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A marketing strategy will help you identify your best customers, understand their needs and implement the most effective marketing methods.

The internet has transformed business marketing. No matter what you do, the internet is likely to be at the heart of your marketing strategy.

Social media is firmly established as a marketing tool. Having a presence opens up new lines of communication with existing and potential customers.

Good advertising puts the right marketing message in front of the right people at the right time, raising awareness of your business.

Customer care is at the heart of all successful companies. It can help you develop customer loyalty and improve relationships with your customers.

Sales bring in the money that enables your business to survive and grow. Your sales strategy will be driven by your sales objectives.

Market research exists to guide your business decisions by giving you insight into your market, competitors, products, marketing and your customers.

Direct marketing can be a highly successful way to generate sales from existing and new customers. Find out how to target them in the best way.

Exhibitions and events are valuable for businesses because they allow face-to-face communication and offer opportunities for networking.

PR

Favourable media coverage can bring a range of business benefits. But how do you attract the attention of editors, broadcasters and journalists?

Is it time to upgrade your sales and marketing tools?

Marketing experts often hold onto automated tools for far longer than they should. If you've been using the same business automation tools for years, then you probably need to swap at least some part of it out. The problem is that it's hard to figure out what the alternatives are.

Start by making a list of everything you currently use to manage your campaigns. Add in some blanks to represent the additional tools you'd like if they were available. Sometimes, marketing specialists don't know that a particular type of tool exists, so they'll end up going without it even though they don't have to. Explore different email marketing platforms while you're at it, because there's a good chance you're not using the right one for the job.

As soon as you have your list, you'll be ready to take a deep dive into the world of email marketing tools.

Deciding on whether to change email tools

There's a simple test to check if your current email marketing platform is right for the job. Ask yourself if you're keeping it because it's served you well or if you're hanging on to it because you don't want to learn how to use something new. If the latter is true, it's time to start shopping for a new tool. Use the following suggestions to help guide you.

Buying lists can get you into serious trouble. Any tool that relies on buying an email list to function can be thrown out in most cases. Focus instead on tools that allow you to automate the process of reaching out to people as well as the process of sending them emails.

Decide whether your current email management tools come with everything that you're looking for. You might want a calendar and a task manager in addition to the ability to simply send messages. Small business owners who want this should certainly look for a more complete package. Those who want the simplest experience possible might very well elect to upgrade to something leaner.

Don't be afraid to use the tools that come with your email platform either. Some small business managers will want an email platform based on the tools that come with it. Others will prefer to use something that works with IMAP or POP to function with an independent client. If your platform doesn't do what you're looking for, then consider going with something that does.

Time-saving features like keyboard shortcuts can be really helpful too. While you might not think that ability to simply type the letter n and get a new message going is particularly useful, anybody who has had to respond to numerous messages will appreciate the utility. Automation features are helpful too, especially if your business is growing. Basic automation features have been found to help many managers who otherwise lack the staff to do so.

Once you have both your management tools and email platform sorted, it's time to decide whether or not to upgrade your data integration systems.

Enhancing the level of integration in your marketing tools

You may not have invested in ecommerce data integration platforms until now. If that's true, then it could be time for a major upgrade. Managing a campaign is hard enough, but it's even more difficult when the tools you rely on refuse to communicate.

These platforms help organisations migrate sales and consumer data into other types of information. They can enable businesses to connect and sync all their information across a number of different applications. This is particularly useful for those who employ separate marketing, financial and shopping cart apps.

When someone buys something from your website, the information is usually only stored by the shopping cart itself. Integration platforms can ensure that your marketing platform also has access to it. This is important because you don't have to waste time transferring data from one app to another. As soon as separate platforms are working together, you can automatically send promotional offers to customers or encourage people who haven't shopped with you in a while to buy again.

Another tool to explore involves enterprise resource management. According to experts from Yummy Software, ERP programs integrate all of your business processes together in real time. They usually include a suite of integrated solutions, so you could potentially upgrade everything you have simply by switching over to a single software solution.

Some of the most sophisticated integrated marketing tools will also work with commercial advertising campaigns and other traditional promotional techniques. They might even support your social campaigns.

Upgrading social media tools

Social media marketing involves everything from using your company profile to raise brand awareness all the way to communicating with influencers. Consider upgrading to a tool that lets you automate at least part of this process from one dashboard. This reduces the issues associated with trying to watch every single stream you get about a campaign from countless different sources.

A single management dashboard is useful if you have multiple individuals managing your marketing campaigns. Say you were trying to get your message out through a number of different channels. You might want to promote yourself through conventional television ads, business podcasts, YouTube spots and product reviewers from noted influencers.

Managing each channel independently can be really challenging. By moving all this to one single platform can dramatically reduce your workload and make things much easier.

Brand reputation management is another field to consider if you're upgrading your sales and marketing. This feature would ensure that your brand is only ever being used in a way that you approve of. Considering the fact that bots and socket puppet accounts aren't going away anytime soon, it's an important feature to have. It's especially vital for growing businesses that are just starting to become popular on social media.

As soon as you've figured out what kind of package you're upgrading to, don't look back. Chances are that you'll make a great decision and be much happier with your new software. You might even end up saving money on your marketing budget in the long-run.

Copyright 2021. Article made possible by Philip Piletic.

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