I still can’t believe we’re already ten days into 2011. Can you? Sometimes I think it’s easy to let January slip by us as we settle back into normal routines after holiday fun and traveling. It’s easy to do with the marketing efforts as well. I don’t want to do that! I want to begin right now taking 2011 by storm. Last week I shared the first half of my top 10 recommended Marketing Moves for 2011. Some of those recommendations, like an effective logo and a solid website, took business promotional efforts back to the basics. Some moves, like a “yes” mentality and a well-told story, were more toward the mindset variety in re-evaluating how we see the experience of our customers and how we communicate our story. For the second half of my list, I’ve included a few “essentials” that have made a big difference in my own marketing efforts as well as some that my clients are using.
6. Facebook Page — Yeah, I know. Why do I need a Facebook Page? I get that question a lot from both clients and colleagues. I also field a lot of questions about whether Facebook can be an effective marketing tool for a variety of businesses beyond the restaurant or retail sector. My answer is yes. And, I’ve included it as an “essential” because of how important it’s been in my own efforts to get the word out about a new company in the service industry called Small Pond Graphics. My business FB page has been invaluable in raising awareness among my existing network of colleagues and friends about my new business venture as well as in opening up opportunities for new business. And I don’t sell any specific products or make any widgets. My largest target audience is business-to-business, and FB has still given me solid marketing leads. That’s because every clientele whether direct consumers or business-to-business is made up of people. People want to work with people they know and people they feel they can make a direct connection with. Facebook provides that opportunity without the constraints of location.
7. A (Flexible) Plan — One of the biggest mistakes I see customers make in their promotional efforts is embarking on a marketing program without a clear plan. A clear plan requires setting goals that are specific and attainable, choosing marketing venues that match goals with the appropriate target audience, and executing the logistics effectively. If that plan isn’t in place, then you have no basis for determining whether marketing opportunities have the juice to make an impact on your bottom line. But, having a plan doesn’t mean being rigid. If you maintain a level of flexibility in your plans, you can keep a portion of your efforts (translation: your time and your budget) open for creative ideas or options that come along unexpectedly.
8. Multi-media Approach — Because your target audience absorbs information from many “channels” it’s important to consider relaying your marketing message in multiple channels as well. Yes, limiting your marketing venues to one place–a single brochure, just a website, or one print media outlet–can offer some exposure. But, repeating your message with a multi-media approach has exponential value in making a marketing impact. As you are making your marketing plan, consider overlapping messages through several channels like email campaigns, website features, social media as well as print media and face-to-face encounters.
9. Customer Database — Consumers today have an expectation that businesses and organizations are ready to make it personal when communicating their messages. Plus, potential clients have so many message flung their way that only the ones that are most immediate and most personal tend to rise above the fray. The starting point of meeting the new realities of customer interaction is developing a customer database. Gathering and categorizing information about your individual customers allows you to communicate with them consistently and in a meaningful way. It’s as simple as that. Start gathering email addresses, physical addresses and even information like birthdays and purchasing preferences today.
10. Partnerships — This particular marketing move has proven to be a very successful and inspiring effort for Small Pond Graphics over the last six months. That’s why I encourage it as an essential marketing move. It’s easy to think of your business as a lone wolf. But, those days are over. Conducting business focused on protecting yourself and your own control of the customer experience is outdated in today’s marketing climate. Partnering with other businesses you admire and respect can open up great opportunities for growth. Well-placed partnerships and collaboration allow you to expand your service offerings AND your customer base. Plus, I’ve found that working with smart people makes me smarter . Working with other creative people makes me more creative. It’s a win-win.
As my thinking on some of these 10 essential Marketing Moves grows, I plan to share a few more specific posts on their effectiveness as well as some stories from my own experience about their importance. Meanwhile, choose one and get started with making 2011 great for your marketing efforts!