Email is still king (and 4 other great facts about effective tech marketing)
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Before becoming an entrepreneur, I had a long career as an internal marketing manager. During this time, I began to closely follow a few companies that stood out as thought leaders in B2B marketing. One of them is Gartner. So when I saw a recent analysis from Gartner on how to generate better demand generation, I had to take the plunge.
The challenge with these reports is that they are usually very business-focused. In my work as a small business marketing consultant, I’m much more interested in what those results mean for small business owners. With that in mind, here’s a look at what entrepreneurs can learn from this report.
1. Email is still king
Every year you hear a lot of people predicting the death of email. Well, email marketing continues to shine — in fact, it was the top performing channel in 2021. If you’ve cut back on email usage, or it just hasn’t been a priority for your business, now is the time to start investing.
2. But you need to think beyond email sends and newsletters
Gartner notes that respondents mentioned challenges “aligning their messaging strategy with the right messaging.” That’s why you need to create more sophisticated nurturing campaigns (also known as “drip emails”) that are closely aligned with the problems and challenges your customers face – and how you solve them in a meaningful way. unique.
Most of the time, small businesses just do basic email marketing, like sending out a monthly newsletter and the occasional list-wide “blowout” when they have something new. important to say. Today’s buyers expect more, and if you don’t provide that, one of your competitors will be happy to do so and take the business away from you.
Related: Why You’re Using Drip Email Wrong (And What To Do Instead)
3. It’s time to diversify your marketing mix
Your current marketing plan may focus on a small handful of areas. Many small businesses I work with use a few basic tactics, like trade shows, email, and social media; maybe they also have a blog where they occasionally post an article. It’s good to start somewhere, but the most successful companies diversify where they spend their time and money.
So how do you decide what to try next? A good guideline is to start by looking at what you already do and what works best. Then think about what marketing tactics you can use to complement them. For example, if you attend a lot of trade shows, you can start doing more content marketing so you can pitch your eBook or white paper to the people you meet at the show. If social media is working great, try another angle that you’re not already doing, like creating video content or posting polls to get even more engagement.
Related: 5 High-Impact Marketing Tactics to Boost Your Software Company’s Sales
4. You probably don’t understand your customers well enough.
Of the dozens of small businesses I’ve worked with, I can count on those that make the effort to really understand their customers. Without a thorough understanding of the customer, you will spin your sales and marketing wheels without getting results. Every customer has different needs and wants, and you can’t guess them. Take the time to step back and deliberately understand customers by creating buyer personas. What you learn from this process will dramatically increase the results you get from your marketing efforts.
5. Activating your entire funnel is more important than ever
When I start working with a new company, the most common thing I see is that their existing marketing efforts only focus on part of the sales funnel. They may post on their blog and social media which helps the top of the funnel, but they neglect to create case studies and demos which can improve the bottom of the funnel. Or they may be very good at creating sales materials and spec sheets, but struggle to create useful educational content.
When you’re only doing part of the funnel well, it’s going to severely limit the results you see from your sales and marketing. If you’ve prioritized the bottom of the funnel while neglecting the top, you don’t have many leads to share your awesome brochures and spec sheets with. And conversely, if you’re doing really well with the top of the funnel but the bottom is kind of overlooked, you’re going to attract a good amount of leads, but very few of them are going to turn into customers.
Using their buyer personas, business leaders need to begin to better understand their entire funnel that their prospects must pass through to buy from them. Creating a content map is a great way to do this: you identify the content at the top, middle, and bottom of the funnel that you should have to activate your buyers. And then you can assess what assets you have and what remains to be created. Simply put: an incomplete funnel will only generate incomplete results.
Learn from the best to improve your small business marketing
One of the best ways to thrive in marketing your business is to understand what the heavy hitters do, simplify it, and apply it to your own business. These big names are looking at a handful of key trends, and the small businesses that follow will reap big rewards. Hit the gas with your messaging efforts. Diversify beyond the marketing you already do. Build your customer understanding and use it to create a full funnel experience. If you can do this, you’ll stay ahead of your competition in winning the new business you need to grow.
Related: 3 Very Simple Ways to Understand What Your Customer Wants