Marketing is a tough part of business. Whether you’re a marketing pro or you’re trying to promote your business on your own, there’s a lot to learn. If you’re in a niche industry, the challenge can be even more formidable because you’re aiming at a smaller target.
Part of the reason today’s marketing climate is so daunting is the sheer volume of information you need to know. A clever newspaper ad, eye-catching billboard, or the biggest ad in the phone book won’t cut it. Great marketing embraces finding the perfect way to reach your target audience — and oftentimes, that’s online.
Especially if you want to tackle your own marketing, you should take advantage of the abundance of easily accessible information. Whether you think your efforts are a success or failure, there’s always room to do better. To improve your marketing efforts, take advantage of these four resources.
1. Books on Marketing Strategies
Regardless of their format — hardback, paperback, digital, or audio — books remain some of the best sources of marketing wisdom. Savvy, successful people like to share their secrets with anyone willing to read about them. Use that healthy bit of ego to benefit your marketing know-how.
To make choosing a book a little easier, home in on a specific marketing topic, like search engine optimization for your industry niche. For example, if you want to improve your law firm’s search ranking, look for one about law firm SEO. Then, browse for authors who have achieved stellar results, awards, and kudos for their expertise on that subject.
Try to not get overwhelmed by the choices, because that’s easy to do. Just as you would probably do when buying a pair of noise-canceling headphones, read the reviews. Authors worth their salt will garner great editorial reviews from those in the industry — friends and competitors alike.
Books may seem a little old-school in the digital age, but they’re still around for a reason. Buy that hardback or paperback and bust out the highlighter. You’ll not only learn some helpful secrets, but you’ll have an easy reference you can return to again and again.
2. Search Engines
Internet search engines are fantastic resources for a lot of reasons, including upping your marketing game. You can use search engines in a couple of key ways, starting with tracking trending keywords to improve SEO. You can also use them to find a wealth of information about your competitors, prospective clients, and your industry.
Even if you aren’t buying Google Ads, set up a free account and use its keyword planner. It reveals keywords trending in your industry so you can use them in your content. You’ll see how much better long-tail and location-specific keywords may work for your content.
Use those popular keywords to see who lands on page one of the search rankings. Those are the competitors that your target audience is finding instead of you. Click through their content and website to see what they may be doing better and use that knowledge to improve yours.
You may also find articles about hot topics that use competitors as expert sources for stories. Learn more about those sources and develop strategies to put your business in the industry expert seat. All that material is out there, just waiting for you to find it and put it to work.
3. Google Analytics
It’s true that when talking about search engines, Google is usually used by name. That’s because the overwhelming majority of online searches are done on this platform. Its popularity, coupled with its tools, make it a remarkable resource for improving your marketing efforts.
Google Analytics is one such tool every business with a digital presence should have in its toolbox. The platform collects a significant amount of data from your website, digital content, and apps. It then parses that data in real time and over time.
You can see who your visitors and customers or clients are, what they’re looking for, and how long they’re staying. Check whether they’re clicking links to other company content or climbing aboard your social media platforms. Watch for patterns in traffic, bounce rates, opt-ins, and more. Then use that intel to double down on things that are working and rework or rethink things that aren’t.
If you’ve heard of Google Analytics but haven’t used the feature, don’t be intimidated. Google helps beginners understand Analytics so you can get started. It’s gathering the data whether you use Analytics or not, so why not learn how?
4. Trade and Professional Organizations
Virtually every type of business has related trade and professional organizations. They can range from the general, such as the local Chamber of Commerce, to the specific. Think the state bar association for lawyers or the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers for software developers.
These organizations survive on dues and membership fees. To attract them, they have to deliver value to their members. In most cases, part of that value is conducting research and publishing data for the benefit of their supporters.
The work produced by trade and professional associations tends to be ignored by many of its members. But since they’re working to advance your best interests, you should aim to take advantage of it. You may be overlooking niche insights, trends, and analysis that would benefit your marketing strategies.
You pay your dues, and these organizations spend it to help you and your business. Take time to visit your professional association’s website and browse through articles, research, and whitepapers. You never know what information you might be able to put to work for your business.
The amount of money you spend on developing marketing strategies doesn’t always determine success. What does is knowing what resources you have at your disposal, how to access them, and how to leverage them.
Accelerating your marketing efforts won’t just happen on its own. Capitalize on resources like these to get ahead of your competitors. They will help you hit your stride.