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9 Quick Marketing Tips for Non-Marketers

Hal Conick

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Even if you’ve never thought about marketing, non-marketers can find some quick, easy wins

A digital marketing strategy doesn’t have to be intimidating for non-marketers, says India Lott, founder of Gray Sole Media, a Chicago-based web development and SEO agency.

“It’s simply a plan of action,” she says.

Lott gave a presentation on marketing for non-marketers at the opening session of 2019’s HOW Design Live. Here are nine tips for how non-marketers can still have a good digital marketing strategy, even if they’ve never thought about marketing before.

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1. Know the “Digital Marketing Trifecta”

Non-marketers should understand the differences between paid, earned and owned media, what Lott called the “digital marketing trifecta.”

Paid media are anything you pay for: banner ads, display ads and remarketing ads included.

Owned media are the online assets you own: the website, blog and social media accounts.

Earned media are anything you own that you didn’t pay for: Likes, shares and reviews on review websites, for example. “It’s your digital word-of-mouth,” Lott says.

“You definitely want to encourage earned media” from customers, Lott says. “Then you can attract even more people to your business.”

2. Understand the Funnel

The marketing funnel—how customers come in contact and work with your business—starts at the top with awareness, then moves into interest, then conversion, then retention and referral.

The bottom of the funnel—retention and referral—is very important, Lott says. These are repeat customers who may recommend your business to others.

3. Find Your Target Audience

A non-marketer must find and know their target audience. These are the people your strategy is built to entice. Lott says to find your audience by looking at analytics from your website and social media accounts to know who is interacting with you.

A target audience must know what sets a business apart from the competition, Lott says. She suggests that businesses A/B test their ads to see which work best with the audience.

Businesses should also review who their target audience is—annually, quarterly or perhaps monthly—to ensure they’re speaking to the right audience.

4. Find the Tactics that Work

There are a lot of marketing tactics that could work—content marketing, remarketing, SEO marketing, as examples—so Lott suggests adopting an automation tool that can help businesses use many of these tactics at once.

A good automation tool will let businesses see in real time how their different tactics are working.

5. Find What Channels Your Audience Uses

“Where are you marketing?” Lott asks. Options include social media, video, search, mobile, connected TV and many other channels. She says that the top three are social media, search and online video, so businesses should be on all three.

Once companies have their channels, they must measure each channel to ensure that it’s working.

6. What Emails Should You Send?

There are many different ways to think about email marketing, but Lott broke it down into three categories:

  • Newsletters: Regular, branded and usually less personal
  • Transactional: Triggered by action or inaction, such as a received order or items left in an ecommerce cart
  • Behavioral: Automated to target different segments of users

Lott gave some quick tips for email marketing, including:

  • Always get permission before adding someone to your email marketing list.
  • Offer promo codes to get people to sign up for your email list.
  • Know what people’s interests are so you can personalize emails by interest.
  • Figure out when your target audience opens emails and send in those times.
  • Make your emails short and sweet: “No one wants to receive a thesis of an email.”

7. Segmentation Must Change as Customers Move Through the Funnel

“Once you build your list, not everyone should be targeted the same,” Lott says.

At the top of the funnel, Lott says that businesses should look at demographics, where people signed up and then how they engage with your site. If they’ve visited twice in a week, they likely want to buy something. “How can you sweeten the pot?” she asks.


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Then, mid-funnel, she says customers have shown interest and are likely ready to make a purchase. Lott suggests making product recommendations and sending emails when people abandon their cart. “That’s what gets me all the time” Lott says.

At the bottom of the funnel, when a customer has already made a purchase, Lott says that businesses should target by how much they want to spend. Send them new items in that same range, for example. Or, if the customers haven’t shopped or worked with you in a while, she says that you should incentivize them to purchase something again. “Keep them involved, keep them engaged, keep your company top of mind,” she says.

8. Consider an Influencer Campaign

Influencer marketing is still new, as it barely existed even five years ago, but Lott says that it can be effective if done right.

A smaller or midsize brand likely won’t work with a mega-influencer like Kylie Jenner (Lott says that she gets paid $1 million per branded post), but they might be able to work with microinfluencers (10,000 to 100,000 followers) or nanoinfluencers (less than 1,000 followers).

To create and execute an influencer campaign, Lott says that marketers should:

  • Define their ideal influencer: What do they do? What are they into?
  • Find your ideal influencer: This can be done through searching manually or working with an agency
  • Know what kind of effect you want from them and track it: If you want awareness, for example, track how many followers and mentions you get after they post.
  • Understand each platform’s algorithms: Facebook wants you interacting and engaging constantly, LinkedIn wants you engaging with trending topics, Twitter wants you engaging in conversation and Instagram wants you to tag and engage with others. These can all be useful in launching a good influencer or social media campaign.

9. Use Existing Hashtags

A lot of brands try to create their own hashtags, but Lott says that those who are new to marketing should stick with those that already exist.

Use 11 to 30 hashtags that are relevant to your business and product.

Hal Conick is a staff writer for the AMA’s magazines and e-newsletters. He can be reached at hconick@ama.org or on Twitter at @HalConick.