Expert insights: an interview with Sara Rego, Marketing Director at UK2Group.
Marketing is an essential part of business in both the online and offline worlds. Reaching customers – and engaging with them – has become increasingly challenging for brands as we continue through the digital age, and never before has marketing had such an impact on the success of a business. We caught up with Sara Rego, Marketing Director here at UK2, to chat a bit about how businesses should be marketing themselves to have the greatest impact.
What are the first steps for a fledgling business owner looking to begin marketing their products/services?
Marketing is all about people. First thing’s first: any new business needs to ask the all important “who am I?” question. Self certainty goes a long way in business; once you are clear on what your USP is – what sets you aside from your competitors – you will have a clearer idea of which marketing channels will serve your business best.
Why should someone buy from you? What problem are you solving for your potential customers? The answers to these questions are key customer profiling identifiers; once you know your audience you can craft your marketing campaigns for maximum impact. Don’t sell a product, solve a problem.
One top tip: never promise something you’re not able to deliver. There’s nothing worse than disappointing your customers; their trust should be precious to your company, and you should be well aware that that trust is easily broken.
How important is a business website to marketing a business?
For today’s business having a website is absolutely essential. Be it a one-pager or a comprehensive eCommerce online store, your business needs to make its mark on the web in some way. Today’s world is digital; your potential customers will use the ‘net to source information about your company, products and services, and even customer reviews.
Your website showcases who you are. As UK2 CEO John Morris says: a website can be compared to a high street shop. If you don’t have one, how can you expect customers to find out that you exist, and then make a purchase from you? Most businesses nowadays don’t have shops, they have websites. How can anyone know you exist if you don’t have one?
Be sure to update your website regularly: change the hero images according to seasons, update the pages and add information on when the page was last updated. Add FAQ sections to your landing pages so your customers have relevant content that will be useful to them, and launch a blog if you have the time; becoming a thought leader in your industry is great business practice.
Do all businesses need to be on social media? Which is the best channel to use?
No they don’t! Only be on social media if you have time to keep it updated and to reply to any possible queries. There’s nothing worse than landing on the social media page of a brand who hasn’t updated it in months and who hasn’t replied to customer queries.
If you have the time and bandwidth to monitor and update a social media channel regularly then great! It’s an invaluable social listening tool. The best channel is mainly related to your industry and there is no need to have a presence on more than two or three channels; you’ll find it difficult to keep on top of several channels.
If you’re a plumber being on Twitter might not do much for your business, but you could use a visual platform such as Instagram to showcase the before and after of your work. If you own a bakery, LinkedIn might not be useful but you’ll find that Pinterest is perfect to connect with an engaged audience.
Is paid search worth the investment?
Marketing has become very data driven; where you are spending your budget needs to be constantly monitored to make sure you have a positive return on investment.
Is paid search worth the investment? I would say that it depends on your product or service. There are keywords such as “cloud” that can reach $100 per click, is this within your budget? The cloud computing industry is certainly booming, so some paid search investment may help you stand out in a crowded marketplace. Be sure you have a positive return on investment, otherwise it’s certainly not worth it. Here you will also need to consider Customer Lifetime Value and upsell opportunities to have a clear idea of the value of your investment.
It’s worth investing some budget in brand awareness, and this can be done via social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter, where you can target prospects using very specific keywords.
How do you see marketing evolving in the future? And what marketing channel do you feel is the most important to today’s businesses?
The future of marketing is data-driven. I truly believe that more and more marketers will understand the need to monitor which activities and channels work, quantifying their efforts to constantly improve their marketing strategies. Insights into the success of your marketing efforts are invaluable, and with the array of data available to businesses today it’s never been easier to grasp how well you’re performing; this will continue into the future on a larger scale (think big data).
There’s a need to understand how the marketing activities can integrate with sales, retention, and business results; marketing focused businesses are customer focused businesses. This will drive the need to have data scientists working in marketing departments to guarantee all efforts are measured and tied to business results.
Right now, organic is one of our most important channels and where a lot of our effort goes into. It’s a highly competitive channel with constant changes and fluctuations, which can actually be very nerve wracking!