How to you put all of this marketing stuff together and make it work for you? Many companies go with the, “I’ll try it” approach. Meaning somebody comes to the owner of the company with a marketing program that sounds like it has merit and they say, “I’ll try it.” The question you should ask, is this the right way to handle marketing for my company? How much time and money do companies waste trying things?
It’s a well-known fact that many business owners spend too much time working in their business rather than working on their businesses. A well run company where the owner has time to work on the business will have a business plan, a succession plan, and a marketing plan. If the business is a corporation, there could be other plans necessary to sell stock and operate the business. However, for our purposes, the marketing plan is the most important plan.
A properly written strategic marketing plan will take into account the strategic goals and objectives of the business. If you have a strategic marketing plan, you can view all marketing offers through the lens of your marketing plan. If the offer advances your marketing goals, you can consider it as a possible tactic. If it doesn’t seem to fit then you probably would do well to reject it.
As part of your marketing plan tactics, you need a message. Your message must be relevant to your company, and once you have developed your message and honed it, you must use it consistently. Use it on your website, trucks, building, and everyplace you can. Long after you’re tired of your message, it will begin to resonate with your customers, the key to being successful at marketing is to be consistent. That’s how your customers will get to know you and it’s how you cut through the clutter.
Every company in the world needs a website. If you don’t have one, you’re losing ground to your competitors that have them. In today’s business world, it’s just not an option. If you don’t have one, get one, you need it. You also need to have an email address that comes from your website, not Yahoo, Google or Hotmail; they just don’t present a professional image.
We all need to learn how to do more with fewer dollars. One of the first things I start with is any free web listing that I can access. Google Maps has a free listing where you can list your business so it shows up on maps. You can do the same thing with Bing, and Yahoo offers a free listing as well. You should be in any free directory listings, whether it’s online or in print. If they are free to you, you should have a listing there.
Press releases are an excellent way to get your name and your company’s name in the business section of your local newspaper. This is a great way to draw attention to your company, whether you’re adding new services, just opened a new office, or donated a wish for a child through the “Make-A-Wish Foundation.” A press release is something that’s easy to do and it’s free. Try to develop a series of press releases that you can send out at regular intervals to keep your name in print.
Next, start looking at ways to get more value for your dollar. Facebook is an excellent advertising medium that doesn’t cost a lot to play there. Facebook is actually underrated at this time so it is a good medium in which to advertise, but just don’t throw up an ad without a plan. Build a presence on facebook for your business, use your message, and ask your friends and customers to “like” your business page. Use your page to post tips and special offers that are only available to your Facebook friends. Run ads on Facebook to generate new business and to drive traffic to your company website.
Then, start thinking about traditional marketing; up to this point you’re laying all of the groundwork for a traditional marketing campaign. What works in your market depends on your market. But the things to look into include newspaper, radio, morning drive time on talk radio is still a good bet, and cable TV is good because it allows you to target specific areas. Direct mail is still good if you have enough frequency to get the recognition you need. Your budget will direct you to the right medium.
If you really want to go outside the box you can begin to explore the new media, text messaging, ads focused on smart phone users, and bar coded ads that smart phone users can scan with their phones. However, that’s a story for another day.
This should give you an idea how to tie everything together. My website has an archive of all the articles I’ve written over the last eight months so you can go back and review anything you may have missed. If you have interest in making your marketing efforts pay big dividends, but you don’t have the expertise to do it yourself, contact a marketing professional to assist you. I’m available to assist you in all of your marketing efforts. If you need a branding consultation or a complete strategic marketing plan, call or send an email to discuss your needs.
Andy Fracica is president and CEO of Fracica Enterprises, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in marketing, PR, social media, and lead generation strategy. He has over 30 years of sales, marketing, and product management experience in the heating ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) industry. He concentrates on helping manufacturers, distributors, dealers, and startup companies find their voice in an ever increasingly crowded market by doing more with less($). Contact him at 260-338-4554, [email protected] or visit the website www.fracicaenterprises.com.