When sales are steady and industry is humming along, some businesses become lax and mistakenly suspend marketing efforts when there’s not an urgent, driving need. Savvy competitors know this is an opportunity to steal market share, and they’ll do it right under your nose while you’re resting on your laurels.
What are your competitors doing while you’re taking a marketing timeout? They’re paying attention to what you’re not doing and capitalizing on it.
Contrary to popular belief, stable sales in a steady market mean your branding and competitive differential are even more important. The average sale requires seven to 10 touches with a brand* before a prospect converts. Brands that engage in stop-and-go marketing lose traction and can’t easily establish the frequency necessary to help convert. We guarantee that at least one of your competitors knows this and uses an uninterrupted, omni-channel marketing strategy to maintain awareness and build affinity.
In healthy markets, customers have lots of choices. The more choices they have, the pickier they are. So, it’s up to you to remind them why you’re the best choice. Pausing your marketing program effectively abdicates control of your brand to the competitor that is determined to maintain continuous awareness while also adding value and demonstrating the ability to solve critical problems.
It’s easy for us to tell you that a steady, ROI- and customer-focused marketing strategy is the key to building sustainable revenue. We encourage you to ask yourself if you have gotten too comfortable.
Here’s a quick way to tell.
- Are you busy doing the type of work you want to be doing? Or, are you spinning your wheels making pennies when you’d rather be focused on dimes?
- Can you quickly state your value proposition? Not the “what” you do but the “why” you do it – in the customer’s terms!
- When was the last time you studied your competitors? Even looked at their websites?
- Who is doing a better job than you are? Why? How?
- What are you doing to reach your long-term business goals? Are your marketing efforts aligned with your stated business goals?
- Are you able to identify what marketing and sales tactics work? Do you know your cost per action (CPA)?
These are (some) of the things that competitors who are eager to secure your customers are asking themselves and addressing. Busy is great. But being so busy that you are not able to focus on the activities that will grow your business over a sustained period of time and protect you in the downturn that will inevitably come, can be incredibly detrimental to a brand.
You can outsmart the competition by doing more than just maintaining a consistent, uninterrupted marketing strategy, as we’ve suggested here. Spending does not equal “winning.” If you want to truly protect your company from hungry competitors and customers with loads of great choices here are a few things you should consider.
- Focus on current customers. Build loyalty. This will be hard to do if you have had a growth spurt sparked by significant new customer onboarding. Creating marketing strategies that focus on building customer loyalty can also be more challenging to conceptualize, systemize, and even convince others to spend on. But investing in building affinity and loyalty with current customers will pay dividends down the road when the market takes a turn. For consumers, 77% report that they’ve maintained brand loyalty with their favorite companies for over 10 years, which shows that even when the market isn’t doing well, loyal consumers still stay with their preferred brands. Investing in creating strong relationships with consumers also leads to them having a 306% higher lifetime value and are more likely to recommend the company to others.
- Build and promote testimonials and reviews. 88% of consumers trust testimonials and reviews.** Reviews and testimonials improve the “trust quotient.” When properly leveraged and promoted, they can even help increase landing page conversions.
Create easy-to-manage systems that allow you to capture and promote positive customer interactions and reviews on a wide range of digital channels. Prospective customers will search for and research your brand before choosing you. You can make it easier for those prospects to make the leap and say yes to your brand by communicating the excellence in service and quality that you’ve already provided to others. Promoting a positive work culture and expressing gratitude for your customers and your community go a long way as well.
- Automate lead nurturing and touchpoints. Most brands focus on pursuing and closing hot leads. Many lack a system and the time to effectively nurture, track, and close warm or cool leads. Automated lead nurturing allows brands to nurture prospects that are not yet ready to convert by providing them with relevant, customized information in a timely manner.
Automation helps brands to build relationships with prospective customers over time and in a very personal way. Businesses can create trackable, customizable work flows that are very specific to the type of audience, type of service, type of need, down to a very granular level if you choose. Automation does not mean impersonal. Automation does not mean intrusive. Automation does not mean “off brand.” Automation simply means a business is no longer willing to limit growth because it lacks the systems and people to nurture prospective customers.
Some industries, such as home services or HVAC, are conditioned to take a “marketing time out” when external factors, such as weather, result in large spikes of activity. Some businesses halt marketing when they become too busy to manage the work that they have. The desire to pause marketing activities due to these or other factors makes sense …. In the short term. Growth-focused brands realize that today’s buyer holds all the power in the form of research, referral, and information, and that maintaining a consistent, customer-focused marketing strategy is critical to both acquiring and retaining business.