How to Make Marketing Affordable
Is marketing affordable? Just like with anything if you do it right it is! There are so many ways to market your business and there are so many people that are trying to sell you the next latest and greatest thing. More and more digital products are coming out of the woodwork and they seem really cool and “forward thinking” but if you don’t have a strong base of basic marketing strategy you can fast forward a little too fast. Your head can spin from the salespeople coming into your office telling you that you can talk to people on their mobile phones with text messaging, you can be on the first page of Google, you can have your product name delivered to 10,000 homes with a mailer. WOW that is a lot of “stuff” Sometimes you need to take a step back and ask yourself, “Have I done the leg work to brand my business so people care who I am in the first place?” You must realize; they won’t opt in to a text message, or care that you show up on Google, or even understand your mailer if you haven’t told them who you are in the first place and why they should care about you. You will spend a lot of money trying to make these programs work for you when you don’t have the basic building blocks of marketing. Here are some tips on making marketing affordable for any business.
- Make sure you have a clear, identifiable logo and message. You know the Target® logo and what it represents. On target style and price-no question. Does your logo say what you do or what your message is? Invest the time and money into having a professional logo done with the correct color theory, font, etc. Your brand message is so important; it should tell someone what they can expect from interacting with you. For example you have a car dealership, most car dealers use the cliché “One Handshake at a Time” or “Service with a smile” Those are obvious things that people should get when they do business with a car dealer. Think of something different, what pain are you fixing when you give someone a great experience buying a vehicle? Talk about that instead, when you speak to the pain they take notice. There is a process when coming up with a slogan or brand message and you can’t skip steps on that. Take the time, invest, and have a strong message.
- Use media that brands. Newspaper, television and radio are all branding media. There is a right and wrong way to use them. The most common line I have heard is “We tried it and it didn’t work” Well the first problem is you “tried” it. Don’t try it, DO IT! Be consistent, keep your message strong and do it, don’t give up it takes time. You have to see and hear a message in your daily life in order for it to resonate with you. When you sit down with a traditional media rep tell them your goal of wanting to brand your business so you can expand into other technology like texting or social. There is a strategic way to build a brand using radio, and that strategy doesn’t work with TV or Newspaper so be willing to listen to different techniques and strategies of what work. TV is a very effective branding technique when you can commit to a long term plan, not just a 2 week run of spots. You cannot afford to do everything, but you can afford to do something well. Find what something works for your industry and do it well with a well-crafted commercial, ad copy, logo, and brand message delivery. If you aren’t comfortable buying media, ask for help, invest the money and it will go a long way.
- Combine the resources. Every local media company has a website; I bet they get more visitors than your website too! Find someone you trust to ask the right questions about the website and the traffic it receives. The numbers can be very deceiving, so know what to ask. For example if they are trying to sell you on “hits” that term is used to describe the number of hits to a web server. For example if a website has 50 graphics on the page every visitor translates into 50 hits. That is not 50 visits or visitors, see the difference? Understanding the web reporting is something that very few people can do and do well. They should understand it and be able to repeat it back to you in language you understand. If they start talking over your head, they are trying to confuse you and then you feel like you have to listen to what they say because they know more than you do. Not necessarily, they just know how to talk in terms you don’t understand. You should understand what you are buying. Find a trusted advisor or invest in one that can help you make strong decisions and explain things to you in terms you understand.
Successful branding still takes place offline, but you should have a plan in place to incorporate the online strategy sooner rather than later. The businesses that will be the most successful in the future are the ones that embrace a model that puts people – rather than technology – at the center of products, campaigns and marketing strategies. People still buy from people they like, so get out there and market your business! When the brand is established the “other stuff” can help grow your brand, but invest in the brand first.
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