Robust, long term marketing strategies are essential if your business is going to survive in the current economy. In an ever increasingly competitive market with strong messaging hitting consumers night and day, how do you get heard in amongst the ‘noise’ from other brands? Getting the basics right will lay the foundations of your future success. Integrating your online and offline strategies should be central to your marketing planning. Clear, focused messaging together with consistency and continuity as well as a good old fashioned hard work will help build brand trust and awareness to help you reach your long term goals.
The basics – how to stand out
Naming your business is key to launching a strong brand and developing your logo. The right name should reinforce the key elements of your business and where possible, communicate what your business does to your prospective client. When choosing a name, always have in mind your target audience, get creative and think out of the box. Check for domains that are available and research your competitors to ensure there are no copyright issues surrounding your best ideas.
Once you have decided on a name, then getting your logo designed is the next step. You will probably have had a few idea spring to mind during the naming process so be sure to share them with your designer. There is more to developing your brand than the logo, however, your logo should be more than just a pretty design. It needs to be a powerful representation of your business, its products and services as well as reflecting your company’s ethos and values. Longevity of your logo will strengthen your brand so ensure your logo is designed with the possibility to evolve over time. Think of how the Coke logo has evolved over the years to still have relevance in the 21st century.
Your digital strategy
Customers have access to information about your business 24/7 on many different platforms from smart phones to tablets. As your website is the central component of your digital strategy and should be striking in design, engaging in terms of content with user friendly functionality. Your prospective customers also need to find you online. Also why restrict your market to your customers in Cambridge, Glasgow or wherever your office space is located? You need to ensure you reach a wider audience. When people search for your products or services does your website appear on page 1 of Google? Search engine optimisation or SEO is essential. Ensuring your website is optimised, both on page and off page, for the search terms or key words your customers type into Google is vital to improve your ranking and increase traffic. Keeping your content fresh is also essential for SEO and writing a blog is a great way to ensure new copy is added on a regular basis. Blogs also give you essential content to talk about and link to from your social media pages, again this type of marketing isn’t dependant on your physical space, you can be anywhere in the world, again Cambridge, Glasgow or even Hong Kong, as long you are performing good practice SEO.
Social Media for Business
Social media for business needs to be embraced to complete your digital strategy so if you are adverse social networking then ensure you have someone within your business who can post on a regular basis or employ and external agency to manage your social strategy. Linking your online and offline activity will strengthen and ensure you get the most out of your marketing activities. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the most popular in business. You will be able to connect with a wider audience to help drive traffic to your website and offline activities such as events and exhibitions. Also ensure all your online activity reflects your offline in terms of branding, tone of voice and promotional activity that you are undertaking.
Traditional offline marketing works
With the advent and explosion of digital marketing, traditional methods have recently been over looked. Sending an email campaign is of course more cost effective than running a direct mail campaign, however as inboxes have filled up in recent years, in trays have emptied. The probability of your e-newsletter ending up in Junk or Trash is strong but if your personalised envelope lands on the desk of the addressee there is a great chance it will get read. There is also something more tangible about holding a quality brochure in your hand. It’s memorable, you can file it for later use and it reflects the credibility of an organisation more than an email in your inbox will ever do. Your offline activities can be integrated with your online strategy in simple ways by using QR codes, by including URLs for your website and social media on all your printed materials and by reflecting your latest promotional campaign on your website, Facebook and Twitter banners. Face to face marketing at events, exhibitions and trade shows can be very effective with a warm audience of like-minded individuals under one roof. Also propose to speak at events and offer training or services free of charge to help raise your profile.