In my last post I talked about the importance of being proactive in planning out your marketing efforts for this New Year. Especially with the potential for a lackluster economy, when the typical trend is to cut back on marketing, you could have a great impact by actually increasing your efforts with some specific ideas to promote your products and services.
Perhaps the most important advice to lead with is the concept of cross-media marketing. In simple terms, this means making sure to coordinate your marketing efforts across several different media options such as your website, social media, video, and print. Your brand message needs to be consistent across each media form, and ideally you want each of them to point, or lead the reader to the other formats, to help reinforce the message.
Next up, consider your website. If you have not updated the look and content of your site within the last two years, then it is critical to get started now! Your website is the “holy grail” when it comes to marketing – this is where all your existing clients/donors and prospects go to learn about what your organization does. It is imperative that your material is updated and provides all the information that someone would need to feel comfortable in doing business with you. Is your contact information current? Do you list the services and products that you sell? Are there testimonials that speak to your quality and service? Do you have resource information available, or case studies? Is the site easy to navigate – typically you would like visitors to be able to find something relevant to their needs within 2 clicks. We could go on and on, but you get the idea… everything starts with your website!
Following now are a variety of ideas that you could incorporate into a marketing plan and that can also be tied back to your website…
- Blogs – a great way promote yourself or your organization as a trusted resource. Share your knowledge on given topics or information from other resources. These can be posted on your website, but also shared through social media sites and included within e-mail or printed newsletters. Over time you can compile your blog posts into a handout for additional touches. Blogs are also a great way of updating content on your website regularly. It is important to set a schedule for your posts, and then to commit to this schedule!
- Case Studies – a great way to highlight a product or service and how you were able to assist other clients. Write a single page summary of the problem or challenge that the client faced, and then the steps in a process of how you were able to overcome this or make an improvement. Share the results and include a testimonial from the client as well. Prepare this in a printed handout and an online PDF that could be downloaded through a landing page linked to your website.
- Direct Mail – at one time this was perhaps one of the strongest marketing components for many organizations! With the advent of digital communications, direct mail has dropped in recent years, making it perhaps a new favorite once again – especially when done to targeted audiences and with creative design to peak interest. The use of personalization also can increase your response, especially when tied to an online landing page. The true power of direct mail is in directing traffic online.
- E-mail – regular communication with your existing client base through e-mail blasts and newsletters is important to stay top of mind. These may communicate special offers, new services, upcoming events or just general updates on company news. While “digital overload” is becoming a common complaint by many of us, when you have an established relationship and your frequency is not excessive, regular e-mail marketing should be a component of everyone’s marketing plan.
- Landing Pages – when speaking of cross-media applications, all of your marketing ideally can be directed to a specific online “landing page.” This is a very basic 1 – 2 page website that has a single purpose – to offer the respondent an opportunity to download a special report, a redeemable offer, survey results, etc. in exchange for their contact information. Keep this simple – only a name, e-mail, phone and address, and once they provide this they are given the download links on a second page that also thanks them. With this in place, you are able to track in real time any one that completes the download and allows you the opportunity to plan follow-up touches with this prospect.
- Seminars – another tremendous way to share your knowledge and insight – develop either a webinar or in-house seminar to discuss important trends in your industry, expertise on a given topic, or perhaps even a panel discussion with your own clients participating. Promote this through social media and then record sessions or have the power point presentations available for future downloads.
- Surveys – these could be specific to the results of a given project, or community minded to seek input as to the needs of the audience. A great way to seek information, establish you as a leader in your industry and increase your market presence. These could be done via print, online through services such as Survey Monkey or others, in social media, etc. Make the results of your survey available on your website or through a specific landing page so that you can track interest. Be sure to post the results on social media as well and perhaps with a link to download the full report through your website.
- Tradeshows – utilize this strategy to connect with a wide variety of prospects that are actively seeking new information on products, services or resources. Most often you have a targeted audience that would not be attending unless there was an interest on their part. Plan out your goals and incorporate pre-show communication as well as follow-up strategies. Design your booth and hand-out materials to coordinate a common message and peak interest – then be sure to track all visitors to your booth.
- View Book – create either a printed or an online digital version of sample work that you have completed – especially good for design firms or creative services, or even nonprofits that want to share their story. This can be posted on your website, or included with a link in e-mail messages, social media, etc. This could also include audio or video components to make it truly a cross-media approach. Be creative – develop this with the intent of making it a piece that the reader will remember, and want to share with others!What do you have planned to market your organization in the coming year?
- I hope that you find inspiration with these ideas and look to include some of them within your marketing efforts in the coming year! And if you should need some help in the implementation of these, you know who to ask!