Growing your business boils down to two critical components: keeping your current customers satisfied with your product or service, and constantly introducing your business to new people who are willing to give you a try. With so many different types of marketing available these days, a proper strategy can help to ensure that your business is where customers are looking for it.
When it comes to marketing, we like to break the practice down into six categories: traditional, digital, email, social, public relations and events. As you’re trying to decide where to concentrate your marketing efforts, it’s always a good idea to diversify your strategy and spread your activity across several different categories. At Journey, we do an analysis of our client’s business to discover which streams of marketing will be most beneficial, and once we understand what those platforms are, we create a plan to make sure the brand is telling a captivating story across them. Let’s talk a little bit more about each category:
While social media and digital marketing have been in the spotlight for the past several years, taking a traditional approach to marketing can be extremely effective. Traditional marketing methods, such as direct mail campaigns, and television, radio, and print advertising can offer both visibility and reach depending on the business’s target market. Remember the days when you would get 20 pieces of “snail mail” a day and an email was still a novelty? Nowadays our email inboxes are filled to the brim while marketing collateral via the mailman has become a lot less common. This is just one example of how traditional tactics, when paired with digital and social activity, has the ability to cut through the clutter and deliver results.
A small business owner’s website is usually is their first captured interaction with a customer. It acts as a welcome mat, introducing the brand to potential buyers and trying to woo them with information and insights. A great website has to be able to communicate a business’s key offering clearly and provide excellent product and/or service details while also establishing a genuine connection with the potential customer. In addition to having a website that delivers authenticity and a brilliant brand experience, it’s also vital for the site to be able to be found through search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo. This is the crux of digital marketing - bringing a brand to life by providing top-quality content that informs, entertains, and builds trust in a way that can be found by potential customers. A digital strategy then comes into play, using search engine optimization and online advertising to build both brand awareness and lead generation.
Email marketing provides businesses with a simple and effective way to deliver messages directly to their customer’s inbox. With email marketing, a small business owner can let their customers know about new products and services, invite them to upcoming events, find out information through research and surveys, and provide promotional and special pricing offers to quickly boost sales. With a smart email marketing strategy, a small business owner can better control his or her sales funnel while staying top of mind with their customer base and tweaking and managing campaigns based on real-time data and analysis.
There is no denying that social media has given small businesses a big opportunity to communicate with their customers. Unfortunately, with so many platforms and so little time, it can be tough for the average entrepreneur to keep their brand up to date on all the latest trends. Creating effective social media content calendars is an excellent way to ensure that the right information is being posted to the right platforms and that informative, sales based messaging is being balanced by exciting lifestyle content. Once a consistent presence has been established, additional social media tactics such as advertising, contests, giveaways, and partnerships can be formed to extend reach, boost engagement and encourage meaningful brand interaction.
Public relations is one of the oldest forms of marketing and while its exact definition continues to evolve, at its core, “PR” is about getting influential people to talk about and recommend a product or service to a wide audience. How does a business owner do that? By working with both traditional journalists and social media influencers to get in front of millions of eyeballs without the use of traditional advertising. From getting articles in the newspaper to contributing regular columns to a popular blog or inviting social media superstars to try a product and share his or her experience with the world, public relations is a powerful marketing method that small businesses can benefit from in a big way.
While digital transactions have become the business norm, there is no substitute for meeting face to face. Business owners and entrepreneurs have an amazing opportunity get in front of customers through workshops, trade shows, local events, seminars, and so much more. Events offer a small business owner the chance to showcase his or her knowledge and to build public credibility as an expert in their field. Pairing expertise with a pre and post communications campaign, a lead capture facility and a professional content plan will ensure that an event delivers on the bottom line and opens up exciting new opportunities for the business.
While building a brand with the use of multiple marketing platforms is crucial, it’s more important than ever to ensure that the messages are reaching the right audience. Often times, a business owner knows what type of people they are looking to attract, or they have an idea of who transacts with them, but it doesn’t go much deeper than that. As a business owner, ask yourself, how well do you know your target market? At Journey, we offer persona development which allows us to get inside of your customer's heads to better understand what is important to them in their work, family and personal lives, as well as where they spend their time and what their goals are for the future. With this information, we are then able to create a set of profiles that make up your customer base, which we then match to different marketing activities based on your goals and budget.