Marketing Communications – What’s the Plan?

When small business owners and managers start thinking about how they need to communicate with customers, often the most important part of the process is the one that’s given little thought – planning. Without a plan it’s possible, if not likely, a business’ marketing communications will end up being haphazard, more expensive than necessary and unsuccessful.

You should include virtually everything you can think of that will help you determine the best way forward. It’s also wise to ask other people, including, if possible, some of your customers or potential customers. Sometimes you can be too close to the business to know all the answers.

What do you want to achieve through your marketing communications?

It’s always good to have something to aim at. Be specific, be measurable, be achievable and don’t be too conservative. For example, to increase my customer base by 25% in the next financial year is specific, and easy to measure and most likely achievable with a bit of a stretch. You may find you’ll have several aims – list all of them.

Who is your target customer?

Who is your ideal customer? Who is likely to want to purchase your products or services?

Try to add as much detail as possible. For example, you might decide lawyers are one of your target customers, but add to this by listing where they are located, whether you’re targeting small, medium or large firms, and whether they specialise in any particular field. Then think about who makes the decisions in your target firms or households: owners or managers, sex, age, ethnicity, etc.

This work isn’t meant to limit who you would take on as a customer. The details will simply help later when you’re developing your plan, your messages and where and how you deploy them.

What are your products or services?

This might seem obvious, but surprisingly a lot of business owners/managers don’t necessarily know much about their products and services and can’t describe them in a way that most people can understand. If there are too many to list, just list the major categories.

Why should people buy your products or use your services rather than your competitor’s (your key selling points)?

Are you the cheapest or are your products or services premium quality? Is your service exceptional? Do you have the biggest range? Do you have free delivery? Do you make a coffee for your customers while they wait? There are too many possibilities to list here but it’s a good idea to list everything that is relevant to your business.

These points are often called your unique selling proposition but I believe you don’t have to be unique to succeed in business. You just need to do what you do well, and promote yourself just as well.

Does your business have a key message (e.g. McDonalds – I’m lovin’ it)?

Personally, I like these key messages. They succinctly tell something about your business; something that the customer can expect when they walk through your door (or your virtual door, as is often the case these days.) The key message should go hand in hand with ‘why should people use you’. For example, many businesses have a key message indicating they have the lowest prices, because that is one of their key selling points.

What image is your business trying to portray?

This is another question that goes hand in hand with your key selling points and key message. Do you want to be seen as professional, stylish, cheap, glamorous, etc.? Remember, it’s no point simply trying to portray an image in words; you have to live it. In my experience, customers don’t like businesses who can’t deliver what they say they can.

What is your budget for marketing communications?

You don’t need to spend a fortune and, if you’re like most small businesses, you may want to do thing a bit at a time. Get your business cards now, then a few months later a website. Next year, invest in a flyer and start an email marketing campaign. However, don’t be stingy; not spending enough money on marketing communications can hurt your business.

What skills do you have in your small business? Can anyone write, take photos or design a website.

Ask your staff – if you have any staff – as you may be surprised. 

Embrace the Marketing Community

Today is just another day of marketing, learning new ways to turn your leads into a relationship that will benefit both parties. I believe that I can help one person a day just by writing this blog and supporting them in someway.

The marketing community has the best support for online marketers. When you plug into any of the marketing communities with or without a membership, there are people to support you with expert training and support from marketers of all ages and in all stages of marketing. The people you connect with are having or had the same experiences as you are having now in marketing. They love to help you grow, take pride in the way they share and are more willing to point you in the right direction.

Some of us start sell products that enhance your health and well-being and as we grow in our experience we want to pay it forward. This confirms that the training we complete is worth it’s weight in gold. Paying it forward not only enriches your income, it all so enriches your soul. Training is great and the community backs it up with sharing their experiences on web sites and pages they create on social site like twitter and face book.

Marketers that have integrity will introduce you to education supportive companies with a marketing platform that bring income opportunity. Education with the steps that lead you to success. We share secrets of the trade and direct you how to use them. Back it up with webinars, three-way calls, seminars, conventions and when needed one on one training.

Marketing is introducing people to the opportunity to train with companies that have trainers that making 6 to 7 figures and are willing to train you how to do it. We take pride in our education and teaching it to you. As you plug-in the world of marketing unfolds in front of you, most of the training that I am doing I earn as I learn, so it pays for its self every month. This is why we are so passionate about what we do and how we can make the claims of success.

Some of us start at the bottom level and the only way to go is up. As we market and learn the tricks of the trade a wealth of knowledge unfolds. We are excited about how far we have come and that is why we can’t wait to promote the people and the products they introduced us to. Embrace the marketing community, go forward with your team building relationships, wealth and success.

Marketing Communication Uses Email, Newsletters and Direct Mail to Sustain Sales Momentum

Consistently communicating your marketing message is an essential part of your marketing communication strategy and a key element of sustaining sales momentum within your sales pipeline. Everyday your customers and prospects become busier and therefore your message would benefit from being delivered on multiple marketing channels such as newsletter (ezine) and direct mail. Using variety as a strategy is good because you may not know which marketing channel will reach through, deliver your marketing message and tip the scale, bringing your business to the top of their mind.  Increasing the channels you communicate through and the frequency of that communication, increases the chances that when your customer is on a burning platform and looking for solutions, your message will be there to solve their problem.

Email, phone, direct mail letters and email campaigns can all play a part within your marketing communication package. In the past I have mentioned I use ACT as my contact database to deliver email campaigns. For example I use email campaigns to deliver the newsletter for my company Executive Sales Support. You may have considered sending a campaign to market your business. Let’s that a look at newsletters sent via email campaigns and how analyzing the newletter statistics they generate, can help you zero in and sustain sales momentum.

We might think of email campaigns as the direct mail of the internet, although there are several added benefits when you utilize email to deliver your message. Benefits such as delivering your message to more customers and prospects and delivering it faster are some of the first benefits I think of. These alone help sustain sales momentum within your sales pipeline simply by casting the net wider and increasing the number of customers and prospects that hear your message.

Delivering by email campaign gets your message working overtime in several additional ways. Most importantly, email campaigns generate statistics. Let us take an overview look at how analyzing these statistics can improve the effectiveness not only of your message but also your ability to follow through.

One way to start utilizing campaign statistics is to implement split testing to improve message targeting. Split testing is a method that sends your message with two slightly different wording and uses statistics to determine which message drew more attention. Another important factor about email campaigns is that they enable you to highlight words within your message. The highlighted words, called hyperlinks, take the reader to places such as your website, where more information about your business and the products you offer can be found. As these links are followed, statistics are generated. Analyzing this statistic, gives you insight into generally which products interests the readers of your newsletter and specifically who is interested in those products.

In summary, email campaigns improve your ability to sustain sales momentum within your sales pipeline by not only delivering your message to more customers and prospects and doing it faster, but also by producing statistics. Analyzing these newsletter statistics, gives you insight into what interests your contacts, enabling you to target your message more effectively and improving your follow up by equipping you with statistical knowledge

While you are out seeing clients and closing deals, do not forget to ask how your customers and prospects heard of your company. Their answers will enable you to track which communication channel is providing impact.