Last post, we talked about a) understanding who you are or want to be, b) identifying your target market and c) ensuring that everything you do is consistent with the image you are trying to create in order to be the very best supplier to your target market.
Today, we’ll address ways of communicating with your prospects.
Most of us are familiar with the standard advertising media such as direct mail, telemarketing, newspapers, magazines, radio, television, coupons, flyers, billboards and signage. These paid media can be effective if you have properly identified the audience you are trying to reach and the message you are trying to get across and you commit to the time it takes to achieve results. You need to determine who you are trying to reach and with what message, in order to choose the media that will be the most effective for your purposes.
You should also be looking at the potential return on your advertising investment. Higher revenue and higher profits (all else being equal) will result in a higher selling price for your business. I highly recommend getting expert advice about your advertising investment. Some simple rules such as including a call to action apply– if your outlay does not result in a prospect taking some action towards becoming a client then what is it accomplishing? Knowledgeable media sales people with personal integrity will help you make appropriate decisions about your advertising mix. Advertising firms who help with your creative materials are also a good source of such information.
Creating value with electronic and social media
In today’s technology driven world, you also need to be considering electronic and social media.
Web sites can be inexpensive and very effective if they are well designed and search engine optimized so your prospects find them readily. We will soon be launching a new and improved version of ours as we recognize our current site is lacking. We’ll also be integrating this blog, another way of optimizing your web results.
Email marketing can be effective if you have your prospects’ email addresses and permission; newsletters can provide value to both clients and prospects. Here is a sample of our Sunbelt Canada newsletter issued monthly. Every business should be building data bases for use in E-Marketing. I am surprised at how many are not capturing email addresses and the permission to send information to their clients and prospects. Such data bases add value to your business – they also build loyalty and help to educate.
A Facebook business page, Twitter and Linked-in can also get your message out and build awareness and influence with very little cost. You can see ours here: Sunbelt Canada on Facebook, Twitter and Linked-In.
Do it well or don’t do it at all. A poor web site, newsletter or Facebook presence can harm rather than help. Each must be consistent with the image you want to convey – the business that you are or will be.
Also consider networking (choose the right forum), seminars to educate your prospects about your product or service, piggy backing upon the networks or seminars or mailings of strategic partners, distributing free educational materials, articles of interest to your prospects published through public media (as we are doing here), public speaking at events, participating in groups that include members of your target market, on-hold messaging on your phone system, guest appearances as an expert on TV and radio. Again, do it well or don’t do it at all.
I encourage you to review your marketing budget and strategies to make sure you are maximizing your return, creating the right image, sending the right message, using the right media, and reaching the right audience. Above all, have some way to monitor what is and isn’t working. Without a means of measuring your marketing effectiveness, you will not know what changes will improve it.
A wise business owner once commented that he knew he was wasting half the money he spent on marketing; sadly, he did not know which half! Do not fall into that trap.
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