500 people every month will run $750, plan on budgeting a minimum of $5,000 to see the campaign through. If you send three mailings and run out of money, you’ve wasted not just money, but time and effort. I tell my clients I would rather see them mail ten times to 500 people than once to 5,000.
Important Note: Don’t count on sales to cover your costs immediately. Marketing takes time. It’s not a ploy to get you to buy more advertising.
You can speed up that time, of course. You can email daily instead of weekly. You can put up a new YouTube video every day instead of once a week or run a weekly webinar instead of once a month. That’s a function of time and money.
Which comes back to consistency. Whatever marketing strategies you decide on, make sure you have the resources—time, money, and knowledge—to see them through.
If you’d like to learn more about putting together a marketing plan that is practical, implementable, and effective, I highly and shamelessly recommend my book, The 8 Step Marketing Plan. Available on Amazon. Of course.