There are a lot of important elements that make a successful marketing campaign, many of which we've covered in recent months. You need to make your ads engaging, you have to have strong SEO strategies to boost your website's visibility and your site should be well-designed to influence customers to make purchases once they're there.
Another very important component - and one that sometimes gets overlooked - is building up your customer base to begin with.
You might have the funniest ad ever, the most sophisticated social media strategies or the most interactive website yet. None of that matters if there aren't any viewers to see it.
By now, I'm sure you've heard about all the necessary routes to go in order to build up your base: email, Facebook, Twitter, mobile and more. While you certainly need to advertise on these channels, there's a good chance your competitors are too.
Therefore, I encourage you to explore alternative routes by which you can build your network. Here are three:
1. Take advantage of the "snowball" effect.
A recent blog post detailed the process of snowballing your network - for instance, at the end of a phone call, insurance salespeople often ask clients for referrals of people who might also be interested in their services. This could work well for your marketing strategies.
You don't have to be too aggressive about it, either. Just ask if the consumer has a name or two in mind. Eventually, one of those referrals could make for a slam dunk customer, so it's definitely worth the shot.
2. Try to get ahead of the curb for social networking sites that are still in their infancy.
With so many businesses already on Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn, it'll be extremely difficult to separate yourself from the pack by using that social medium alone.
While I have been a stark advocate of implementing Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn strategies - if for no other reason than to not get on your customers' bad side - I also think you should consider using one of the less-mature social networking sites.
It's difficult, if not impossible, to predict which site will be the next to rise, and when. If you've ever seen "The Social Network," the film depicting the rise of Facebook, it's amazing to realize how it originated. What began as a site to connect Harvard students has now blossomed into one with nearly a billion active users.
That's why, if possible, you should try making the plunge into at least one of the smaller social networking sites. Pinterest, for instance, appears as though it could be the next medium to emerge, particularly from a marketing standpoint. If you start implementing strategies for Pinterest now, you could potentially build up a solid following before your competitors even think about using it.
Then, once the site reaches a level of maturity, you will already be well-established.
3. Don't ignore the people closest to you.
You know those stories you hear sometimes about how your cousin's friend's brother's boss is best buds with the president? Sometimes, they turn out to be true.
Don't forget to talk to the people closest to you. You never know when the connections they have will pan out.
There are many unconventional places that could help you expand your network exponentially. Don't forget to explore these routes.