As a marketing professional and small business owner of my own marketing and design firm for over 15 years, I am continually amazed as I work with clients on how their past marketing firms skipped on some of the most important, essential steps, prior to ever rolling out a marketing campaign for their products and/or services. Here are my top 5 tips that your marketing should include with each step building on the next:
1. Decide What Your Objective Is or What You Want to Achieve
As common sense as this sounds, first and foremost decide what your objective is or what you are trying to achieve with your marketing. Many firms never simply ask the question for themselves and many times I have to ask it for them.
Are you seeking brand awareness or differentiation? Are you trying to increase sales of your current product by 10 percent? Are you trying to reach a new audience or target market? Before you ever spend a dime, write on paper where you want to end-up after your marketing or marketing campaign has been rolled out.
2. Put a Strategy Together
After you know your objective, then we need to figure out what is the most direct, effective route to go from where you are to where you want to be – in effect, what is your strategy and plan of attack. Here are several fundamental questions to be answered which will influence formulating your strategy:
- What is your value proposition? What value or benefits does your product or service provide? What are any key features or points of differentiation of it?
- Who is your target audience? What is the best way to reach them?
- What are the key “hot buttons” of your target audience? For example, do they care most about safety, quality, or some other benefit?
- What is your brand position in the market vis a via your competitors? Are you considered the Cadillac or Chevy – or somewhere in between?
- How have my competitors positioned themselves in their marketing? For example, are they the value brand or safe choice? How can I differentiate from them?
To make sure each of my clients addresses these questions and other important ones, I request they complete a proprietary creative strategy document. After they complete the questionnaire, the document helps provide the “blueprint” and gives us ideas for the message, strategy and eventual tactics recommended for the marketing plan and campaign rollout.
We never begin our marketing without this completed and we never rollout a marketing campaign without the objectives and strategy decided upon first. If you don’t, then you are “blindly” marketing yourself and punching in the dark, hoping you will hit the target.
3. Build Your Network & Database of Prospects
Step 3 is important towards achieving the next two steps you will be reading about. Start building (or continue building if you have started) a list of prospects that are well-connected. Focus on those prospects that can help you get to the right contact or is the contact doing the decision making regarding using your product or service. Using social media, buying prospect lists etc. are all good, but nothing beats collecting and creating your own list of contacts (including their emails) to target and go after. It is called good old fashioned target marketing.
You should focus on creating a smaller but more connected list than a larger one that is ineffectual towards getting you results. You don’t always need a large network to succeed. By the way, that’s all I focus on and care about for my clients — results. And getting results starts with getting through to the most influential people in your industry. This could include people who could introduce and recommend you to the people you want to get in front of.
4. Earn the Attention of Your Target Market Through Content Marketing
Internet and email marketing are two tactics that are too powerful and effective today to ignore and should be included in your marketing toolbox of tactics. By email marketing, I don’t mean another sales message that your target will simply delete among the hundreds he or she is receiving every day. I am talking about taking a “no sales, sales approach” which earns the attention of your target market by providing free information of real value to your prospective clients.
Yes, I am talking about helping them and giving away information to get their attention. At the same time, you are actually endorsing and “creating” legitimacy for your own product or service brand. Content marketing could be useful tips or new information. You are earning brand creditability but demonstrating your value through “content.”
5. Leverage Content Through Emails, Blogs, Newsletter & Social Media
Now that you have a great list of emails of your target market and valuable content to share, begin using emailing marketing. Start sending out such information via a newsletter or blog and make it easy for visitors to find and sign-up for them on your website. Email marketing is extremely cost effective and one of the most powerful marketing tools available to small businesses. It provides predictable results and costs little to use. No other tool can boast of such results including social media.
With email marketing you are in control and it allows you to build an increasingly valuable asset. That’s why building a database with email addresses is money in the bank. By keeping your content valuable to prospects you are no longer spam to them. Keep the campaign consistent and professional and over time, you will generate awareness and most importantly – results! Don’t forget social media, though not as direct, can at times, with the right strategy have viral results. By sharing your content via social media channels, you will increase exposure and explore new channels for increasing your list with new prospects.
Todd Sayles, CEO & Founder of Creative Mind Consulting Group, has built a successful organization that services real estate, retail, hospital and wellness clients among others. His expertise includes problem solving/market strategy, design and marketing consulting, creative design, online website development, content and design creation for digital media and print collateral, public relations, search engine optimization and collaboration with outside designers and writers.
Creative Mind Design Group teams up with clients to strategize on marketing challenges and design goals. We come alongside companies to ultimately create inspired design alongside brilliant results.