In Marketing, If All Else Fails, Be Aggressive
Sometimes we run into small to midsize business owners that are reticent about marketing too aggressively. We often hear: “I would never click on that” or “I get tired of receiving all those emails myself” or “I can’t stand it when I get marketed to that way.” Certainly, marketing fatigue is a real thing and you can definitely end up pissing off customers or potential customers if you are in their faces too much. But here’s the thing, unless you really know your audience well and have actually done non-biased research, you can’t claim they’ll react the same way you do to marketing promotions. That’s what we in the business call “grandmother’s research” – my grandmother doesn’t like it so I’m not going to do it.
Indeed, most small to midsize business owners we know are far from hitting that point of promotion fatigue – and they could use to be much more aggressive.
Why Does Being Aggressive in Marketing Work?
Marketing research has long suggested that anywhere from 8 to 14 touchpoints, on average, are necessary before customers will consider buying from a particular company. That’s a lot of touches (and it’s probably on the low end.) Just think of Coca-Cola, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Salesforce, or any other major company marketing to you today. Do you think they’re having serious conversations about how often they’re showing up in front of you? Of course not. They’re all about building their brand so they stay top-of-mind when it comes to you making a decision about purchasing. The more you can make audiences think of you at that right time, the more likely it is they will go with you because you’re already familiar to them.
What Channels Should Small Businesses ‘Pump Up’?
Now that we’ve established the basic psychology of most buyers, here are a few channels that we often see businesses de-emphasize to the point where they often don’t do as much as they could:
Channel No. 1: Email. The other day (as a research project), we signed up on a platform for actors, kind of a matchmaking service between those casting roles and those seeking acting opportunities. By the end of day 1, we had received 8 emails as an “actor” in the Washington, D.C. area. The company has now continued this pattern for the past 3 weeks. Eight emails a day for 3 weeks! That’s a lot by any measure and probably on the side of overkill, but who do we now think of when it comes to platforms in this space? Who would we now recommend to others if they asked us who they should sign up with? Well, certainly the first thought we would have would be the company that puts itself in front of us.
Contrast that with a lot of small and midsize businesses we know who tell us that 1 email per month is a lot for their customer to take. That may be true if you’ve actually asked them and they’ve all told you that. But it’s likely they could probably stand to hear from you a lot more often via email.
To give you an example, we recently worked with a non-profit that was promoting its conference. Compared to the previous year, we recommended that the company significantly increase the volume of emails it was sending about the event. Why? Because the data suggests that email not only converts, but it’s also the best way to reach many of the organization’s existing audiences. The result: The conference doubled in size from the original expectations. And a lot of that success was because of the volume of emails that were sent.
Channel No. 2: Content. One of the bits of advice we give companies – especially those with smaller budgets – is to get more aggressive in the creation of content. There’s a reason content is the guerrilla marketing of today. If you do it yourself, it’s generally free (or mostly inexpensive) to create and it’s probably the best way to put your company forward. Yet, a lot of companies still don’t do it. Many say they don’t know what to produce, or it’s too hard, or they’re just simply not skilled or interested when it comes to content creation. That’s OK. You just have to recognize the value it brings, and if you still don’t want to do it, think about hiring an agency to help you. If you do want to do it yourself, here are 6 examples of great content done by small businesses.
Channel No. 3: Social Media. If part of your strategy is to create great content, then you have to distribute it – and there’s no reason not to distribute it on social media. Indeed, one of the biggest cardinal sins that we see companies make (of all sizes) is to produce content but then sit on it, fiddle with it, and then bury it, which is rather inexplicable. But that’s what sometimes happens.
Social media is a great place to promote content of any kind. And organically it’s free to post on all the major channels. So, make sure to do it – often. One thing a lot of people don’t realize about social media is that the platforms will reward great content (that which gets a lot of engagement – primarily shares and comments) by showing it more often to followers and friends of followers. It will also boost the visibility of companies that post multiple times per day because they are feeding the site’s content machine.
As a result, don’t be shy about posting. If you’re not doing it every day, or multiple times a week at the very least, you’re probably wasting an opportunity. One thing you should never do: Create a channel that’s a “ghost town” – where you start a channel and then abandon it. Take the time to build it up, even if it’s slow at first, and stick with it. All that work will pay off in the end if you can create engaging content.
Channel No. 4: Advertising. We don’t say this to be self-serving as an agency that provides paid media services but companies that advertise steadily and stick with it will generally find that their brand recognition improves and, as a result, they stay top-of-mind when the time comes for those audiences to make a decision about a purchase. The one mistake we see companies make here: They’re often not aggressive enough. Most of the time, it’s because their budgets are too low (which often affects their impression share on the various ad platforms). Sometimes, too, these companies will purposely keep the ad frequency lower so as not to overwhelm the customer even though more touchpoints are probably required.
One of the mantras we often say about advertising: Go big or go home. A single banner ad placement (which is something we see many small businesses buy) will neither provide the impact nor the performance in terms of conversion. Honestly, it’s a waste of money. If you’re going to buy display advertising as an example, it’s only really worth it if you do an ad takeover or you do multiple ad spots, as you want to up the frequency as much as you can given your budget.
We hope the message is clear. It’s always better to err on the side of being aggressive in marketing. For even if you don’t execute the promotions well, you’ll make up for it by staying in front of your audiences. Contact us anytime for a free consultation if you need additional support. As always, our mission is to help you excel in digital marketing.
 Or you can always use retargeting as well, which is the process by which you put ads in front of individuals who are already on your email list or have visited your website recently.