I was at a networking event last week at Disney where we were given a sneak peek at the new 3D Star Tours ride… and the marketing thereof! In true Disney style, they have outdone themselves in updating this ride and taking the customer experience to an absolutely new level!
Instead of one ride which takes the same route all the time, this new ride has six (yes, SIX!) different possibilities on where you can go, and the ride to and through each of these places can be different in so many ways – from the characters that ride with you, to the storyline that you are in!
It got me thinking about how similar our own marketing journeys can be each and every day. With all of the marketing tools available to us these days – both offline and online – our choices and possible combinations of those choices are endless! While that may sound fantastic, it also poses a bit of dilemma. How to choose which tools will work best for us and not get caught up in the act of trying each new shiny toy that happens along?
How about we define what our own Six destinations are, and then systematically add elements to each as we go forward? Then with trying, testing, tracking and adjusting we can come up with the best scenarios for our particular business.
Destination 1: Email Marketing
An integral part of any marketing campaign, email is still one of the most powerful mediums we can use. The elements you choose to get to this destination are many and varied – Constant Contact, Infusionsoft, Vertical Response, AWeber – to name but a few of the available options. I would recommend using one of these or a similar service so that you get the most out of your email marketing. Keeping a track of who receives which email when; who opens; who clicks on links; who forwards to friends – all of this information is invaluable in getting to know your customers.
The look and feel of your emails should match those on your website, in your storefront, on your delivery vans – wherever you have a presence. Keeping your “brand” intact in your emails just makes sense. With this in mind, the choices to make here should be pretty easy!
Destination 2: Facebook Marketing
Having a Facebook page for your business is choice that should be made. Not only because it is free to create and maintain such a page that can engage with your customers, if used correctly it can also boost your SEO strategies and brand awareness.
The choices within the Facebook environment are many – from Facebook Ads, to contests, to comments on relevant pages for other businesses. Knowing what you want to get from your Facebook page will help you decide which options to try and track their effectiveness for your business.
Destination 3: Twitter Marketing
Although Facebook receives by far the most attention in the social media marketing world, Twitter is also a fantastic place to engage with people and build a community. Any community that shares common likes or dislikes can be hugely beneficial to a business.
Like Facebook, you have to try things in the Twitterverse to see what works for you. Look at what others are doing, and not specifically in your industry. Often looking outside your own environment introduces you to things you many never have applied to your business. Twitter is a great platform for this.
Destination 4: Direct Marketing
In times of recession, marketing is usually (and incorrectly!) the first thing to suffer. Business owners see immediate cost benefit by cutting marketing but oftentimes do not see the longterm negatives associated with this. Direct mail, for example, is ripe for strong returns right now because not many people are continuing to invest in it. Think about your own mailbox and how few marketing pieces you get anymore.
Adding a simple postcard mailing to an existing marketing campaign could boost your marketing efforts enormously. Do something a little different to most and you will stand out and be seen. Your choices here are huge. Investigate, choose and implement something in direct marketing.
Destination 5: Referrals
You have already spent a considerable amount of time and money on getting customers to your business. Most of those customers are happy, satisfied or content with their purchase. Use these positive emotions to get your customers to refer you to their circle. Do not be afraid to ask for a referral, most customers are happy to do it. In this age of “social”, a friend’s recommendation can go a LONG way!
Destination 6: Newsletters
As mentioned above, a lot of time and money is expended in getting customers in the first place. Once you have them, you should consider them as life-long friends and communicate with them as such. A monthly newsletter, whether in email or print form, is an absolute must and an extremely easy way to do this. Make it interesting and fun, with subliminal marketing messages and perhaps one offer, and it will get read.
Stay in the forefront of your customers’ minds by sending them some form of marketing message or communication at least monthly. Depending on your customers, you could make it weekly. Again, the choice is yours.
There is one major difference between the Star Tours ride and our marketing journeys – no matter which scenario the ride takes you on, you’re bound to enjoy it and have some fun, so you don’t really care which one you experience – if we don’t track the results of our marketing choices, we’ll never know for sure if we have enjoyed the ultimate benefit of the ride – profit!
So, as you journey through the myriad marketing landscapes that are possible, ask yourself how you can be the Force that can be with you as you make that journey each and every day. Where will the Force take you?