Category: Marketing Minute.

Less is More

When you were a child and drew a picture on a piece of paper, did you feel the need to fill up the entire page? Were you told it was wasteful to leave empty space? That belief may have been okay then, but it might not be a good idea for your marketing materials now. Fewer words or less design means higher impact for the words you do use. You don’t have a lot of time to catch someone’s attention and too many words will get lost. Only the main words will be read anyway, so don’t clutter your materials with information that won’t be read. Using fewer words will help you stick to the main point. Keep it simple.

Here’s something to think about when planning for 2013. Many companies spend a lot of their marketing dollars talking about their company, products and services. That’s marketing from the inside out. Customers would rather know about how you can help them solve their problems, make money or save time. The most effective marketing is built by putting yourself in your customer’s shoes. That’s marketing from the outside in. Focus on answering the needs of your customers first and then your products and services will sell themselves.

Tracking

Last week we had the pleasure of listening to a great presentation by a company that is using social networking correctly and consistently as part of their marketing plan. It has made a big difference in their company – giving them an edge over the competition in the extremely competitive mortgage industry. One of the things that impressed me the most was their ability to track where their sales leads came from and how each marketing method was working for them. One of the simplest and most valuable questions you can ask your customer is “how did you hear about us?” ask them every time – Then keep track of what you hear. Tracking will open your eyes to what is and isn’t working in your business. Need any help? Give us a call.

Consistency

Here is a simple marketing exercise that will reap big rewards for your business. Take a look at all of your marketing materials. Spread them out on your desk and really look at them.  All – and I mean All – of your materials should have the same look and feel, the same logo, colors, the same slogan, the same color paper. This consistency can help you build a stronger brand for your business. It applies to all marketing and advertising such as web, radio, print, television and outdoor. This is your image and it’s important. This week take a look at your marketing materials and make sure they’re consistent.

One marketing method that doesn’t get a lot of attention is billboards. Often considered old fashioned, billboards are working while other media is experiencing downturns. The reason is Reach. They reach people when other media can be turned off or tuned out. Billboards are purchased for four week rental periods – not months. There is an added expense of printing vinyl – paper isn’t used any longer. You’ll also need a strong design – a good rule is to use eight words or less for the most visible message. You also need to plan ahead for billboards to get the very best placement. Don’t forget about billboards when you need to get your message out to the region.

Change

It’s funny how much change advertising has seen over the last ten years. Nationally newspaper readership is moving to online reading instead of print (much to our dismay). Cable television is competing fiercely with network television. New cable shows are pulling in solid ratings none of us could have predicted. Listenership on radio has become diluted with so many music choices. Internet advertising is coming on strong. As a whole we are more sophisticated buyers and less likely to respond to traditional advertising methods. The marketing world is changing, and it’s important to understand how so you can make decisions that will work best for your company.

Today I’m going to talk about marketing budgets. I know a lot of you hate numbers or even talking about money, but it’s important. Successful businesses have a budget that includes marketing. Let’s keep it simple. Look at what you spent on marketing last year and set aside a dollar figure for the amount you’re going to spend this year. Look critically at what worked last year and stop any advertising that didn’t work. Check your budget numbers monthly and stick to your plan. Having a budget will help you to spend your advertising dollars wisely and prevents impulse buys. Take a good look at your marketing numbers this week and fine tune them to do even better.

Shopping

Let’s get your website to work a little harder for your business. If you have a business that sells product, I encourage you to add a shopping cart or PayPal buttons on your website. You can make sales 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. National trends show more people are shopping online and they’re doing it at all hours of the day and night. Good shopping carts are not cheap, but they work. Locally, Ayers Pottery has a shopping cart that sells additional product for them each month. Even if you only have a few products to sell or want to encourage donations to your worthy cause – a PayPal button will work to bring in added dollars to your business or organization. Think about it. The web is growing – put those numbers to work for you.

This week I want you to define your target market. Every business has one. Your target market includes demographics like the main type of person that does business with you. Think about the distinct age group of people you serve. Are your customers more male or female? Are your customers other businesses or the general public? Where do they live? Can you define the region where you do most of your work? Defining your target market helps you know where you need to be advertising. Think about your target market this week and think about what kind of advertising or marketing will best reach your unique target market.

Press Releases

Sending out a news or press release to the media can highlight your business accomplishments. It’s very important to make sure your release truly is newsworthy. The best way to send a release is through email. It saves overworked media employees data entry time and helps with accuracy. Start with an attention getting headline. That’s what everyone reads first. Then write about the most important things first and the least important subjects last. Include all your contact information in case the media wants to do a more in depth story. Attach a high quality photo if appropriate because it will get more attention from the press and viewers. Identify people in the photo. Make it easy for the media to use your next news release.