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How to Build a Marketing Department for Your Business

Marketing plans are as unique as the business they are designed for and will change over time. — Getty Images/Nikada

No matter what industry your business is in — from restaurants to fashion to enterprise software — marketing has a vital role to play in attracting customers. While the importance of marketing has remained steady over the years, the strategies powering it have changed frequently during the past decade.

To adapt to the ever-changing marketing landscape, companies need to build a team that can adapt with the times. Here are several tips on how to build a forward-thinking marketing department.

No one-size-fits-all approach

Before we dive into the basics of building out your marketing team, first keep in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all approach for this. Generally speaking, you can at least usually break down marketing into two structures: distributed and centralized.

A distributed approach means that different teams

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How to Build An Effective Marketing Strategy On A Budget

Working with microinfluencers, incentivizing referrals and launching affiliate programs are all great ways to get started. — Fizkes / Getty Images

A commonly accepted best practice is to benchmark about 2% of your sales revenue for marketing and advertising. That may not seem like much, but it can disappear quickly. Optimize the ROI of your marketing budget by investing in these inexpensive marketing ideas that can deliver a lot of bang for your buck.

[Read more: 7 Creative (and Free) Ways to Promote Your Business]

Incentivize customer referrals

The data is conclusive: Your existing customers are your best advocates. People who hear about a product, brand or service from a friend are four times more likely to make a purchase. And referred customers have a 16% higher lifetime value as compared to a customer who wasn’t referred. Word-of-mouth marketing (WOM) is how Rent the Runway grew to a $1

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10 Expert Resources to Check Out

Utilize available resources crafted by field experts to make the most of your SEO and improve your rankings. — Getty Images/Anchiy

Having a great search engine optimization (SEO) strategy can attract more traffic to your site, which can result in more potential clients, customers and/or website revenue. However, SEO can be difficult to understand, let alone master, especially when you work in a competitive industry in which other businesses are vying for the same attention as you are.

In order to help you improve your website’s SEO, we’ve created a list of some of the top tools and resources you can use. By following some of these resources and implementing SEO-specific tools, you should be able to organically grow your audience and engagement rates to scale your business and reach your goals.

[Read: 7 Tips to Improve Your Google Search Ranking]

Google Webmasters Central Blog

The Official Google Webmaster

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How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing

Google My Business can be a boon to local businesses if utilized correctly. — Getty Images/yongyuan

Google My Business is a free tool that can help you improve your local SEO efforts and land more customers. These six steps will help you optimize your Google My Business listing.

[Read more: Improve Your SEO: 10 Expert Resources to Check Out]

Claim and verify your business listing

To claim your business listing, log into the Google account that you want to be associated with your business. Then, go to google.com/business and click “Start now.”

From there, you’ll enter the name of your business and the address. If you work from home and don’t want your address to show up publicly, you can hide it and show the region instead.

Next, choose how you’d like to verify your business: by phone, by email or through instant verification.

Make sure your information is

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Marketing vs Branding: What’s the Difference?

While there is some overlap between the two, there are several key differences between marketing and branding and both can benefit your business. — valentinrussanov/Getty Images

When it comes to marketing your business — whether it’s running ads, posting on social media channels, sending emails, creating newsletters, etc. — there is often some discussion of branding, as well. In some cases, business owners may even think of marketing and branding as the same thing, despite the two playing different roles in telling people about your company.

Let’s dive in and discuss the roles branding and marketing play and how branding informs marketing.

What is branding?

In essence, branding is the process of establishing who your company is and what it stands for. As you initially develop (or perhaps reinvent) your company, you should make a serious effort to determine your brand’s personality and voice. You need to do the work

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