The six pillars of marketing in 2023

Welcome back to Leader Talk! In episode 66 we spoke to Lauren Oakes, the founder and CEO of Megaphone. Under Lauren’s leadership, Megaphone became recognised as the 2021 #1 Social Media Agency of the Year. Lauren is passionate about promoting women in leadership and has achieved over 70% female representation in leadership positions at Megaphone. 

Lauren is passionate about giving back to the community through pro-bono marketing services and volunteering opportunities for her team. As a mentor to fellow women in business, Lauren is always eager to support others in their own professional journeys.

In this chat, we spoke about the six most important aspects to focus on when marketing your business in 2023.

Want to learn more? Read or listen to our chat with Lauren Oakes on YouTubeSpotify, Listen Notes, or Player FM. It’s also available anywhere you listen to your favourite podcasts via Buzzsprout.

Authored by Lauren Oakes, Founder and CEO of Megaphone.

In the eight years since I first dipped my toes into the world of paid advertising, the landscape for businesses to run their own marketing has changed significantly. There was a time when business marketing was easy – all it took was to scatter a few ads here and there, and wait for the results to pour in. But now, there are so many complexities that demand a far more strategic and multifaceted approach, which is why I developed the six pillars of marketing in 2023. As a small business owner, nurturing and paying attention to these aspects of your business is extremely important for your success.

Paid advertising
Most social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and increasingly TikTok, allow for paid advertisements, targeting specific age groups, interests, or locations. When deciding where to allocate your advertising budget, first understand the nature of what you’re selling and who your customers are.

For example, if you’re a service-based business such as plumbing, you wouldn’t benefit from convincing social media users at random times. Rather, people tend to search for such services on Google during an emergency. Therefore, it will be more effective for you to spend your budget on Google ads to show up as a top result. You can target your specific service areas, optimising your reach and controlling expenditure.

Of course, other companies may be paying to get their ads shown too. One way to combat this would be to focus on the less competitive keywords – the more specific, the better. Targeting ‘Richmond plumber’ rather than ‘Melbourne plumber’ or even ‘Kitchen plumbing in Richmond’ attracts a targeted audience, enhancing conversion rates and optimising ad spend.

How often should you invest in advertising? It really depends on your resources and budget available, but the way most platforms work is the more money you put in, the more data you’ll get back for learning and optimisation. So, if you’re investing $1,000 over a month then you’re going to have $1,000 worth of learnings at the end of that month. If you invest $1,000 over a week, you’re going to have $1,000 dollars worth of learnings over a week, which will mean you can optimise faster. But, whether you have $1,000 to spend in a week or a month, the key lies in harnessing the accumulated data to understand which demographics convert best, guiding the focus for your next campaigns.

Search engine optimisation
While you have to pay for the top placement via Google ads, you can also use search engine optimisation (SEO) to rank your website high without paying. With SEO, Google deems whether your page is relevant to the searched term and therefore, worthy of showing up on the first page of results.

SEO is a long-term investment, potentially taking three to twelve months to show significant results depending on how competitive the search terms are. In 2023, one key to SEO success lies in making the user experience on your website great. Make sure visitors have a positive interaction, find content relevant to what’s being talked about, and spend a good amount of time on your website.

Content creation, particularly blog posts, can help target niche terms and increase your visibility for these specific searches. It’s crucial to align your site’s content with the services you offer. For example, as a plumber, your website should contain really specific content relating to your key services. If you’re a plumber in Richmond that works on kitchens, make sure you have a helpful blog post about kitchen plumbing in Richmond. So, when someone in Richmond searches for ‘kitchen plumbing near me’ on Google, your blog post will potentially show up first.

Backlinks—links from other high-traffic, trustworthy websites—boost your site’s credibility. You can get these by either buying them or doing manual outreach to businesses asking for link placements. Whether you improve your SEO in-house or through an agency, it’s an excellent way to boost your online visibility and reputation.

High converting website
In 2023, a compelling online presence is crucial for any business. You could have your own full-fledged website or start with a simple high-converting landing page. A landing page is a single page with all the necessary information about your business and targets specific customers you want to attract. As the world converts to doing everything online, a landing page is the first step towards establishing your business online and changing the way you operate.

For e-commerce businesses, platforms like Shopify provide a straightforward process for building an online store. For landing pages, tools like Instapage offer an easy-to-use interface. It’s a drag-and-drop builder that requires a monthly subscription, but it’s a valuable tool for optimising your resources and building your online presence.

Setting up a Google My Business page is another great first step. It means that when somebody searches your business name, your Google My Business page will show up on the results page, showing your contact details, reviews, photos, and a call button.

Customer journey
In a market with so many similar products and brands, the customer journey becomes a unique selling point. Acquiring a new customer is costlier than ever, so nurturing existing customers becomes invaluable. Improving the customer journey will attract repeat customers and increase customer lifetime value, and can be done no matter the size of your business or budget.

This journey starts with touch points like social media and Google ads and progresses to the user experience on your website. It’s critical to ensure each interaction is smooth, relevant, and efficient.

However, the journey doesn’t end at the point of purchase. Perhaps the most important part of the journey is making sure that, when customer’s do buy something, there’s no buyer’s remorse. Some businesses enhance this experience through initiatives like donating a portion of the sale to charity, providing email updates on shipping, or creating really compelling packaging and a

fun unboxing experience. Make sure you resolve any customer complaints quickly and effectively – it can turn an unhappy customer into a loyal one.

To understand your customer journey, start by simply pulling out a piece of paper and mapping out your website and processes from the customer’s perspective. Think about how you can make every single touchpoint and experience the best it can be.

Content creation is a key part of how you present your brand and products or services. A few years ago, the effectiveness of organic content seemed to diminish, but there’s been a resurgence in its success, and you should get on board while you can. Organic content helps establish your brand, products, or services in a natural, non-promotional way. Social media users want real content with real people. It’s the most successful and cost-effective way to create a brand personality and attract loyal customers.

Make sure you have a consistent flow of content across all platforms to maintain visibility and engagement with your audience. It’s a good idea even to have a dedicated person or team to ensure a steady stream of content.

Brand reputation
Building your small business’s brand reputation is the final, but equally important, pillar. I could sit here all day and tell you how great Megaphone is, but that’s not going to mean as much as if 50 other people have come to you and told you that. The power of reviews in shaping a brand’s reputation cannot be overstated. Make sure you have Google reviews, reviews under each product or service on your website, as well as general testimonials.

If you don’t have any reviews yet, not to worry. The good thing about having no reviews is as soon as you get one five-star review, you instantly elevate your business to a five-star business! You have likely worked with someone you felt you had a connection. Flick them a message about having enjoyed working for them and how you’d greatly appreciate their help with a review to help you generate more business.

As your business grows, you can start setting up automated email sequences that ask for reviews. You can further motivate customers to leave reviews by offering incentives, such as a chance to win one of your products or a free service.

Active management of your community is equally crucial. This involves not just scheduling posts on social media, but also actively engaging with followers by responding to comments and promptly addressing concerns. In doing so, you build a strong connection with your audience and uphold your brand’s reputation. This shift from one-way communication to fostering a two-way relationship is key in nurturing and enhancing your brand’s standing in the market.

In 2023, a successful marketing strategy balances six essential elements: your website, brand reputation, content, both paid and organic media, and the customer journey. Although each

dollar spent on ads provides valuable insight, those five other business facets are equally important. So, are you paying attention to these six pillars of marketing for your business?