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Marketing Research

It is difficult to be both a specialist in your profession and an expert in understanding your current and potential customers. If your expertise is in being a chef or hair stylist, you shouldn’t expect to launch a top-notch website or marketing campaign using analytics, data analysis, or customer insight without actually taking the time to understand marketing research in the same way that you learned your profession. In developing marketing strategies and enhancing your knowledge, it is essential to conduct market research to better comprehend your customer base and their needs. Like any profession, effective marketing requires time and dedication to gain the experience necessary to properly research and analyze your customers, considering they do not always think, act, believe, or have the same priorities or values as you. The keys to understanding how to grow your business are in researching your industry and target consumer group. Once you have researched your customers and analyzed the data, you need to develop a targeted strategy to grow sales. Only then will your marketing efforts and business flourish.

Cost Per Click

Google’s Ad Rank program is designed to help you display the most relevant ad content to your customers and to provide an equal system that benefits both the customer and your business. The Ad Rank system is controlled by your ad quality, which is determined by the websites click through rate (CTR) and ad relevance to landing page content and keywords used. Ad Rank works by helping customers gain satisfaction through seeing more relevant ads to their keyword, and you get to show more relevant ads for your product or service so that you attract the right customer group. The result is that your business gains satisfied and relevant customers. Additionally, Ad Rank is used to determine where (and if) your ads appear and how much you pay each time a user clicks on your ad. The ranking system is created using a mathematical formula that decides which ads appear within the top positions of Google’s AdWords.

A cost-per-click (CPC) is the amount you choose or agree to pay each time a potential customer clicks on your Google ad in AdWords. A Quality Score is a numerical estimate based on the overall combined quality of your ads, keywords, and landing pages. The formula used to create your Ad Rank is: Ad Rank = Max CPC x Quality Score.

Example Case Study. Mike’s Biscuits (MB) has a current quality score of 3 for the keyword “Dog Biscuits.” To find the Ad Rank position, MB can calculate the Max CPC ($4) by the Quality Score (3), and the result equals 12. If MB raises its quality score to at least a 7, the company could easily lower its CPC to $2 and end with an overall rank of 14. With a higher quality score, MB can pay half the cost and rank higher than with its lower quality score of 3 and budget of $4. To raise its Ad Rank position, MB should focus on raising its quality score by increasing its click-through-rate (CTR), keyword relevancy to users’ search query’s, and by creating an optimized landing page that holds original relevant content. The higher the quality score, the lower the CPC. Ultimately, the Google quality score system allows for the prevention of advertisers to pay their way to the top of the search results within Google’s search engine. With this system, the higher quality score will save the advertiser money, create better placement, and increase the business’s revenue.

Website Marketing

While social media sites are great for blogging and news updates, you should also include the blog text and updates on your business website so that it creates more content and attracts attention from search engines. By utilizing blogs and newsgroups to attract website visitors, you can create an effective strategy which will help gain and increase website click-through rates and the length of time users spend on your website. This could ultimately help with increasing search engine credibility and domain authority. In addition, including keywords and descriptions in image ALT tags on your website will create an extremely effective strategy that is not only beneficial for improving content search results but will also boost your rank in image search directories.

You should additionally include an easy bookmark feature on your website. By including a bookmark widget, you can gain customer loyalty and rank better with search engines that index bookmark websites such as Del.icio.us and Google bookmarks.

To create a strategy that will encourage customer interactivity, you can also setup email marketing and newsletter campaigns along with creating polls and surveys to gain customer feedback and help enhance the experience of your customers. Newsletters could include information on upcoming specials, events, and changes in the business that could benefit the customer.

Links for allowing customers to opt out of receiving emails and referring a friend for discounts should also be included in each newsletter. Your business can benefit by tracking the results of email campaigns using newsletter and website tracking tools such as Google Analytics. By viewing monthly reports, you will be able to see which keywords, content, and paid campaigns are most effective. In addition, it will allow for you to see where visitors come from, how long they visit a certain web page, the last page they viewed before leaving your website, and how your stats compare to the industry benchmarks.

Hiring the right graphic artist

Hiring the right designer

While it’s easy to find a designer, hiring a graphic artist who understands marketing and web design will save you time, headaches, and printing dollars.

A graphic artist has a responsibility to efficiently combine art and technology by using strategic placement of text and images. This combination should communicate a message that generates a sale.

When seeking a graphic artist, you need to view their portfolio of work and be sure that they show versatility. Once you find a designer that matches your style, you need to assess their professionalism and reliability. This includes references, experience, knowledge, education, and price.

Having the right professional means that you will end up with a more creative, appealing, and polished project the first time around.

Economic and Perceived Value Pricing

Real and Perceived Value
The price of a product is reflected based on the financial needs for growth and operation of the company, in addition to consumers’ perceived value of the product. Businesses have a goal of making a profit, which often requires selling items at a perceived value. Real and perceived values are different ways in which products are valued, which are generally based on economic impacts and competition. In addition, the relevancy to the consumer determines the value of the product. If the product or message is not relevant or does not affect the consumer personally, it will not be as effective as if it did.

Advantages and Disadvantages
Value pricing allows companies to influence consumer purchases by offering lower prices for competitive products. Real value is generally easier to measure than perceived value. Factors that increase the value of real value include the cost of labor, materials, marketing, shipping, and product development. Product distribution, marketing efforts, and brand value determine the products perceived value. For example if two competitors are to sell the exact same item, built exactly the same way, and from the same materials, it is likely that the company with the better brand value reputation can sell the item at a higher price because of the perceived value by the consumer. If the consumer perceives the value of the product high, the consumer will likely show more interest. The consumers’ perception of the company’s customer support, trust, loyalty, and product quality determine the products value.

Services and Products
Value pricing attracts value conscious customers. The actual cost of the product production determines the real values. In addition, the real value depends on the usefulness of the product to the consumer as well as the value of the product components. Perceived value is based on how much money the consumer or business believes the product is worth. It is the marketer’s responsibility to generate a positive perceived value of the company’s products. Whether marketing a service or a product, the results are similar in that both rely on the consumers’ perception of the company’s or individual’s expertise, quality, and reputation. In addition, both products and services have other components necessary to complete certain task. While a product may have additional parts and components, a service technician or company is likely to have to purchase tools, software, and other items necessary to complete the service.

Perceived value for individuals looking to invest into higher education tremendously affects the institutions price. Students and family perceive the value of the institution to be within the quality of the education. Consequently, the higher the perceived value of quality, the higher the cost of tuition. Research, however, has not proven a correlation between institutional cost and actual quality. Perceived value of an institution does correlate a student’s likelihood of enrollment. Perceived value of an education has three main factors, which include, quality, cost, and emotional attachment. Failing to satisfy either of these could jeopardize the student’s enrollment potential, as it will affect the students perceived value.

In marketing, generating excitement can also generate a sale and loyal customer. If a user is excited about a product, they may ignore the cost and quality factor. To enroll students into an institution, the marketing and sales team should seek to expose students to information and experiences that excites them and builds passion for the brand.

Real and perceived value offers many benefits to businesses and consumers. The impact of marketing and social networks real and perceived value in regards to marketing efforts is hard to determine. For instance, LinkedIn is a social network that is said to build business networks and promote expertise. However, it is difficult for a user to determine the real value of a paid account, free account, or whether the service is actually making a difference and producing what its purposed to do.

The LinkedIn site is available in 20 languages, and has 238 million users globally. The Internet-based service is similar to a Rolodex of business contacts. As a user, the platform may be a good place to build a brand, increase online visibility, and grow a professional network. It is the users responsibility to determine what the real value of the LinkedIn platform is based on their needs. Although the real value may be worth the free account, the perceived value could be priceless if the user uses the platform to truly build a network and search for a new career.

If an individual truly believes in the quality and value of a product or service, then the perceived value becomes more valuable than the real value. Online platforms, website, and social networking sites work just as traditional products and services regarding real and perceived value.

Search engine optimization (SEO)

SEO is about optimizing your website to increase traffic by improving internal and external strategies that will ultimately increase site traffic to your website. Businesses that practice SEO can vary, and there are many unique elements to consider when optimizing a website. The goal of SEO is to discover the search terms and phrases needed to build and generate website traffic. Don’t worry, if you’re confused about this, you are not alone.

Most web traffic is guided by three major search engines (Google, Bing, and Yahoo!). If your site isn’t found by search engines or your content isn’t optimized enough to be picked-up by their databases, you lose a great opportunity of marketing your website to potential clients or customers. Whether your site provides services, content, information, or products search engines are a primary navigation method for almost all internet users. Experience and statistics have proven that search engine traffic can make (or break) a website’s or business’ success. SEO targeted website visitors provide revenue, publicity, and exposure like no other. Investing in SEO, whether through finances or time, can create an exceptional rate of return.

Working With SEO. To create a successful website with proper SEO, you must first be sure that the website is well built as it plays a significant role in how search engines analyze your domain rank and relevancy. In creating your website, you must first be sure that the website is appealing to the customer and that the site is easily navigable. The way to create the proper architecture for a website is to build a site that is flat and has minimum clicks necessary for the user to get to the destination page.

In addition to creating the proper navigational structure of the website, you must also check for broken internal and external links. There are many useful tools for finding broken links which will crawl through your website and recognize any broken links that forward to 404 or corrupted pages. Another technique for improving the architecture of your website is to check the server header response code and duplicate content. If either of these is found, they should be corrected. While some of the concerns may need to be fixed by the sites developer, others can be fixed by simply changing some wording or taking the proper steps with search engines to correct the information.

Finally, make sure that your website has the proper architecture and has one main URL by setting up a canonical 301 redirect if needed to change www… to non-www. To search engines, having your site accessible by both looks like two different websites and your domain authority may be negatively affected. In addition, be sure to remove any developmental site that was used to originally create the website. By leaving the developmental website on its server, this creates duplicate content that can get crawled by search engines and create a negative impact on your main website. Once the live site is up and running, the developmental site should be taken down and removed from search engines if it exists.

An SEO campaign is based on the cornerstone of on-page optimization. However, when it comes to which on-page SEO techniques really work, there are 8 opinions for every 5 experts. When your business is at stake, you can’t just optimize your website and hope that it works. You need to be completely confident that everything you do will help your rankings. Moreover, you need to be sure that you’ve done everything on the SEO checklist and your website is optimized across the board.

Don’t try to do everything

One of the biggest business mistakes I have ever made was trying to do everything myself. I wore the hats of the marketing department, sales, customer service, collections, technical support, developer, graphic artist, etc.

I understand that you may want to save money or may simply not have the financial support to hire someone else to complete additional task. However, do what you need until you can get help and then get the help. If you have to cut your pay temporarily to hire a project manager while you handle sales, you will be grateful in the end. Else, you’ll drain yourself empty and never have the time to do what you love.

Do yourself a favor and focus on what made you love the idea of being a business owner in the first place.

Personal Branding

Important of organizational branding
Brands are often an organization’s most valuable asset. A strong brand can generate a loyal consumer and positive sales. It is the responsibility of the marketer to create a brand that consumers view as positive and valuable. In order for the brand to be valuable to the consumer, it needs to simplify the decision making process and reduce the risk for the consumer. Positive branding can influence consumer behavior. Having a strong brand will result in better earnings and profit performance, which will generate greater shareholder value for the organization.

Personal brand in 21st century
Personal branding is important within the 21st century. Many hiring organizations research employees on the Internet and find unsettling information that could have been prevented by the individual had they monitored their personal brand. Personal branding can have a tremendous affect on how an employee, celebrity, or public figure is viewed. A negative brand can cause job loss, rejection, or public humiliation for individuals. To create a successful personal brand, individuals can research their name online to find and remove negative information associated with them. In addition, they could enhance their current online presence and create content that promotes their best assets. Furthermore, individuals could promote their brand by having peers and organizations recommend and bolster their positive skillsets to others. This can be done by networking and creating friendships with industry influencers.

Branding process
The term personal brand was first introduced in an article by author Tom Peters in 1997. The process was developed to help individual’s use critical thinking and analytical reasoning to enhance their career planning. Within brand credibility, third-party endorsements have a tremendous affect on generating credibility for individuals as well as businesses, which assist with spreading positive brand awareness. Individual branding is different in that it requires a positive attitude and relationship building. Unlike business branding, which recommends posting a social ad or banner on a webpage, billboard, and in magazines, personal branding requires networking. Networking can be done via social networks, local group meetings, and events. In addition, during these networking sessions the individual needs to be likable and must present good character.

Branding involves creating, maintaining, and enhancing brand awareness. Marketers can purchase advertising targeted at audiences based on behavioral indicators and key performance indicators. This method is often used in online social media spaces by large brands. This practice does not differ based on the type of product or if that product is a person or an intangible asset. In addition, endorsements help enhance consumers’ attitudes and behaviors toward the brand. Attitudes toward the brands message have an impact on the consumers’ purchase and behavioral intentions. To promote the brand, marketers could invest in advertising, which is a more general means of communication for promoting the brand.

A perfect example of marketing based on consumers’ brand attitude and publicity is the beats headphone brand. The brand was introduced without a large budget and focused on building credibility through celebrity and word-of-mouth. As the consumers accepted the credibility as positive, they spread word about the product as being a commodity to those interested in owning the popular brand. With the help of social promotions, celebrity credibility, industry targeted publicity, and brand messaging; the brand has developed into a multi-billion dollar company.

Marketing-oriented publicity enhances positive and negative cognitive responses of a buyer. A positive cognitive response enhances the brand messaging for the consumer, which has an impact on their purchasing decision. Consequently, a negative attitude and cognitive response toward the brand messaging reducing the likelihood of a consumer purchasing.

A personal brand is a presentation of an individuals unique skills, knowledge, experience, and expertise that make the individual memorable to other. These unique assets influence employers to hire and professionals to want to work with individuals. In order for individuals to expand their social brand and generate brand awareness, they can start by creating or cleaning up their social media pages. On social media pages individuals should not post anything that they don’t want employers to see. This includes both text and images. In addition to social media pages, individuals should create digital portfolios and personal websites. The benefits of these are that employers can easily find websites and it allows the individual to present themselves in favorable conditions.

In addition to creating and enhancing the personal brand, the individual should always monitor their brand activity. For instance, the individual can google their name and see what content shows. If the content is something unfavorable, they should contact the content poster or website and ask for it to be removed. Or remove it themselves if they have access.

Impact of Reviews on Marketing Objective

Customer engagement is critical when working to develop brand awareness and increase sales. Negative customer reviews affect small businesses significantly more than larger businesses. Consequently, depending upon your business size, customer reviews may not always have a significant influence on your profitability. Additionally, reviews, whether positive or negative, do not have a significant influence on customers familiar with your business. Similar to a tree in the forest, a review alone is not going to gain or lose new business for a client, but can help to sway a potential customer to make a decision either way. Engaging with customers is a strategy recommended by marketing agencies to create a competitive advantage by building relationships with customers. If the objective of your business is customer acquisition, retention, or brand awareness, then customer reviews can affect your marketing strategy development.

Because of social media, customer feedback and reviews can quickly reach a broad audience and have an immediate effect on the success of your business’s marketing efforts. Due to the popularity of the internet, you can analyze and predict customer behaviors by using social networks and review-based websites. Your business should spend marketing dollars wisely, so gaining more reviews is not always as important as generating brand awareness through other reliable methods of marketing. Your marketing strategies should focus on relationship building with customers to better develop successful strategies for increasing customer loyalty and sales. However, you are likely not effectively accomplishing your marketing objective if you are receiving a significant amount of negative reviews.

Customer Marketing

Purpose of Marketing

Without marketing, your business is taking the risk of losing customers and revenue. Think of your brand, website, or artwork as a resume. You spend hours or days writing, designing, and editing it to perfection, not to mention the years of enhancing and refining your background with experience and education. After you’ve culminated and perfected your resume, what next? What’s the next step to ensuring that you land that dream job? The appropriate response is to send your resume to employers. In the context of business, that’s called marketing. You must market yourself to win the job. A terribly unattractive resume sent to potential employers has a higher probability of landing a job over a superb resume sitting in a drawer. Without marketing, you will waste time and money creating a great brand that never gets noticed.

Customer Marketing

If your marketing strategy is not structured on the purchasing needs and wants of your desired customer, you are missing the mark in marketing. An effective campaign is one that influences customers to make a purchase. The secret is to build trust and positive brand awareness through attractive and targeted marketing. Additionally, the campaign should aim at solving the customer’s hesitation to purchase. As customers make purchases, a trend will develop, outlining likes and dislikes based on what sells and what doesn’t.

A Hesitant Customer. All customers experience some hesitancy before making purchases. They don’t simply walk into a store or view a website and make a purchase without thinking about it. How long they hesitate is where you should focus your marketing. For example, a product discounted with a “One day only” stamp will make the customer spend less time debating the purchase because of the urgency of the deadline. If you want a today purchase, you should try marketing your product or service so that it positively influences the customer to decide and act quickly.

As a business owner, you have the responsibility to provide customers with the information they need to make a purchase. If presented effectively, the information you provide customers can persuade them to believe they need what your business is selling, even if the product is outside of their immediate desires or needs. In this sense, information used within your marketing efforts are responsible for shaping the needs and wants of your customers. The implication is that, through marketing, you can capitalize on your customers’ internal weakness and persuade them to make a purchase.

A customer purchase is often based on one of three factors; (1) whether the product or service will help the customer be more productive; (2) whether the product or service can satisfy the things or people the customer cares most about; or (3) whether it fulfills a desire or need.

When marketing, you should understand how your product can solve your customers’ problem or situation. If you know your customers’ habits, likes, or dislikes you can market based on how your product will fit into their lifestyles. From there, the customer will be less hesitant to make the purchase and will have a solid answer as to why they need your product.

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