I recently attended a networking event for women in small business. These sort of events are wonderful for meeting other women, growing your client base and learning from each other. On this particular day, as I listened, I realised that people have almost forgotten about traditional marketing concepts.
Almost everyone relies on the digital space for all their marketing needs and they’re looking for a one size fits all solution. And this is a mistake.
You could be forgiven for thinking that all you have to do is play the social media game and keep your website and blogging up to date. It seems to be all that anyone talks about because we are all still learning and the rules change on an almost daily basis. At the moment it’s still a budget friendly way to do business as well. Print and electronic advertising are still very expensive and tend to be for the bigger players.
As a marketer with 25+ years’ experience I have a new tool box – which now contains social media and relationship marketing like we’ve never seen before, but the concepts of my work are the same as they ever were.
For all those lovely women out there who run their own small businesses, I have put together 5 little reminders on how to get your marketing under control.
1. Plan – write a marketing plan. I know it’s a pain but as with any kind of goal setting, you need to plan for it. Map out your year – when are the peaks and troughs of your business? Decide in advance what your marketing campaigns will look like for the whole year. Do not do your marketing on the fly – it will be much less effective. Work out what it is that are you trying to achieve and make the objectives measurable. Don’t forget to refer back to your business plan to be sure you are growing your business the way you want to.
2. Target Market – this needs to be really defined. These days, the power of social media allows us to really hone in on psychographic detail. Never before has it been so easy to target individuals with your communications. If you know who your target market is, you know what they want to hear from you and how they consume their media – in other words, which channels you need to use to communicate with them – do they listen to the radio? Watch TV? Prefer Facebook, Twitter or Instagram? These days we even know if they are planning a holiday or looking to purchase new whitegoods!
3. Communication Messages – what are you trying to communicate and to whom? Everyone at this event was practicing their “elevator speeches” which are great for business events, but what about the consumers? If your consumers are other businesses then maybe that’s fine, but if not, decide on 3 to 5 key communication messages and always refer back to them. Consider whether or not the communication message is different for different target markets – it usually is.
4. Channels – obviously you’re going to use whatever digital channels appeal to your target markets but don’t forget the traditional ones. Depending on your product, traditional channels like print, radio and TV can be a lot less crowded these days and can be highly effective. Examples of products/industries that still get a lot of return from traditional print media are travel, real estate and cars. And they work because people have time to consume them. With print media especially, it has a long shelf life – it sits around on your coffee table. Travel, real estate and cars are things that people dream about and dipping in and out of print media helps the dream process. In contrast, digital information can be fleeting, almost disposable. It doesn’t hang around for you to think about it.
5. Frequency – Plan your marketing to your target market and consider which channels they use and then plan to hit them several times over the course of your campaign. Sometimes you can hit your target market right between the eyeballs first go and they make a positive purchase decision but generally speaking, it takes more than one hit to get them to purchase. They might see an e-newsletter come into their mailbox, a blog appear on their Facebook feed, hear a radio ad on their way to work but it’s not until they see the write up in the paper on Saturday morning (written from a press release sent to a journalist – good old fashioned PR) that they make the final decision to purchase. They may purchase at any point during that campaign but sometimes it takes several hits. And just because your blog appears in their newsfeed doesn’t mean that it’s been read.
So the bottom line is to know who you’re talking to, what it is you’re trying to say and to get the message out there with maximum reach. Planning is key – create campaigns that use all the tools at your disposal and consider timing and frequency.